A recently completed home renovation marries French Quarter charm with Manhattan style.
Dr. Harminder S. Mallik, an associate professor of psychiatry at Tulane University, is a board-certified forensic psychiatrist, medical director and educator with more than 20 years of experience treating psychiatric patients, but he also happens to have a passion for interior design. Dr. Mallik began renovating and decorating condos in 2000 and has completed more than a half dozen renovations in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and New York City, creating beautiful turnkey corporate rentals. When he and his business partner Jack Chawla came across the 1830s Creole cottage-style double located at 826-828 Orleans Avenue, he decided he was ready to take on his first full renovation project.
“Our market here is changing, due to the growing technology and movie industries,” Dr. Mallik says. “If you want to live in New Orleans, the French Quarter is the place to be. Home buyers are drawn to the history and the city’s charm, so we wanted to restore the building’s character, while providing the luxuries and amenities one would expect in an upscale home.”
Located along a residential block of Orleans Avenue between Bourbon and Dauphine streets, with a clear view of the St. Louis Cathedral, the historic double offers 2,400 total square feet of living space, divided equally between two 1,200-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bathroom units finished in a style that Dr. Mallik describes as “Manhattan meets New Orleans.”
The project took Dr. Mallik and Chawla two years to complete; it was a true “labor of love,” which involved rebuilding the structure literally from the ground up. With Dr. Mallik’s vision and Chawla’s connections, the project became a success. Chawla, a renowned entrepreneur and New Orleanian, has been in the real estate market for 50 years.
“When we bought it, the house looked like a home in a Michalopoulos painting,” Dr. Mallik recalls. “It was leaning both to the right and to the left. It had no foundation or pilings, so we had to pour 40 posts and pillars. We took down every brick and beam, and then used them in the redesign.”
While Dr. Mallik says the finished product was his vision, Ralph Long and his team at Mouton Long Turner Architects were able to make it a reality by converting the two double shotguns into more of an open loft style on each side, with an interior brick archway. To preserve the historic charm of the property, Dr. Mallik chose to keep the exposed brick walls and the chiseled character of the beams. He also kept the original, gorgeous hard pine floors. In order to give the space a more open, loft-like feel, local artisan Hernan Caro custom designed the openwork-steel staircase, so that the stairs would not hinder one’s view of the space, giving more visibility to the beautiful and delicate Schonbek chandeliers that hang throughout.
“I wanted to give the home a sense of warmth as well as a sense of luxury,” says Dr. Mallik, who selected Mattix Cabinet Works to create the gourmet kitchens, which feature Thermador appliances, a white Carrara waterfall marble island and graphite countertops. The graphite and white marble baths are donned with Kohler soaking tubs and Delta chrome fixtures.
The attention to detail continues on the outside as well. An intimate, sunny rear courtyard features a handset sun ray brick pattern designed to promote enjoying the warmth of the outdoors, with New Orleans Police Department, Fire Department and Marine Corps pavers.
Though Dr. Mallik is busy with his own private practice, he enjoys renovation and decor as his creative outlet. “You make time for your passions and for those things that bring you joy,” he says, adding that he already has his eye on a few French Quarter buildings and is looking forward to starting his second full renovation project.
“Living in New Orleans, I have always gravitated toward historic buildings,” explains Dr. Mallik, who has also renovated condos along Tchoupitoulas Street and in the old Fiber Mills building. “I like to restore the original character of the building, but give it some luxurious amenities to meet current buyers’ needs, and pay tribute to the history of New Orleans.”
The property at 826-828 Orleans Avenue is listed with French Quarter Realty.