New Orleans Homes and Lifestyles Spring 2021

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EDITORIAL Editor Melanie Warner Spencer Creative Director Tiffani Reding Amedeo Associate Editor Ashley McLellan Web Editor Kelly Massicot Contributing Writers Mirella Cameran, Lee Cutrone,

Fritz Esker, Eva Fedderly, Andy Myer, Pamela Marquis, Misty Milioto, Margaret Zainey Roux Copy Editor Liz Clearman ADVERTISING Senior Account Executive Brooke LeBlanc Genusa

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P. 22

FEATUR E S Renovation of the Year An Uptown home doubles in space, while maintaining its traditional New Orleans charm 38

Sunny + Bright

P. 66

Jessica Rambo and Ibert Schultz’s 19th-century Greek Revival house is a showplace of modernist design and New Orleans-inspired exuberance 46

Kitchen Dreams 6 inspiring kitchens with wow factor for days 54

STA N DAR D S Editor’s Note + Design Diary Spring’s New Beginnings 12

P. 14

Style Character Building: Lee Ledbetter built his career on making spaces ... better 14

Get Organized

P. 18

Bloom Where Planted: Keeping the garden and its many tools in order 16

Artist Profile Carlton Scott Sturgill 18

Bon Vivant P. 58

Accessory Access: Creating a mask and hand sanitizer station that’s both handy and attractive 20

Gatherings Flavor Fiesta: Barracuda founder Brett Jones’ pork roast captures the flavors of carnitas and porchetta in a not-quite Mexican meal 22

Bright Ideas

Inspiration Board

Last Indulgence

Plant Power: Architect Benjamin Massey shares how to make interiors bloom 28

Soothing Hues: Illuminating and Ultimate Gray, the Pantone Colors of the Year, provide calming, yet colorful, inspiration 66

Light Bright: A luxe candle or warmer sets the ambiance of a room 72

Trendwatch Spring is in the Air: Advice and musines on spring planting and the season itself from New Orleans garden pros 24

Garden Variety: Stretch your green thumbs and branch out with these happy pieces for sprucing up indoor and outdoor spaces 30

Home Grown

Home Renewal

Asparagus: With its versatility, impressive nutrient profile and delectable taste, asparagus is the superstar of spring vegetables 26

Play it Safe: Include limiting or eliminating toxic substances in your home maintenance plan 64

For the Garden

Price Mix Knives Out: Garden knives bring style and substance to backyard plots 68

Expert Advice Home Economics: Freshening décor in an evolving home environment 70


Our 2021 Renovation of the Year is a family-friendy Uptown stunner. (p. 38) PHOTOGRAPH BY SARA ESSEX BRADLEY




floats to our decorating skill sets. If you said to me during the 2020 Carnival season that’s how we’d spend the 2021 season, I’d have told you to stop pulling my leg. But, we’ve seen and done so much we never would have dreamed of over the past year. Creating house floats, picking up takeout feasts from our favorite upscale and fine dining eateries and the return of the ancient practice of grocery delivery are all a few of the things born of the pandemic that I for one am in favor of keeping once we are looking at COVID-19 in the rear view mirror. At this point, even the heartiest among us have caution fatigue and we are all in need of offering a big hug to a loved one or neighbor while ushering them into the house for the warmth and life-affirming feeling of sharing a hot cup of coffee, tea, lemonade or a cocktail with inside our favorite room. I’m honestly tearing up just writing it, because until the vaccine rollout began, I didn’t allow myself to think about the light at the end of the tunnel. But it’s finally getting closer and soon, we’ll be able to invite family, friends and strangers alike into our homes again, offer neighbors a plate of hot crawfish or a beer as they pass by on a walk while we are boiling in the yard or one of the many things we’ve stopped doing to play our part in curbing this terrible virus. Our spring issue always celebrates the promise of a fresh start, but this time around, we are planting seeds for a few months from now, when we can gather again over shared space, shared food and the sharing of brighter memories. Until then, please wear a mask and stay safe and well. Here’s to a new beginning. Cheers!

