Our client’s primary residence, immediately adjacent to 1308 Moss, is the nationally renowned Spanish Custom House located in the Library of Congress’ National Register of Historic Buildings. The more modest home at 1308 Moss was originally built on the same property, likely serving as caretaker’s quarters. When the client hired NANO, the structure was in dire need of repair; we were tasked to preserve what we could, while salvaging and constructing a safe haven for the Client’s mother to age in place. The challenge of this full renovation was to improve the home’s accessibility and resilience while protecting the architectural integrity of the Bayou St. John neighborhood as set forth by the Historic District Landmarks Commission.
- Terri Dreyer
- Samantha Johnson
Our solution involved a three-stage preservation plan: first, the demolition of non-historic additions that had accrued over time; second, the careful shoring of the home’s significant historical elements; and finally, the physical raising of the house. By elevating the historic structure, we created a utility space and garage on the ground level while giving the water-side building an extra layer of flood protection. In addition to expanding and updating the home to meet current codes, NANO further transformed the residence by aligning floor plates, using reductive measures of incorporating the architectural features of the neighborhood, including flat arches, using minimal detailing, adding a Sack-finish brick facade and baseless columns, custom railings, gas lanterns, and custom-made carriage doors.
Inside, the spacious floor plan is open and accessible, with the incorporation of an elevator. NANO reused the original front door, with its charming sidelights and transom, as a garden entry, and repurposed wood elements from the original structure wherever possible. Large French doors open onto a generous balcony with views out over the bayou, echoing the front façade of the Spanish Custom House.