510 Esplanade

In April 2012, Mayer Building Company commenced a major overhaul of the 4-story 1840s masonry townhouse (read mansion). Ten months later, one of the finest residences in the French Quarter emerged. This home, which had once been converted into four condos or apartments, is now re-established as a single family home in grandeur and panache. Above the gas lanterns, two galleries, dressed in iron lace, catch river breezes and views well into the Marigny/ Bywater. The entrance hall, with inlaid stone and decorative crown, is richly endowed with a striking red Venetian Plaster, and leads to the sweeping stairway. That stairway, once carpeted in an indoor/outdoor green mess, now boasts a custom built iron, steel, and brass rail atop the reclaimed 1840s treads. The rail contains one-of-a-kind brass statues and ornaments that survived a douse in 2012’s Hurricane Issac.  In the salon is a great Mahogany and white marble bar (and ice maker), through the arch and Parisian columns, to the parlor where a vast chandelier drips crystals over a gloss finished Brazilian Cherry floor.

The kitchen, in an almost  baroque homage to your New Orleans Saints, is decorated in black and gold: black granite, gold mosaics, black inlaid stone carvings, gold paint, black chandelier, gold hinges and hasps. The kitchen contains state-of-the-art appliances, fluer-de-lis touches here and there, an overlarge pantry with re-purposed Cypress and etched glass doors, and an Italianate powder room. The kitchen with custom arched doors leads to the historic courtyard.

Up the ancient stairs to the first landing, where a true plaster medallion encircles a newly polished brass antique light fixture, two restored French Quarter casement windows with fan lites oppose each other. Where once was a crummy apartment bathroom stuffed into this landing, and actually bisecting one of the fantastic fan lites, now is a marble and glass landing in fitting with the mansion’s elan. The Master Suite with sitting room, bathroom, bedroom and gallery are on this floor. The Master Bedroom with its simple layout contains three facade openings to the gallery, a deep Louis XIV crown molding, a high New Orleans base, an updated mantel and  original re-finished Pensacola heart pine floors. The Master Bath, a collage of cappuccino marble, exudes comfort and style with custom joinery encased French stained-glass, a stone surrounded tub, a brass trimmed bidet, crystal hardware, a walk-in shower with a flotilla of heads and jets and glass wall sconces emitted from a plate glass mirror over the double vanity.

Adjoining the second floor is a bridge to the carriage house, where in the parlance of the project, there lies the Boudoir. A guest room has never been sexier. The specialty milled and dyed carpet pops underneath exposed wooden roof rafters, exposed painted brick walls lead to the onyx encrusted bathroom and shower. The French doors open to the freshly painted interior balcony.  A playful statuetted chandelier dances overhead.

On the third floor, the arrangements reflect the Master Suite, but the finishes shine differently. The 3rd floor bath is a study in Carrera and Palisandro Bluette stone, patterned and laid in diligent designs. The wainscott tile there is trimmed in opaque blue glass. The Victorian high flush toilet and white glazed vanity are trimmed in polished chrome. The 3rd Floor also has a utility and laundry room. The bedroom is decorated with a floral crown and a vast white medallion, crystal chandelier and poster bed. The stained mantel is set off by brass rosettes and a wall  mounted flat screen. The three facade doors in the bedroom give it abundant natural light which reflects off the high gloss reclaimed floors.

In the attic, dormers and windows look out over New Orleans in all Cardinal directions. For child safety, keyed brass locks adorned the salvaged windows. The attic, with two exposed roof rafter, sports authentic heavy duty Hunter fans on long poles spinning above a new resilient floor, the green marble counter-tops and large stone back splash of a fully fit-out kitchenette with stainless steel fixtures and appliances. The attic bath contains a full sized bath tub and tile wrap, a double vanity and accessible storage nooks.

510 Esplanade was likely built in the 1840s, perhaps even a decade earlier. At one point, the building was home to American novelist and artist John Dos Passos in February and March 1924 while writing one of his most famous works, Manhattan Transfer. Dos Passos was a Modern and a friend and contemporary of Ernest Hemingway and Gertrude Stein.

The renovation of 510 Esplanade was a demanding project and a challenge, but mostly it was a privilege. Photographs by Anne Finney.


Mayer Building Company, LLC | | 504-315-8423 | [email protected]