Colorful and vibrant, New Orleans often brings to mind images of Mardi Gras, festivals, and fun. Its architecture is no different. This city is one of the places where the edifices really do seem to have a personality all their own. One of the most popular locales in New Orleans is the French Quarter or Vieux Carre, the quarter to locals. Infused with a rich cultural and artistic history, the architecture of the French Quarter has Spanish, French, Creole, and American influences. Several housing styles abound in New Orleans — Shotgun, Double-Gallery, and Raised-Center Hall, to name a few. These styles have much to offer homeowners across the Gulf Coast region and beyond.
Perhaps the most prominent of the New Orleans style homes is the Shotgun Style. This style of home has its origins from Haiti and West Africa. Although tall and slim, these houses hold a charm that stems from their mysterious origins. They often have a porch covered by an awning supported by columns that encase the porch. To achieve this look, adding columns and an awning to your current home, as well as a bright layer of colorful paint, might turn your home into a little piece of New Orleans in the Gulf Coast.
Raised Center-Hall Cottage or Villa
This beautifully styled cottage resembles a shorter and wider version of the shotgun style home, but with more elaborate galleries and columns that also support an awning that covers the porch. This New Orleans style home typically has five entries with the front entrance in the middle. If your home is structured differently or has no porch, you can still gain a bit of the look by either adding a deck or embellishing the deck you currently have. Simply add an awning supported by columns over the deck or porch addition. Instead of a deck, adding a patio the entire length of the home will also give you the desired effect. Simply add the awning and columns to surround the patio.
Double Gallery House
In keeping with the columned theme, this two-story house has two galleries supported by columns at each story level. Somewhat resembling a much loftier version of an American colonial, this home also holds its own unique charm. To apply this look to your own home might take some creativity as the roof is side-gabled, and there are two galleries instead of just a porch awning. You might get close to this look by adding a balcony to your second level supported and encased by columns.
American Greek Revival
Although you might not find these types of homes within the proper metro area, several historic American Greek Revival homes dot the outlying area of New Orleans. Simply put, these are some of the most luxurious mansions of the South; spacious treasures that show some of America’s finest architectural origins. While it can be intimidating to consider styling your home in the manner of an American Greek Revival mansion, many homeowners can pursue this aesthetic in a subtle and classy manner, by adding unique touches and timeless antiques to your home’s collection. If you are looking for inspiration, many of these stately homes are now open for public viewing, or refurbished into unique bed and breakfast lodges, such as the Bocage Plantation, in Darrow, Louisiana.
These New Orleans style homes signify a time of historical charm and allure. Adding touches of Louisiana style to your own home will make your house stand out from the rest in a great way. Contacting an architect in your area will be an excellent first step to implementing many of the structural changes and additions that will add the French Quarter charm to your home. If you already have columns, a porch, or a deck, then adding a new coat of fresh, bright paint may be all you need to bring a touch of Vieux Carre to your neighborhood. Make sure to check with the housing officials in your area for zoning laws, restrictions, and licenses before making major structural changes to your home. If you don’t want to take on a major remodel, adding bright colored paint, cast iron faux balconies, and a window replacement to your Houston, New Orleans, or Gulf Coast home will also give you a bit of this fun and free-flowing style.