- Photo by Theresa Cassagne
- The living room mixes delicate furnishings — an 18th century settee from Sicily, a painted Italian chair, a mirrored table from the 1940s — with muted shades of gold, moss, amber and rose against a whitewashed background. A grouping of 18th century Italian architectural fragments tops the mantel. Florentine nesting tables are topped with a classical bust and urns holding terra-cotta fruit. The Italian chandelier and the Oushak are both 20th century. A French velvet curtain panel drapes the settee.
At work, Antiques on Jackson owners Simon and Maria Hardeveld sell elegant yet rustic European antiques and accessories, along with Simon's colorful folk art paintings. At home, the couple is happily surrounded by more of the same. Vignette after vignette of artfully arranged furnishings, architectural fragments, tapestries, books, paintings, chandeliers and other miscellany — the more peeling and patinaed the better — tell the story of their appreciation for timeless objects.
"We buy things that have their original finishes and surfaces," says Maria, a native New Orleanian whose love for antiques was instilled by relatives who emigrated to New Orleans from Italy. "That's my passion. My mind starts wondering how many people sat on this settee, how many people put their hands on the arms, how long did it take for the paint to rub off? Now it's down to the bare wood, and it's beautiful."
- Maria and Simon Hardeveld are surrounded by Simon's paintings at their Jackson Avenue store, Antiques On Jackson.
A native of Chamonix, France and former chef, Simon shares his wife's affinity for antique, distressed and hand-hewn wares, taking satisfaction in their daily use. His grandmother lived in a 17th century farmhouse where period furniture rubbed elbows with stores of feed grain. The same kind of juxtaposition appears in the Hardeveld's home, where Simon's painted signage is a lighthearted counterpoint to the sophisticated cache of furnishings. "It's like here," he says of the contrast. "For me, it's typically New Orleans."
Typical is not a word that otherwise comes to mind regarding the Hardeveld's residence. Every piece is deftly placed with a stylist's eye. Originally an 1898 farmhouse with crops and a dairy nearby, the Broadmoor structure had fallen into neglect when the Hardevelds purchased it. Five college students, several English bulldogs and a slew of pizza boxes and beer cans inhabited the building. Midway through the renovation process, the neighborhood flooded following the 2005 levee failures. The Hardevelds chose to start renovating again and rebuild their decades-old antiques collection.
- Ike, an English bulldog, nestles in the Knoll sofa. A late 19th century tapestry is grouped with 19th century Aubusson fragments. The doors are from an old New Orleans grocery store and the rug is an antique Oushak.
Once a warren of rooms that included a bedroom and a full bath, the downstairs has been simplified. A centrally located bedroom became a cozy sitting room, and the full bath was eliminated to enlarge the kitchen and breakfast area. A side porch became an enclosed, light-filled sanctuary where Maria often sips tea and pores over shelter magazines and decorating books like The World Of Interiors. Floor-to-ceiling white paint provides a neutral background for the furnishings and art, which were quickly replaced by several seasoned buyers who cover the East Coast and European markets for the Hardeveld's business.
Nearly every inch of available space displays something lovely, including items from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Belgium.
- A French feather duster perched on a mannequin from Gerson's department store (once located on Tulane Avenue) is reminiscent of a Mardi Gras costume.
"When we go out of town, I always have to look for that one treasure," Maria says. "And a lot of times I find something, some little tidbit that's wonderful."
Upstairs, the master and guest bedrooms, two bathrooms, Maria's office and Simon's studio are home to more of the couple's collection. "I love to look at things of a different era, of a different time when things were more peaceful and society lived at a different pace," Maria says. Like her husband, she doesn't use a computer at home or at work. "Answering emails doesn't even enter my realm of thinking. The more I see people do it, the more I step back from it. When we go to a dinner, I sit down and personally write a note to say thank you. If they can do that for me, I can do that for them."
- In the master bedroom, 12–year-old English bulldog Lily poses on her bed, which is covered with vintage curtain fabric from France. The king-size bed also is covered with a vintage curtain panel. Opposite the bed, a painted American cabinet is accessorized with several Italian mirrors, Capodimonte porcelain lamps, a Florentine tray and five tasseled wooden fragments. Maria's Florentine 1940s vanity is paired with a 1920s gilt opera chair.
The kitchen, located at the rear of the house, is both an antiquarian's and a foodie's delight; both husband and wife are good cooks, though Simon prefers painting to culinary pursuits these days. An old wooden bar delineates the cooking area and serves as counter space for the assortment of fruits, vegetables, cheeses, French bread and pastries that is always on hand, displayed beneath glass cloches. At the kitchen's rear, one of Simon's signs adds a touch of his trademark ebullience. Local restaurants and patisseries — Joey K's, Lola's, La Boulangerie and Croissant D'Or — are home to his work, and he recently completed a set for a new local television show that will air on WGNO-TV.
- A sideboard made with a base from round top is paired with an old piece of marble.
"More and more, I love what I do because of the people of New Orleans," he says with a French accent that his wife affectionately imitates. "I really paint more for the people of New Orleans than for me."
As passionate as they are about their businesses, Maria and Simon are even more passionate about the day-to-day life they savor at home. "It's not just a place to eat and sleep," Maria says. "It's an eclectic mix of everything I love."
"Every day, when we go home and pull in the driveway," adds Simon, "I say, 'Home sweet home.'"