What was once an annex of the Soule Business College in the Garden District is now a stunning family home that truly shines at the holidays. The two-story brick structure was built in 1923 and originally housed the typing and stenographer departments of the trade school. Pam Dongieux renovated the building to create two stylish and spacious condominiums.
She lives in the upstairs space with her three children and her mother lives in the other. It's a beehive of activity and she wouldn't have it any other way. With 14 foot ceilings and expansive windows looking out over soaring oak trees, she's got the swankiest treehouse ever. "What I love is all of the natural light pouring in," Pam explains. "The windows have no coverings; the trees provide all the shading and privacy we need."
The modern loft-like space has a hip industrial vibe and with all the cozy furnishings and accessories that Pam has collected over the years, her home is as relaxed and welcoming as she is.
At Christmas, Pam seeks out the largest and most attractive freshly cut tree she can find at Urban Roots. Having once owned her own flower business, she has plenty of experience decorating trees for others. When it comes to her own, she is all about colorful ornaments and the ones her kids made by hand — the more sentimental the better.
In her living room, she has the grand piano she grew up with loaded with nutcrackers, brush trees, and family pictures. "I have people over constantly through the holidays—family, friends, my kids' friends, you name it. We're on the piano, we're gathered around the fireplace. Celebrating at home is important to me." With two teenagers in residence, Dennis and Anita, and another son, Gunner, at Stanford University, you can definitely say it's a full house. Most gatherings include snuggling with four beloved rescued dogs: Sasha and Jersey, her Bernese and Husky mixes, and Charlie and Jack, both of Jack Russell lineage.
Several comfortable seating areas allow guests to spread out with a cocktail or bite, and Pam has enchanting decorations throughout the living room. Little green trees, a collection of snow globes, and an occasional bird seem quite at home. Glittery trees iced with red berries sit atop an antique chest of drawers she found at Wirthmore Antiques, and on another chest there are tall metal trees that hold tealights.
With the abundant sunlight streaming in, everything is gleaming and sparkly especially the glamorous mirrored bar that she custom designed. "I knew I wanted a built-in bar as a strong design element," Pam explained. "Gretchen Weller Howard lacquered it chinoiserie red accented with gold trim." The dramatic bar is a showstopper. By adding a settee from Mario Villa and a chandelier from Mac Maison, the hall acts as another popular seating area.
With Christmas stockings hanging behind the piano and whimsical vignettes of holiday treasures in place, Pam's ready for a season filled with Christmas carols, lots of laughter, and kisses from her four-legged friends. It's wonderful to see the old schoolhouse as busy as it was back in the day and the views from the windows are all the more special at this time of year.
This article appeared in the November 2019 Issue of Adore Magazine.