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Christmas at Leni and Christi Sumich’s Old Metairie home lasts the absolute ages of December. There’s a acquisition for their 13-year-old babe Kaitlin’s cheerleading team, a anniversary for their 16-year-old babe Hayley’s apprentice lath board, a sit-down Christmas banquet for anywhere from 10 to 25 accompany and ancestors and a Festivus brunch for Christi’s girlfriends.
“It’s affectionate of nonstop. We host a ton of stuff,” Christi said. “My activity has consistently been: We bought the absorbing abode so we’re activity to absorb the time decorating. And we’re activity to use it.”
First on their agenda this year is the Ladies of the Shield Anniversary Home Tour, benefiting Brother Martin High School. The brace will accessible the doors of their Greek Revival-style home aback the bout takes abode Dec. 2 from apex to 3 p.m.
The couple, whose beforehand child, 19-year-old Jason, accelerating from Brother Martin beforehand this year, was admiring to Old Metairie because of its location. It is abutting to Leni’s ophthalmology convenance and to their children’s schools. “We like the lifestyle. I anticipate it’s accurate that it’s so walkable, but it’s additionally suburban,” Christi said. “It was a acceptable mix. We’ve been absolutely blessed here.”
When they were abode hunting, the home’s “storage and space,” additionally were big affairs features, she said.
“Honestly, it was the bigger one we looked at it, but at the time it was additionally the roughest,” Leni said. “It didn’t appearance well, and I said ‘imagine demography all the clutter out of actuality and authoritative this into whatever we want.’ ”
With a all-embracing beforehand plan in mind, the ancestors confused into the home in 2005 “during a hurricane, that little one that cipher remembers: Cindy,” Christi said. Later that summer, aback Blow Katrina struck, they got lucky. The abode was unscathed. “Every added abode we’d looked at flooded,” Leni said.
But the couple’s luck didn’t authority out. In July 2006, a lightning bolt hit the house, causing a adverse fire.
“It went through the roof and hit the gas band for the hot baptize heater,” Christi said. Everything but the advanced two apartment and adept bedchamber had to be gutted bottomward to the studs acknowledgment to accident from both the blaze and the baptize bare to extinguish it.
“We concluded up accepting to clean it all anyway, but those apartment angry out bigger than the blow of it,” Christi said. “It was like architecture a house. There were actual few genitalia of it that were untouched.”
The abode had been congenital in 1992 but congenital several aged architectural capacity which the Sumiches aimed to save during the renovation. Aged decrepit bottle was repaired by a bounded artisan and rehung in several windows. The decrepit bottle rose window — salvaged from a 19th aeon English abbey — wasn’t damaged and remained in abode aloft a bottle block window in the breakfast room.
The house’s academic sitting allowance and dining allowance — aloof off the marble-tiled access — additionally came through the blaze almost intact. Those spaces affection celebrated abysmal bittersweet and dejected bank colors and academic apparel done in a 19th-century New Orleans appearance to accompaniment the home’s Greek Revival design.
Christi relied on her doctorate amount in history aback allotment the abundantly brave acrylic colors, which accommodate a accomplishments for the piano and the dining set anesthetized bottomward from the couple’s families. The furniture, forth with both rooms’ drapery, survived the blaze and were restored.
A admired allotment in the academic dining allowance is the continued board pew that sits in the bay window. Acquired by Leni’s parents at auction, it already sat in the abbey of the above Brothers of the Sacred Heart abode on Elysian Fields Avenue afore it was broken bottomward to assemble a new building.
“It’s like it was meant to be there,” Christi said.
Just above the bifold doors that beforehand from the academic spaces to the capital active breadth is a set of four chairs Christi refinished in her added time. “I’m a book painter,” she said. “Just about every apparent in this abode I accept painted. Leni jokes that I would accept book corrective the dog if I could have. He’s apparently right. It’s a accent analgesic for me, I guess.”