CAST YOUR VOTE! Who is your favorite home industry professional in New Orleans? Vote for the individuals and companies that make your house a home, take care of your pet and more in our Best of Home contest. Visit to cast your ballot.

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Locally based design/build firm GoodWood Nola — known for its custom furniture and architectural fabrication — launched a sustainable home accessories line. It includes walnut serving trays, magnetic knife strips, spice racks, geometric-shaped wine racks and chessboards. Each is handmade by artisans in the company’s studio with repurposed materials. Via local partnerships, the company also replaces wood materials by planting trees. Also, check out GoodWood’s new showroom space at its 4,200-square-foot state-of-the-art facility. 1000 S. Rendon St., 233-8127, MAJOR AWARDS FOR LOCAL HOMEBUILDER Voted as New Orleans’ best builder by our readers at New Orleans Homes for four years in a row, Entablature recently received three major awards in juried competitions. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) named Entablature as a national winner of its 2020 Contractor of the Year awards in the category of Residential Exterior under $50,000. Entablature followed this achievement with both a Grand Award and a Silver Award in the Southeast Building Conference Aurora Awards for the category Best Renovated or Restored Single House–Historical. 8438 Oak St., Ste. C, 322-3822, PROFILES IN PRESERVATION PROGRAM The Garden District Association created a new Profiles in Preservation Program for eligible homeowners with the aim of educating the general public about the district’s significant architecture and history. The GDA assembled top-notch architectural historians to research the homes’ histories, and David Spielman is photographing exteriors, interiors and gardens. Each subscribing homeowner receives a detailed history report in a bound personal book with professional photographs, plus a custom, permanent bronze marker placed outside their home. The GDA is releasing a GPS webbased walking tour app in May that will include readable and auditory histories, plus gorgeous photographs. The GDA also will release a coffee table book late this year, including nearly 100 homes and historic structures with individual histories and photographs. 1300 Perdido St., 899-4373, — COMPILED BY MISTY MILIOTO




Lee Ledbetter built his career on making spaces … better. The architect and author shares his blueprint on what to look for and where to find those certain somethings that add charisma and individuality to a home. PRODUCED BY MARGARET ZAINEY ROUX



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1. ORIGINAL ART As an architect and art lover, I find joy in giving art a place to call home. I’ve worked with NOMA, private galleries and homeowners to create spaces for showcasing special pieces, and I’m currently mesmerized by rising star and Louisiananative Brian Guidry. Arthur Roger Gallery,

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2. HANDMADE CERAMICS Point me in the direction of anything handmade, particularly ceramics. Although he’s best known for his landscape paintings, Kevin Gillentine creates vessels with a Japanese influence that feel beautifully “of the Earth.” Kevin Gillentine, kevingillentine. com.

3. HOUSEPLANTS In my work, I strive to link indoor and outdoor spaces, or blur the lines between the two. A sculptural tropical or succulent creates that natural connection by guiding the eye from a room out to a garden. My go-to for houseplants is Nine Mile Point Nursery located on a historic wooded property on the Westbank. The setting makes it worth driving the extra miles. Nine Mile Point Nursery,

4. KHOTAN CARPETS Having grown up in a home with antique carpets, they evoke special memories for me. I’m drawn to Khotan carpets that originated in Western China along the trade route. Their delicate designs strike a nice balance between East and West. NOLA Rugs,

5. ANTIQUE FURNITURE Folks may be surprised to find antique furniture in our decidedly modern rooms, but nothing offsets strict geometric spaces like an antique with gentle curves or rich patina. Balzac Antiques,


FORM AND FUNCTION Want to be the envy of all your gardening friends? Then a wooden trug is a must. This is a garden accessory that combines functionality and ornamental value. Use them for collecting flowers and plant cuttings, as well as harvesting fruit, vegetables and herbs. Channel your inner Martha Stewart or give as a gift to your favorite gardener. This handcrafted myrtlewood garden trug set is made in the U.S.A.

