Monday, January 18, 2016

The Lanaux House, New Orleans, LA

The Lanaux House, New Orleans, LA, 1884

The Lanaux House, built for the family whose daughter inherited the nearby Johnson house is a late Italianate built in 1884, designed by James Freret, a significant Louisiana architect. Plan-wise, the house is somewhat of a conundrum. It takes as its base the typical side hall plan that follows the Porch Facade type, but completely obscures the rectangular design with the diagonal tower on the left, which houses the main entrance and features elongated windows, and another diagonal box window projection on the right, leaving only one flat surface on the front. This gives the house an interesting undulating appearance which requires adjustments to the porches so that they connect to the projections. Unlike the brick and plaster houses we have seen on Esplanade Avenue, this home is faced in clapboard. It also features a tall hip roof that accommodates a French style dormer window. Later than the other Greek Revival designs, the house has an expected Corinthian columned porch on the second floor, while the first floor has segmental arches with keystones, clunky brackets, and incised Eastlake carving in the spandrels, supported by Corinthian columns. The segmental arch is reflected in all the first floor windows and entrances around the house. The sides of this house are excessively plain, but the paneled cornice runs around the entire house, forming a clear cap on the facade with thick s-scroll brackets. I find the plan interesting, since it invites one into the house as if it's enfolding a visitor as well as the emphasis placed on the large central windows. The house is now the Melrose Mansion bed-and-breakfast, and a visit to their site offers several views of the modernized interior.

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