New Orleans: Clicking Snapshots of a Unique Culture

New Orleans’ culture is rich and multi-layered like a complex and very refined cake. While on tour with the wonderful BlogtourNOLA gang, I snapped a few images of some of what makes this city’s heart beat faster.

The food:

Chez ElzaAll photos and layout by Chez Elza The food is to die for and -literally- has visitors commenting out loud with their mouths full: “I’ll diet as soon as I get back home!”

 The music:

Photos and layout by Chez ElzaAnd the good times:

Photos and layout by Chez ElzaAnd what a fabulous night life, with artists in markets at 11 PM!

Photo by Barbara Elza Elza HirschAt the Frenchmen Art Market. Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Chez ElzaNOLA 1962Artist photographer Andy Levin holding up some of his work. Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Chez ElzaArtist jeweler Krista De Joseph and her wonderful smile in front of her handmade jewelery.

Chez ElzaCheck out her work by clicking on the link above! Photos by Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

We had a blast, thank you, Veronika of Modenus! Organizer extraordinaire:

V and daughterA lovely mother-daughter duo… Veronika at right. Photo by Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

 

DU VERRE, a Hardware Company with Style

One of our Blogtour Sponsors was DUVERRE Hardware, a leader in quality and original design for cabinet hardware based in Canada.

I did not have the pleasure of meeting the owners but examined their website and press information with a lot of interest. I also had a lot of fun participating in a Pinterest contest challenge organized by DU Verre which I won! I cannot wait to receive my prize, an IPAD Mini!

Who knew such creative energy could be put into drawer pulls and knobs? Working with highly respected designers from all aspects of the design world, Du Verre has created unique design-driven collections of knobs and pulls for fine furniture and interiors. The company has raised the bar on innovative hardware design and the sustainable use of materials.

2½Pomegranate Pull by Heinz Pflege for DU VERRE. . Shown in satin nickel.

17

Forged 3 by Heinz Pfleger for DU VERRE. -Shown in antiqued brass.

Thanks to progressive manufacturing methods, each piece of their die cast hardware is crafted in eco-friendly recycled aluminum that is fully compatible with LEED objectives. Known for originality, sculptural designs, warm textures and beautiful finishes, Du Verre’s hardware collections exude a global elegance and classical silhouette that will appeal to many designers and homeowners. Each piece is finished by hand, making each one truly unique.

Knob

Series 3 by Scot Laughton for DU VERRE. Shown in satin nickel.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Gina Lubin, one of the founding partners of Du Verre.

CHEZ ELZA: Gina, what motivated you to start Du Verre?

Gina: “The evolution of Du Verre has been a pretty organic process. My partner and I had a studio/retail design business in Toronto. We were designing furniture and making
custom hardware for our own projects. An opportunity arose for us to try our hand at
production. We leaped at it. And now, thirteen years later it is our sole focus.”

Did you know right away what the company would produce or did you evolve as the company grew?

“We really didn’t know where Du Verre Hardware would take us. But, curiosity and a willingness to try things has been a driving force in our business life.

When you were a child, what did you dream of doing when you grew up?  Are you surprised you grew up to do what you do?

“To be honest, I thought I’d be living in the country somewhere bucolic working as a
sculptor! Well I find myself in the city but creating hardware does have some of that
sculptor fantasy in it. So maybe I’m on my way!”

What is your favorite part of the job? the one that is most dear to you.

“I do like my work. It’s so varied. Du Verre has been my school. We have been
in business for thirty years. Through its many incarnations, I have traveled, met
amazing people, created interesting objects and learned about business, politics and
the world.”

How many years elapse from design thought process to prototype to manufacturing of a pull or knob?

“Sometimes years, sometimes weeks. From the time we decide to put something in
the line, it usually takes about three to six months to get it produced and into stock.”

How do you see the art of pulls and knobs evolving in the next few decades?

“I don’t really know. I suppose the use of new materials and technologies will have animpact. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Can you send me a photo of you with your favorite knob and pull?

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/?ui=2&ik=a4a3ac9d13&view=att&th=13eb2926952e8855&attid=0.1.3&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P-DJdQq3IBP534J7BAeuamt&sadet=1369329382152&sads=j1qyYAE4vRN_u1EuW99IRcvuX8w

One of Gina Lubin”s favorite pull, Arroyo in white. Du Verre.

I had a lot of fun discovering this unique hardware brand. Creative processes are found everywhere. When art meets industrial design, it can mean a perfect marriage! Du Verre is clearly example of this!

A bientôt!

Note: all photos courtesy Du Verre Hardware.

4-The Wonderful World of New Orleans Designers and Antiques

On our first day in New Orleans with BlogtourNOLA, we were treated to a visite guidée* of renowned Magazine Street by local interior designer Shaun Smith, a gracious and most talented young man.