Christi has affairs to book acrylic the kitchen cabinets, aloof as she’s done for the congenital ball cabinetry abutting to the bend fireplace, the wet bar and the kitchen dining set.
The blaze accident accustomed the brace to breach bottomward a brace of walls, creating a added accessible blueprint in the active area. In the kitchen, an anteroom with an aboriginal stained-glass window was adapted into a abdomen for added storage.
To annihilate any blaze hazards, a 60-inch bartering stove was replaced with a 48-inch Wolf gas range.
Now activity revolves about the light-filled active amplitude whose about floor-to-ceiling windows attending out assimilate the aback balustrade — afresh broadcast to actualize added alfresco active amplitude — and the pond basin and tiled basin deck.
“One affair I like about the abode is it’s so open. Everybody lives in this space. I like accepting the academic rooms, but aback we’re not application them, we shut bottomward that allotment of the house, and there’s a hub,” Christi said. “We’re not a ancestors that separates a accomplished lot. Somebody’s in the kitchen, somebody’s here. It aloof works absolutely well.”
Bedrooms and bathrooms on the additional attic were repaired afterwards the fire, and above attic amplitude was adapted into a third floor, accretion the home’s about 5,000-square-foot blueprint by about 500 aboveboard feet. The accession became a comfortable media allowance with aloft amphitheater seating, congenital shelving and a basin table, a absolute atom for watching movies and football games.
The media allowance and the alley arch to the adept bedchamber affection some of Leni’s accumulating of 25 afterwards Jazz Fest posters. His favorites affection George Rodrigue’s Dejected Dog and Louis Armstrong. “Getting one is the aboriginal affair I do aback I go to Jazz Fest,” he said.
Participating in the Ladies of the Shield Anniversary Home Bout became a acceptable alibi to clean the adept ablution beforehand this year. The now spa-like retreat’s marble countertops, white cabinetry and claw-foot tub are added in befitting with the house’s style. A clear chandelier over the tub and an electric broiler beside it add to the room’s elegance.
“I had to accomplish choices bound afterwards the fire, and it aloof concluded up actuality dark,” Christi said of the bathroom’s above design.
During the renovation, conveniences were cleverly added in the adept bathroom. There’s a stackable washer and dryer — so towels don’t accept to be hauled to the second-floor laundry allowance — tucked abroad in a closet amid the sinks and the applicant shower. A pop-up, mirrored vanity keeps architecture off the counters, while a abysmal drawer keeps beard affliction accoutrement acquainted in and hidden away.
“The laundry breadth is one of my admired things that we did,” Christi said.
Changes additionally were fabricated to a allowance amid aloof off the basin accouter and bottomward a few stairs from the adept bedroom. It’s a home appointment for Christi.
After teaching at Loyola and Tulane universities and confined as an ambassador at Loyola and Mt. Carmel Academy, she and a business accomplice opened Those Who Can Solutions. The aggregation provides abecedary training and helps acceptance get bigger outcomes.
The room, which contains the house’s additional half-bath, appearance a stone-tiled fireplace. Because it’s adjoining to the basin area, she chose bleached, heavily afflicted copse axle tiles for the floor.
After all the renovations, the abode fits the family’s active lifestyle, from assignment to comedy and abnormally during the holidays. “It was meant to be enjoyed,” Christi said.
The Ladies of Shield Anniversary Home Tour
What: Four Old Metairie houses will be decked in anniversary finery and accessible for tours. Money aloft by the bout helps abutment Brother Martin High School.
When: Dec. 2. The angel affair takes abode from 10 a.m. to noon, followed by the bout from apex to 3 p.m. Tickets to the affair are $55 in beforehand or $60 on the day of the event. Bout tickets are $25 in beforehand at 504.284.6700 or $30 on the day of the tour.
Details: A bazaar additionally will be captivated at the Lion’s Club of Metairie, 1627 Metairie Road, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For information, visit brothermartin.com/ladies-of-the-shield.
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