Bloom Where Planted Keeping the garden and its many tools in order Spring is a time of new life, bright green sprouts, and the beaming yellow hope of daffodils. It’s also the time for spring cleaning and garden planting so why not combine the two by organizing and updating your garden shed. Because of its versatility and utility, a mobile cart is a must-have garden item. It keeps frequently used garden tools and supplies in one spot and properly organized. Also, a good garden cart can help with hauling bags of topsoil, bins of compost, terra cotta pots and handmade stepping stones. Thus, saving your back and knees from a gardener’s grueling pain. The Ultimate Garden Cart by Terrain ( is certainly up for the task. — BY PAM MARQUIS

LOCK IT UP You also need a place to keep your seeds. You could use old pill bottles, resealable plastic bags, condiment containers, or baby food jars. Or if you want to be fancy, invest in some vintage lunch boxes or biscuit tins. If you store any cleaners, pesticides or other hazardous materials in your shed, consider keeping them up and away in a wall cabinet or similar lockable storage area.

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EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE Do you waste time looking for your shovel only to find it in a patch of long grass? Or discover your hand shears under a forsythia bush? A staple in every garden shed is a proper tool rack. When your tool is in a tool rack in a dry shed, nothing can happen to it — no rust, no rot. We particularly like these racks that can hold a wide variety of different-sized tools.



are captivating paeans to blooms and vines, the perfect artistic genre for the season of rebirth. Yet, woven into each are layers of examination and commentary that become evident when one looks more closely. At the heart of Sturgill’s work (ranging from racy naturalistic paintings inspired by photos taken from dating sites to sinuous handcrafted flora and large-scale interactive greenhouses) is his fascination with the dichotomy between public persona and private behavior and what we discover when we investigate that duality. “I want to make something beautiful,” says Sturgill who sees the need to uplift humanity given the current crises affecting the planet. “But I also want to make something that has meaning. Flowers are an ambiguous symbol. We give and get them for almost everything in our lives; for weddings and birthdays, but also funerals.” Raised in a small farm community outside of Cincinnati, Sturgill received his BA from the University of Cincinnati and his Master of Arts from London’s Chelsea College of Art & Design. His subject matter, born of what he observed to be the striking contrast between midwestern conservatism and what goes on behind the scenes there, comes from his

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roots, but resonates far beyond the heartland’s borders. “I got into the surface versus what’s behind the surface, the idea of the white picket fence façade and what is actually happening in the real lives of the people,” he says. Sturgill’s materials of choice — Ralph Lauren paint color chips for his mosaics and Ralph Lauren fabrics obtained from secondhand retail for his florals — are uniquely suited to his exploration of the way we craft our persona or in modern terms “create our brand.” Ralph-Lauren-the-designer epitomizes the American ideal of success; Ralph-Lauren-the-label epitomizes classic Americana. Plus, Sturgill says secondhand cloth “has a range of experiences embedded in it.” At a distance, the viewer may not notice the Ralph Lauren labels incorporated into Sturgill’s flowers, but they are there, telegraphing information to those who are interested in delving further. Smitten with the culture and the city’s support of the arts, Sturgill and his wife ultimately made New Orleans their home after stints abroad and in New York. He is represented by Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, where his last show consisted of flowers made from used wedding gowns and tuxedos. His next show, “Life in Bloom,” is on exhibit April 1 thru May 29; opening reception April 3. — BY LEE CUTRONE