Shaun Smith on magazine Street. Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Shaun Smith walks us through the shops on Magazine Street. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Shaun proceeded to take us into upscale antique shop Antiquités d’Europe, owned by Petricia Thompson, an antique shop owner for the past 13 years. Petricia has quite a collection of 18th and 19th Century European antiques. The prices are steep but I recommend you stop by this one. Here are a few snapshots:

Antiquités d'Europe - Photo Drecit : Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaAntiquités d’Europe – Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaAntiquités d’Europe- 19th Century French Tole Bed Corona Canopy – Photo Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Antiquités d'Europe- Phot  Credit : Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaAntiquités d’Europe- 18th Century Spanish Dining chairs – Photo Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaAntiquités d’Europe- Vase of April, A French creation, one of my favorites, even if more contemporary.  Photo Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Next stop was Empire Antiques:

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaContinuing on Magazine Street we passed Julie Neill‘s Designs, as Julie herself greeted us in front of her storefront. Unfortunately we were headed to another destination, but I could not resist taking a few snapshots of her stylish vitrines**:

Photo Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaJulie Neill’s unusual storefront window with the street reflection- Photo Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaJulie Neill’s unusual storefront window with the street and myself reflected- Photo Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Malachite Home was a big favorite with our group: Shaun Smith introduced us to the designer and her fabulous shop, filled with unusual juxtapositions and brimming with art and sculpture:

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaMalachite’s. Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaBunny Williams Table with turned legs and assortment of candy colored glassware. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

 My personal favorites:

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaMalachite Home unusual mid century sculptures- Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

 Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

 Gorgeous dragons and floral details enhance these gilded sconces- Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Shaun Smith then invited us in his own shop and regaled us with little canapés of goat cheese decorated with fresh strawberries and other canapés topped with charcuteries***. We welcomed the break and admired his elegant and whimsical style:

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Religious symbols abound in New Orleans, a town with a strong Catholic history and culture. One has to keep in mind Louisiana is the only state to be  divided into Parishes rather than Counties.

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaThese chairs might be the ones that belonged to my French grandparents. In fact, they are so eerily similar I am a bit taken aback. Chairs on which grandchildren sat to eat tartines de pain de campagne au miel**** dipped in hot chocolate. Chairs on which my family sat next to the free standing 1950’s first fridge and played bridge. Photo credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaAnd then there is this Louis Philippe commode*****. Surely this has to be the one that was in the guest bedroom in my grandparents’ home?! Feelings like this overcome me throughout my trip in new Orleans. It’s as if the city lends itself to travel into time and pulls me back to Europe…Photo credit:  Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Next stop was Gerrie Bremermann’s fantastic shop with Gerrie herself! Gerrie is a lovely and energetic octogenarian interior designer who left her career as a seamstress to become an interior designer in her 40’s. She was voted Vogue Magazine’s top interior designers in 2004. Her boutique/office is refined and personalized. Gerrie is also represented on 1st Dibs.

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaSoothing palette for this ethereal and elegant bedroom by Gerrie Bremermann. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaFun fact: Gerrie says because the ceilings are so tall in her offices, she selects very tall staff, as she herself is quite petite. Note the stunning -I assume- Italian Murano glass chandelier. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Art holds a big place in Gerrie Bremermann’s designs. I can see why! Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaWith Gerrie :-) We had a good laugh at how New Orleans affected our hair!!!  I so enjoyed my visit with her!

We finish our street tour at Ecru, a tasteful antique shop owned by a darling mother and daughter team:

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaPhoto Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaIf you love whites, greys and greiges, this is the shop for you! Photo: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

The day ended at the Ogden Museum with a presentation and book signing with interior designer Miles Redd, author of a book called The Big Book of Chic:

Photo credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaTwo design legends, Gerrie Bremermann and Miles Redd enjoy a quick chat minutes before the book signing. Photo Credit: Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez Elza

*French for guided tour
**French for storefront windows
***French for prepared meats usually made of pork, using methods such as curing or smoking, which were methods developed to preserve meat in times when refrigeration was not an option (jambon, saucisson, etc)
****French for buttered peasant bread slices with honey
*****French for chest of drawers

Ready for ACTION? Ready, Set, Go, NOLA!

The movement continues, as designers who attended BlogtourNOLA with Modenus principal Veronika Miller want to GIVE BACK and bring your ATTENTION to a city still rebuilding itself after Katrina. Thursday the 9th Veronika has organized for a  FUNDRAISER via a chat on Twitter (May 9 from 4-5pm EST #BlogtourNOLA) to raise funds via World Vision for Joe Robert.

