2819 Bell Street

article and photo used with permission of the Preservation Resource Center

photo by Ian Cockburn

Home of Lynn Reeves, Laura & Sophie Vagianos

by Valorie Hart
Research by Valorie Hart and Sharon McManis

“LIVING SMALL” is a resurging option for many people, and the sweet shotgun home of Laura and Sophie Vagianos and Lynn Reeves epitomizes the advantages of preserving an historic home’s original footprint. The owners have lovingly renovated their 100-year-old cottag to utilize every inch of its 1,000 square feet.

“Before our renovation, we had a dysfunctional, strange space. We did not have a functional kitchen and our single bathroom was extremely small,” Laura said. It added up to about 300 square feet of usable space — a hefty percentage in a small house. The side-hall shotgun felt closed in, so the owners removed the wall dividing the living space from the hall, allowing in light from the exterior wall of windows. Reeves and Vagianos take great pride that much of the house is original including the walls, floor and most of the trim work, as are the side hall and the pocket doors.

The finishing touch to the renovation is the witty and unique decor of the house. From the cement pigs that grace the front porch (and get seasonal costume changes that the neighbors look forward to) to the spicy and warm color scheme, this is definitelya New Orleans home. The owners share the philosophy that, in decorating, they just include what they like while also striving to maintain the integrity of the structure and respecting the many years it sheltered others before them.

They love to collect art, and their favorite artists include Amy Cespedes Glisan, Bill Hemmerling and their daughter, Sophie. One of the most sriking installlations is where the humble kitchenmantel has been decked out with religious items and mementos, creating an altar of sorts.

At the back of the house is a funky, colorful garden that includes a place to dine among the tropical foliage and handmade metal art pieces created by Lynn’s brother, Paul.

Click here to view the original article as printed in the March, 2012 issue of Preservation in Print. Article and photo used with permission of the Preservation Resource Center.

Doesn’t this house sound great? You can see more of this house and many more during the Preservation Resource Center’s Shotgun Tour of Faubourg St. John homes on Saturday, March 31st from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The headquarters for the PRC’s Shotgun Tour of Faubourg St. John will be at the PITOT HOUSE at 1440 Moss Street on Bayou St. John.

The tour is just…
$16 for PRC and Louisiana Landmarks Society members
$20 for non-members
$10 each for groups of 10 or more

All tickets are $25 at the Pitot House on the day of the tour so get your tickets early!

Ticketholders will receive discounts from area businesses including Bayou Beer Garden, Cafe Degas, CC’s Coffee House, Cork & Bottle Wine Shop, Fair Grinds Coffee House, Liuzza’s by the Track, Lux Day Spa, Pal’s Lounge, and Swirl Wine Bar & Market.

For more information call (504) 581-7032 or visit

SPONSORS of the PRC Home Tour
Abry Brothers, Inc.
Cork & Bottle Wine Shop
Louisiana Landmarks Society
Mothership Foundation
Parkway Bakery & Tavern
Soprano’s Meat Market
Stafford Tile
Uptown Insurance Agency

Tour Headquarters: PITOT HOUSE

Built in 1799, the Pitot House is one of the oldest Creole country house buildings in New Orleans. It is traditional stucco-covered, brick-between-post construction with a double hipped roof and wide galleries. The house is named for James Pitot, the first mayor of incorporated New Orleans, who lived here from 1810 -1819.

Now open for tours and special events, the house was restored in 1960 by the Louisiana Landmarks Society, which uses the building as its headquarters.

Shotgun House ticket holders will have the opportunity to visit the historic Pitot House.

About the author
Charlie London
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