ACCESSORY ACCESS Creating a mask and hand sanitizer station that’s both handy and attractive Even with the vaccine being administered into arms across New Orleans and the nation, we are still being advised to wear masks for a while longer to protect ourselves and others. For a longer time than I care to admit, our mask and hand sanitizer “station” was a gallon Ziplock bag hanging on a decorative clip near the door. We filled it as needed with the essential safety accoutrements and, while a great visual reminder and 100 percent functional, this was always meant to be a temporary solution. I finally grew weary of digging through the bag in search of a mask color to fit my current whim, as well as the type (spray, gel or both) and scent of sanitizer (blood orange, lavender, my own essential oil blend or pure alcohol). A first world problem if ever there were one, but I digress. So, because the Ziplock bag was unattractive and — even worse in my book — it was inefficient, which always pushes the buttons on my pain threshold, because I’m an efficiency geek, I created a proper station. If you’d like to create one for your home here’s my recommendation. Elements to consider: Hooks for masks A shelf or basket for sanitizers Wall mounting capabilities Clean simple lines Durability

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While there are some pretty adorable options on Etsy, I went for convenience and a low price point. We purchased a simple mail sorting rack for $15.99 at Harry’s Ace Hardware on Magazine Street. There were only three left in stock, but a similar sorter is available at We toss our masks in the guest room sink and hand wash them at the end of each day, but you could include a basket for used masks in your station if you pick a model with a wider shelf and hooks. This might be a good solution for those with children or otherwise larger households. If you go this route, get a slightly longer shelf, place hand sanitizers directly on the shelf or in a dedicated basket and put the “used” basket next to it with a label indicating “dirty” or “used” (or “wash me” if you want to have fun with it). The reality is that we’ll be using masks and sanitizer for the foreseeable future, so we might as well create storage solutions that work with our needs and décor. But, if you don’t want to go to all of the trouble, I can vouch for a Ziplock bag clipped by the door. At the end of the day, the most important thing is not whether or not you have a Pinterest-worthy mask and sanitizer station. The point is to remember to actually take and use your masks and sanitizer (and of course to stay six-to-10 feet apart). Stay safe, everyone. We’re in this thing together. (Note: A version of this column was published previously on myneworleans. com.) – BY MELANIE WARNER SPENCER






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Flavor Fiesta Barracuda founder Brett Jones’ pork roast captures the flavors of carnitas and porchetta in a not-quite Mexican meal PRODUCED BY MARGARET ZAINEY ROUX

CHILE AND TURMERIC ROAST PORK SHOULDER Serves 6-8 1 ½ tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves 6 garlic cloves, peeled ½ teaspoon turmeric powder ½ teaspoon ground black pepper ½ teaspoon ground coriander seed ½ teaspoon ground cumin seed ½ teaspoon morita chile powder (substitute chipotle chile powder) 1 teaspoon fine sea salt (if using a coarser salt, use 2 teaspoons) 1/3 cup olive oil 3-4 pounds pork shoulder with fat cap (bone-in is best) 1. Make marinade by combining rosemary leaves, garlic, ground spices, salt and olive oil in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, and set aside. 2. Place pork on clean cutting board, with fatty side up. With a sharp knife, score fat in a cross-hatch pattern without cutting through to meat. Rub spice blend into scored fat then over entire roast. Refrigerate overnight or for least 3 hours. 3. Remove pork from refrigerator to bring it to room temperature (about an hour). Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 F. 4. In a roasting pan with a rack, add enough water to cover bottom, but not to touch pork. Place fatty side up on the rack and roast for 30-45 minutes, until top is golden and beginning to get crispy. 5. Remove pork from oven and cover tightly with foil. Reduce heat to 325 F and continue to cook for about 4 hours or until it is very soft and tender throughout. You should be able to pull apart the center of roast gently with tongs. 6. Transfer pork to a platter, tear and shred into chunks and smaller pieces. 7. Serve in flour or corn tortillas with sliced avocado and salsa verde or hot sauce. Spritz with freshly squeezed lime.

About the Chef Brett Jones is the founder of Barracuda, a neighborhood taco stand and margarita garden with locations in the Garden District and Algiers Point. He credits his grandmother, “Mawmaw Cat,” with his love of cooking and entertaining and describes his original recipes as fresh takes on Mexican classics he has enjoyed at taquerias across the Southwest and Mexico.