Jo Robert with his wife, Gloria. Photo Credit: via Modenus

I introduced you to Joe and the plight of New Orleans people in my recent post. Please help him rebuild his home, his story is particularly touching as he has delayed rebuilding his home to donate his time to rebuild other Hurricane victims homes’.

His home:

Photo Credit : Barbara Elza Hirsch | Chez ElzaJoe and Gloria’s home

A little bio:

Joe and Gloria Robert of New Orleans were newlyweds looking forward to a bright
future together when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005.

Residing in their new house for just one month before Katrina slammed the city, the
couple lost everything when the levee behind their house was destroyed – one of 53
levees in the city breached by the storm surge – and canal water swallowed the home.
The Roberts evacuated the city, staying with various friends and relatives. When the
flood waters receded weeks later, Joe and Gloria moved into a pop-up camper in their
driveway for a while, but they’ve also been staying with Joe’s daughter from a previous
marriage.

Nearly eight years later, Joe and Gloria’s house is still uninhabitable. While a new
house has been framed out, the building lacks essentials including electrical, drywall,
flooring and plumbing. Because Joe is a contractor by trade, he has the skills to work
on his house, but he has generously donated much of his free time to volunteering with
St. Paul’s Homecoming Center helping to rebuild other people’s houses.

Joe works on his home little by little, but is often derailed by setbacks such as having
his house broken into and his tools stolen. Even though Joe was forced to save up until
he could replenish his tool supply, he has not lost his faith in humanity.

Fortunately, Joe and Gloria received some good news recently when Storehouse of
World Vision selected the couple and their house for a rehab project. A few weeks
ago Storehouse joined forces with the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA)
and St. Paul’s Homecoming Center to help rehab kitchens and baths in three houses
as a lead-in to NKBA’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) held April 19-21 in New
Orleans.

While Storehouse and NKBA partners have donated materials, appliances and labor
for a new kitchen and bath in the Robert’s house, the rest of the unfinished home still
needs lots of TLC.

Please view this film by Kurt Wulff about the day of our visit to Gentilly, in New Orleans, with Joe, Connie Udo, and Efrain Perez, Jr from World Vision and so many more:

If you want to HELP, please click to give—> GIVE NOW LINK

Thank you so much for your support!

Blogtour NOLA, New Orleans, Me Voilà!

I am cramming. Cramming for a good cause. I am off to New Orleans next week for an exciting week of discovery, design education, socializing and sight seeing.

Favrot

New Orleans photo via Courtney Price Design

Trying to juggle all clients before my departure plus the organization of my upcoming show house in Maine, with a sick child who ended up staying at home the end of the week after almost breaking his toe and a rush to X-ray Wednesday, I admit I feel wiped out. But this cramming and exhaustion serve a good purpose. It’s 1 AM and I am writing with some news I have to share before I leave!  I have been generously invited to a very special event called Blogtour NOLA, organized by Modenus. Veronika Miller is the founder and CEO of Modenus the leading interior design resource in the US and UK. For the past few years now she has been partnering with sponsors to invite trend setting bloggers and design minded individuals to Blogtour events.

Definition of a Blogtour organized by Modenus: bloggers are invited to scout the world for great design and report back live from the world’s greatest cities and the most recognized design trade shows.

Blogtour NOLA is taking us to KBIS 2013 this month, a Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, which will be held in New Orleans this month. KBIS is a huge industry event which allows industry professionals to connect, exchange ideas, learn and discover new products and technologies. I look forward to learning a lot, and adding many new design tricks to my practice! I am particularly interested in new technologies, materials used for surfaces, and plumbing design.

This trip could not be possible without the generous sponsorship of KBIS, The NKBA, Mr. Steam, TOTO USA, Blanco America, Poggenpohl USA, Silestone USA, and Duverre Hardware

I will be writing more about these brands as I discover them firsthand.

I love that Veronika conceives her blog tours as not only opportunities for bloggers to learn a lot about all the latest trends at these trade shows, but also as an opportunity to discover  the culture of the area they are traveling to. In this case, I am really blessed to travel to New Orleans, a city I have never had the pleasure of visiting. I am looking forward to learning about ” the effort to rebuild many parts of the city and hear stories of how people have coped with the emotional and physical devastation in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The mere fact that this is still a topic today, eight years later, made it clear that BlogTour needed to share the latest with its readers” (in Modenus’ own words).

And sharing we will, Veronika!

I could not resist to leave you with a photo of the hotel we will be staying at. My readers know my love for hotel design :-)  !

Photo of a room at the Renaissance Arts Hotel, located in the heart of New Orleans warehouse district.

New Orleans, this Frenchie is ready! Beignets? Oui, avec grand plaisir!