Karina Gentinetta has an affinity for old houses, the older the better. When her newly purchased 1930s home—including nearly all its contents—was wiped out by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, she and husband Andrew "A.J." McAlear were left to build a new home on the lot where their old one had stood. "I wanted to pay homage to the architecture and history New Orleans lost," says Karina. Placing emphasis on simplicity, she drew the modest plans herself.