SPRING IS IN THE AIR Advice and musings on spring planting and the season itself from New Orleans garden pros SPRING IS HERE AND AS YOUR JOYOUS WORK BEGINS, here are a few tips and thoughts from some of the city’s top gardeners: Amy Graham, director of horticulture at Longue Vue House & Gardens; Chase Mullin of Mullin Landscape; Kurt LeBlanc, manager of Harold’s Plants; Tom Wolfe, owner of Urban Roots and Kathy McNamara, New Orleans Botanical Garden’s horticulture manager.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT SPRING? GRAHAM: “The birds are singing, the insects are buzzing, butterflies are

frolicking and people are excited to be outside. Planting is one of my favorite garden tasks. Who doesn’t like digging in the dirt?” MULLIN: “I love when the plants come out of ‘hibernation,’ and the dull shades of green become more vibrant, flowers bloom, the trees push their new leaves and the scents of many plants are as vibrant as the colors.” LEBLANC: “I love the first glimpses of blooms in late February and early March. You know spring is around the corner when you see Japanese magnolias crack open and then within weeks you see a pink carpet of petals all over your sidewalk and cars.” WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO SPRING PLANT? WOLFE:“Petunias are a great spring flower. There are lots of colors to

choose from and they are easy to grow.” MCNAMARA: “I think violas are very nice; also petunias and larkspur.” GRAHAM: “I adore our native hydrangea. It’s a dramatic, showy shrub with sturdy upright branches supporting 8-inch shimmering white blooms

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from Spring until August. It’s a must for pollinator gardens because the cover, blooms, seed and foliage serve birds and lots of insects.” TOP GARDENING TIP WOLFE: “Plan ahead and decide what you want to grow. Gardeners tend

to buy everything they see and find a space for them later. Planning makes sure you stay on track and on budget.” MCNAMARA: “Right plant; right place.” MULLIN: “Don’t wait. Our climate allows us to plant year-round, so I typically suggest planting in the winter so that the new plantings are well-established before we enter into the heat of summer.” LEBLANC: “Soil preparation is the most important. Just like people, nutrition is key for all plants and that comes mostly from the soil.” IF YOU COULD ONLY BUY ONE GARDEN TOOL WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY? MULLIN: “A tiller. Proper soil preparation is one of the keys to a successful

garden.” LEBLANC: “Without a doubt, it would be a Hori Hori knife. It’s more than just a gardening knife. One side you can dig with to plant smaller plants and one edge side is serrated so it can be used to cut roots or divide up clumps of plants.” WOLFE: “A garden hoe. They are the most versatile underused tool out there. They break up soil, edge, weed and kill zombies!” So let the planting begin and here’s to a beautiful and bountiful season! – BY PAMELA MARQUIS






With its versatility, impressive nutrient profile and delectable taste, asparagus is the superstar of spring vegetables BY PAMELA MARQUIS



GROW The plant is a perennial, grown from rhizomes that form crowns. In New Orleans, asparagus planted in spring probably won’t survive the hot summer. So autumn is the only time of year to plant asparagus in the South.

EAT You can shave it, blanch it, grill it, pickle it, and even eat it raw. No matter how you decide to prepare your asparagus, keep cooking times short. Also, if you don’t wrap it in bacon or drench it in hollandaise sauce, it’s low in calories — about 4 calories per spear.

2 PREP AND STORE Large spears of asparagus can have tough skins. Use a veggie peeler to remove them. It grows in sandy areas, so it’s important to wash it thoroughly before eating. The tips cook faster than the stalks so cook stalks standing up in water with the tips slightly above the water.

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4 LEARN For centuries, people have included asparagus in their Easter dinners because its fast growth in the spring symbolizes resurrection and it just tastes so dang good.




