Thor Carlson & Tara Lee Cox
Prospect 2 is in full swing this fall, and in St. Roch, there is a treasure of a guerilla pop-up art space located at 1628/1634 Spain Street, the working synergies of Thor Carlson and Tara Lee Cox’s Starling Built Design Studio.
Tara purchased a home on Mandeville Street in St. Roch in 2004, falling in love with the proximity to other neighborhoods and services while also appreciating the affordability of the homes. Originally from England, the centrality of the neighborhood to Treme, Marigny and the French Quarter appealed to Tara.
In 2005 Tara purchased another home, the current location of Starling Built, and began renovating as the front of the structure hand built by the previous owner had completely collapsed in Hurricane Katrina.
In 2010, Thor and Tara decided to partner to purchase a shotgun single built in the 1930’s and a workshop next door at 1628 Spain offering Thor, an architectural metal work artist a larger live/work space while also creating a tremendous cost savings on studio space that was typically too small for his work.
Together Thor and Tara have completely renovated 1634 Spain using green, sustainable, reused materials in a fashion that created very minimal waste by using 4×8 materials throughout the space. 1628 Spain’s renovation is on-going and will be much more consistent with its historic architecture while still utilizing green, sustainable and repurposed materials.
When asked about their future in the neighborhood they both would like to purchase more property to renovate and are inspired by generational homeowners that have never left St. Roch and by the new young neighbors moving into the neighborhood for that same appeal Tara originally saw.
It is with the influx of new, the celebration of the old, along with the work that organizations like this one are completing that provides Thor and Tara with hope that the neighborhood is on a path to a fresh look since New Orleans is all too self referential.
Starling Built is open every Saturday and Sunday from 11AM to 6PM. Current works by Brian St. Cyr, Adam Farrington, Abe Geasland and Thor Carlson.
*Courtesy of Faubourg St. Roch Project