Home Away from Home

Hogs House Family Center at Children’s Hospital provides respite for families with children in treatment.
Photos by Sara Essex Bradley

 

There are few, if any, situations more stressful for families than having a child sick in the hospital. The good news is that families outside of New Orleans with children receiving treatment at Children’s Hospital New Orleans now have a cozy, welcoming place to stay right on the hospital’s State Street campus.

Hogs House Family Center at Children’s Hospital is a 7,000-square-foot, 13-room refuge made possible by a $2.1 million donation from Hogs for the Cause. Hogs for the Cause was founded in 2008 by Becker Hall and Rene Louapre and raises money for pediatric brain cancer outreach. The annual Hogs for the Cause barbecue and music festival is the primary fundraiser for the nonprofit organization.

Hogs House is one of the historic cottages on the campus. Children’s Hospital worked with Eskew + Dumez + Ripple architectural and design firm for the restoration of the circa-1938 former maintenance building.

“We wanted it to be calming and soothing and serve as a place to relax,” says Amanda Rivera, architect and senior associate at Eskew + Dumez + Ripple and Hogs House project manager. “We anticipated that children would be staying here too, so a lot of the colors and patterns have some whimsy.”

Upon entering the building, guests are greeted on the right by a happy and bright lounge area decorated with cool colors, furniture covered in soft, warm, plush fabric, dark wood flooring and light streaming in from the French doors. Everything has a residential look and feel, including the reception area to the left.

Pig figurines, artwork and other elements are placed throughout the building as a nod to Hogs for the Cause and the various teams who volunteered and donated. In many cases the teams themselves came in and added touches to the interiors and funded certain areas.

Down the hall, guests can use the kitchenette with pantry food items made available by Children’s Hospital employees. The space has marble countertops, gray cabinets with clear Lucite pulls featuring brass accents and a stainless steel refrigerator. Across from the kitchenette, a dining room with three glass-top tables offers a place for families to dine, participate in craft projects and otherwise gather. Each table has bright pink patterned chairs topped with bird and flower centerpieces.

There are rooms of varying sizes on both the first and second floors and each has a private bathroom with industrial-style shower hardware and fixtures as a nod to the former industrial use of the building. Some rooms have a queen-sized bed and a day bed. The smallest room features one queen bed. The brick walls were left exposed whenever possible and painted with calming colors.

On the second floor, a reading room and play area are located at the top of the stairs. Metal and wood shelving units flank each side of the room and open upon a little playhouse. There is a deep blue, velvet sofa on each side and small pig stools. Legos, plastic animals, books and other toys line the shelves. Mural wallpaper with a relaxing coastal scene and photos of the Hogs for the Cause teams decorate the walls. Guests can access the second-story porch, which overlooks a green space and large oak tree in front of the building. Hogs for the Cause plans to eventually build a playground in the open space. There is also a laundry room in the building stocked with toiletries and other supplies, in case a guest forgets something or runs out during their stay.

Rivera says the windows and doors are all original to maintain historical integrity, but that the project was challenging architecturally because certain fire safety and Americans with Disabilities Act rules have to be followed when dealing with a non-residential building. The team worked hard to conceal those elements whenever possible or folded them into the industrial design elements.

Light fixtures with 1930s appeal and other schoolhouse industrial features blend seamlessly with the homelike touches for an overall look and feel of a boutique hotel or large, comfortable house that’s sure to ease the strain for so many families during their stay.



The circa-1938 Hogs House at Children’s Hospital was a former maintenance building. Eskew + Dumez + Ripple architectural and design firm transformed it into a 13-room housing facility for families who have children in treatment at the hospital. It features bright colors and whimsical patterns, countless pig figurines — a nod to the Hogs for the Cause teams that helped decorate — and other residential design elements created with commercial-grade materials.



The second-floor reading room offers space to play, read or relax. Calming murals with coastal scenes are repeated on both walls and pig stools roam freely about the room, offering a fun spot for little ones to sit, bounce or “ride” while enjoying a few minutes or hours of downtime. The room leads out to a balcony that overlooks a large oak tree and sprawling green space.



“We wanted it to be calming and soothing and serve as a place to relax. We anticipated that children would be staying here too, so a lot of the colors and patterns have some whimsy.”

Amanda Rivera, architect and senior associate at Eskew + Dumez + Ripple and Hogs House project manager



Children’s Hospital New Orleans has a beautiful new place for families receiving care thanks to Hogs for the Cause.


At a glance

Hogs House Family Center at Children’s Hospital

Address | Children’s Hospital Campus at 210 State St.

Project completed | September 2018

Architect | Eskew + Dumez + Ripple

Interior Designer | Eskew + Dumez + Ripple

Furnishings | Primarily Anthropologie, West Elm, Restoration Hardware, some wall coverings by local artist Amanda Stone Talley.

Square footage | 8,200 square feet (First and second floors are 7,800 square feet and the porch and balconies are 400 square feet).

Main goal | Convert historic maintenance building into 13-room housing for patient families.

Biggest Challenge | Fitting so much program into such a small building floor plate. Integrating new stair and elevator components to comply with current life safety codes and ADA regulations, while maintaining the historic architectural integrity of the building. Keeping the interiors residential and comfortable in style and feel, but specified to have a commercial-level durability.

Standout Feature | Original, circa-1938 doors and windows and original center grand stair.