PLANT POWER Architect Benjamin Massey shares how to make interiors bloom


in the power of the plant kingdom. While Massey’s talents are firmly rooted in residential architecture and interior design, this New Orleans native has a penchant for perennial plants and lush landscapes. “Greenery is beautiful and integral to our environment; however, in design, plants and flowers are sometimes overlooked,” says Massey. “Plants are a crucial element of design and an essential part of living well.” With a green thumb passed down from his Southern mama, Massey believes flora can resurrect and transform spaces. Over the last year, we’ve learned how our surroundings can pick us up or bring us down. With a fresh season upon us, the New Orleans- and New York-based architect suggests using a little plant feng shui to bring the outdoors in for vibrancy and life this spring. TIP 1: ENHANCE A ROOM’S DÉCOR WITH PLANTS. Without plants, the room is yet to come alive. Massey suggests looking at each room and assessing the light. This will help determine what kind of plants you pick. For instance, snake plants, maidenhair ferns, and ZZ plants need little sunlight, while fiddle-leaf figs, ponytail palms and hibiscus thrive in the sun. Choose plants specifically for each room. Then select unique pots and urns to break up a monotonous, store-bought feel, Massey says. Mix and match. Be creative. TIP 2: GROUP POTTED PLANTS INTO CLUSTERS. Arrange potted plants to create, what Massey calls,“the garden effect.” He says, “Rather than just placing one flower pot in a corner of a room, group three to five potted

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plants of various shapes and sizes together. It makes for a more interesting aesthetic, and is reminiscent of how a garden grows.” TIP 3: ORGANIZE PLANTS BY WINDOWS. Not only will plants appreciate the light, but also the foliage will filter the sunshine to add shading and depth to each room. Rotate plants every few days or once a week, Gardepending on the plant, to ensure every side is nourished by the sun. A bonus, Massey adds, is that window plants can provide privacy from your neighbors. TIP 4: POSITION GREENERY IN FRONT OF MIRRORS. “Plants and mirrors are good friends,” Massey says. The architect suggests placing mirrors on walls, mantels, credenzas or on the floor. Then, to make it more interesting, arrange plants in front of the mirrors. “It creates a cool effect,” Massey says. “It visually doubles the amount of plants, adds dimension to each room and allows you to see plants from multiple angles.” TIP 5: FILL YOUR BATHROOM WITH FOLIAGE. When nature calls, be surrounded with greenery. “Bathrooms are actually a perfect place to nurture plants, as many plants thrive in warm, humid climates created by the moisture and steam of the shower,” Massey says. Guests delight in a bathroom bursting with foliage: It enlivens any space, no matter the size. Also, for an added health bonus, plants clean and freshen stale air. To view Benjamin Massey’s architectural and design projects, or to get into touch with Massey, visit: – BY EVA FEDDERLY




Garden Variety Stretch your green thumbs and branch out with these happy pieces for sprucing up indoor and outdoor spaces BY ANDY MYER

Decorative metal artichoke, Dunn & Sonnier,; 1940s iron Salterini chair with green and white striped seat (set of four), Merchant House,; straw sun hat and faux boxwood bush, The Plant Gallery,; vintage glazed Chinese garden stool, terra cotta anduze pot and boxwood ball, Graci Interiors,; ornamental ceramic bird, Harold’s,; Henri metal watering can with brass finish (in small and large), Fait Nola,

Painterly botanical decoupage plates and trays in assorted prints and shapes, Dunn & Sonnier, dunnandsonnier. com; vintage African woven mat in striking green, pink, purple and natural colorway, Merchant House,




Ceramic faux bois pots (offered in a range of sizes), sculptural staghorn plant and grey texturized planter (far right), Harold’s, haroldsplants. com; ceramic Medusa planter handcrafted in Mexico and air-purifying lipstick plant, Fait Nola,; vintage African woven mat and market basket, Merchant House,; machine washable gardening gloves (available in multiple styles) and Two’s Company cane and wooden bead lanterns, The Plant Gallery,; linen napkins and round placemats (in an assortment of colorful mix-andmatch patterns), Hazelnut,

