The millwork in this listing at 1523 Harmony St. in the Garden District is so extensive and breathtakingly beautiful that it’s difficult to focus on the other outstanding features of this home.
The entrance is through a charming wrought iron gate into a soaring two-story foyer with a stunning natural wood Eastlake staircase. It has a formal living room, a formal dining room, a library and a sun room.
“This house has three floors of beautiful millwork, soaring ceilings, majestic mantles and fireplaces – everything you could want in a grand and gracious home,” said Michele Beelman, the marketing agent with her husband Everett, at Keller Williams Realty. “It also has gorgeous pocket doors and graceful wrap-around porches.”
The kitchen is wonderfully large and opens into an equally large and inviting family room. The first floor also has two most welcome half baths. The second floor has a stunning eight bedrooms and seven full baths – enough to house the largest of families or huge contingents of visiting relatives and friends.
“Both the second floor balcony and the third floor deck provide gorgeous views of the Garden District,” commented Everett Beelman, “while quiet afternoons and evenings can be spent on the first floor galleries overlooking a wonderful yard comprised of two-an d-a-half lots.”
Two one-bedroom apartments are contained on the third floor – which has its own convenient separate entrance. A wonderful surprise in this neighborhood of gracious homes but tight car storage is the gated parking on Eighth Street at the rear of the property. Two or three mid-sized cars could easily be housed here.
An interesting sidelight of this house is that it was owned at one time by T.L. Bayne, who enjoyed the distinction of being the coach of both the Tulane and Louisiana State universities’ football teams – simultaneously. The first game the two teams played in 1893 was at Sportsman’s Park, at City Park Avenue and the New Basin Canal. In addition to their coach, the two teams shared only one football between them, a dilemma that they solved by keeping the ball in Baton Rouge for half the week and at Tulane the other half. And once, when an over-enthusiastic Tulane player kicked their only ball into the nearby canal, the teams were forced to call it a day and go home.
The Garden District, where 1523 Harmony St. is located, was first developed as a number of plantations, particularly the Livaudais Plantation, and then was sold off in parcels. Barthelemy Lafon, an architect, planner, and surveyor, laid out the original neighborhood as large residential lots, usually two per block, and late-style Victorian houses appeared in clusters. Today, many blocks retain this arrangement, with a large manor house surrounded by smaller homes.
From 1832 to about 1900, the Garden District was known as the neighborhood for the newly wealthy to set up their households in genteel style. These houses demonstrated the latest in Victorian elegance, a mélange of high styles gleaned from not just the Spanish and French, but also from the Italians, the British and the Greeks. These houses showcased the homeowner’s garden and the grounds were designed to be as impressive as the structures and were protected by their scrolling cast iron gates.
Some of the most famous landmarks in the city are contained within the Garden District, such as Commander’s Palace on Washington Avenue, Lafayette Cemetery across the street and the George Washington Cable House at 1313 Eighth Street. The Rink, originally a 19th century skating rink building, and now a small shopping mall is one the corner of Prytania Street and Washington Avenue. Our Mother of Perpetual Help Chapel, still owned by author Anne Rice, though Rice herself no longer lives in the district, is here as is the death site of the President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis. The Garden District neighborhood remains one of the most well-preserved and impressive collections of historical homes in America and 1523 Harmony St. fits well into its neighborhood.
Photos courtesy of Michele Beelman
Angela Carll may be reached at email@example.com or 504-947-6575
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