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Talkin' 'Bout My Renovation: A 7th Ward Shotgun Gets a Modern Floor Plan and Design

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"I felt exposing the first wall's studs would be an interesting answer"

1922 Laharpe St. courtesy Valerie Legras

This week is Renovation Week in the Curbed universe, so we're talking to New Orleanians who recently completed renovations for themselves or as flips. Today, Valerie Legras, a native French designer living in New Orleans who has renovated homes in Holy Cross, talks about her renovation of a shotgun in the 7th Ward that's now on the market for $365,000. (Legras is offering the buyer four hours of design consultation.)

I purchased the property in November 2015.

When I first walked in the home, it was divided into two rental units. It was the traditional shotgun home. Like many shotguns that have been added on, the bathroom and the kitchen were in the back. The other rental unit was a one-bedroom unit with a tiny bathroom and kitchen.

1922 Laharpe St. before
courtesy Valerie Legras

I had not been able to feel the true spirit of the home until we started to gut it. We discovered two different ceilings. From its original construction, it had been dropped twice. Probably, as air condition and heating units became the trend. This is not an unusual situation in previous homes I have renovated. We have given back to the home its original 12-foot ceiling.

courtesy Valerie Legras
courtesy Valerie Legras

I do not make any decisions in term of design until I listen to what the house may have been. The idea is to transcend the home, to extract the best of what I can get and magnify it. For that reason, each project is different; each house has a different personality. Just like each family that occupied it may have been different.

The home during the renovation.
courtesy Valerie Legras
courtesy Valerie Legras

For this home, I really wanted to have the feeling of an open space but without taking away the shotgun identity unique to New Orleans. What’s more versatile than see-through? I felt exposing the first wall's studs would be an interesting answer. Having an open living room and kitchen is nice, but if you can slightly make a difference between the two spaces I think it is even nicer.

1922 Laharpe St. courtesy Valerie Legras
1922 Laharpe St. courtesy Valerie Legras

Want to talk about your renovation? Drop us a line this week.

All Renovation Week coverage [Curbed]