It's always around the middle of May that I find myself dreaming about a slower life for our family. All the hope and excitement of the new school year that I felt in the fall has long been forgotten, and it has been replaced with to-do lists, emails, and days that often feel like a race against time. Each spring I start to feel a bit of malaise with all of the end of year activities, sports, hours spent in traffic, work, and the usual obligations that accompany our modern day lives, and sometimes it all feels a little overwhelming just getting through the week. There are many nights that I wonder what it would be like to live somewhere where our evenings are spent sipping wine on the porch while our kids and neighbors saunter in and out of our yard and I question whether we should be living a slower life.
In these daydreams our home is always somewhere warm in the south (where life seems to be markedly slower) and there is no place I love in the south more than New Orleans. I first visited the city a little over five years ago and within minutes I knew that it was absolutely a place that I could call home. Since then I've spent hours in the Garden District, wandering down its tree lined streets, dreaming of what life would be like inside one of those large Gothic manses. When you are in that neighborhood it feels like you are somewhere in a movie and it's easy to envision raising your family in such a beautiful and historic place.
This is why I was thrilled a few weeks back when I stumbled upon this piece from the New York Times Magazine from 2015, which provides a tour of the Costello family's New Orleans home. This is a family that did what we all dream of doing, but what many of just can't seem to commit to. On vacation in New Orleans, the Costello family was presented with a dream fixer upper, and just like that they left their busy lives in NYC and moved their family down south in search of a slower life. Sarah Ruffin Costello, a designer by trade, along with architect Michael Carbine undertook the involved renovation and together with some advice from the original architect they restored the home to its former grandeur. The end result is a home with so much soul, it truly took my breath away when I first saw it. It's been a long time since I have been this enamored with a home and I'm sure you will feel the same after seeing these images.
There is so much that I love about this home, I'm not even sure where to begin. It's the perfect blend of old and new and modern and traditional. It's simple, yet it's equally as dramatic, and I love how the designer really let the "bones" of the house be the star. The elements to the home that are original, including the mirror in the living room, the doors and moldings, and the exterior are so incredibly beautiful and I love the juxtaposition between the antique elements mixed with modern materials like the acrylic kitchen chairs and the ping-pong table.
This house feels like a house that is made to entertain and the family does just that. I've probably watched this video about a dozen times and each time I think to myself, why is it exactly that I don't live this life? Our hope is that when our Costa house is completed our life will resemble more of this and hopefully a little less of the day-to-day grind. My only regret is that we won't be living there full time which means another spring is likely to come where I find myself wondering what it would be like try on a different life for our family. It's probably something that will never happen but hey, I'm pretty sure the Costellos felt that way too! Xx
For more on the incredibly talented Sarah Ruffin Costello (including her impressive portfolio) you can find her site here.