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n Uptown couple who met in Washington, D.C., and got married in 2012, recently completed the home renovation of their dreams with the help of architect William Sonner (of William Sonner Designs) and Chris Kornman, partner at Entablature (a local general contracting company). The 4,717-square-foot home is on Prytania Street between Valmont and Dufossat streets, and it features five bedrooms and five and one-half baths for the couple’s growing family (they have three children under the age of 5). “We love that we live in a very walkable and kid-friendly neighborhood,” the homeowner says. “We can walk to the Prytania Theatre, Gracious Bakery, St. James Cheese Company, The Wine Seller, The Creole Creamery and CVS Pharmacy. It’s very convenient with small children.” The original home had three bedrooms and two and one-half baths. However, the couple loves to entertain and needed more space. “We Facing page: The living room features soft touches like gray linen curtains and Dara by Manuel Canovas sofa pillows — all made by Renée LeJeune Designs — accented by a burnished brass Dumaine chandelier by Julie Neil. The room is painted a light gray using Fine Paints of Europe to make this space a little more formal than the rest of the house.

looked on the market for almost one year and could not find anything that suited our needs completely,” the homeowner says. “We were fortunate enough to have a double lot and the room to expand. We wanted our house to feel fun and full of happiness with lots of light. We have a large family, and we love to entertain — but not in a formal way. On any given Sunday, we have 10 young cousins running around. It was important to us to have an outdoor entertaining area and a large family room.” The family moved out of their existing home in October 2019 for the demolition and reconstruction to begin. They moved back in late September 2020, into a home with nearly double the square footage. “The existing living area was 2,726 square feet,” Kornman says. “We gutted the entire house. We salvaged and reinstalled most of the original elements, such as interior doors, transoms, stair railings and windows. We added on 1,991 square feet of living area, as well as a large front porch and large covered back porch with an outdoor kitchen.” The homeowners worked with Sonner to design an addition that would appear original and seamless, and Kornman brought that design to life. “Our goal is that when you drive down the street, you can’t pick out our projects and identify the addition,” Kornman says. “We want them to blend in and seem like they were always there.” Kornman also worked closely with interior designer Renée LeJeune

Laborde of Renée LeJeune Designs to develop the interior elevations and details, from trim and cabinets to the wood floor finish color and tile details. “We collaborated to flush out concepts for built-ins and other custom elements, like the custom hood,” Kornman says. “We then took those ideas and created shop drawings. We really enjoyed how involved the owners were, which led to many brainstorming sessions.” The homeowners had a clear vision for their home, and that vision helped direct the entire renovation process. “The materials and finishes we selected are a true reflection of the owners’ well developed sense

of style that is balanced with their grounded personalities,” Kornman says. “Pops of formality are defined with Fine Paints of Europe finishes and refurbished plaster medallions, coupled with the casual feel of bleached wood floors. Similarly, the kitchen is highlighted by a custom hood with brass straps and beautiful Calacatta Gold marble countertops [designed by LeJeune Laborde]. Even with these splashy elements, the kitchen feels approachable because the trim details are traditional and not overly busy.” When it came to the interior design, the homeowners wanted a lot

Left: The family room has a a neutral background thanks to the Mitchell Gold sofas and Bean coffee table, both from Villa Vici. Punches of pink show up in the Mitchell Gold chairs covered in Tiana fabric by Manuel Canovas and the vintage Murano lamp from Swank Lighting. Top, right: Art by Julie Silvers and pillows covered in a Windy O’Connor fabric, Lone Star, made by Renée LeJeune Designs, help to punch up the family room. Bottom, right: Separated from the living room by pocket doors, the dining room features Oly chairs from Villa Vici. The background of the bar was painted by E.L. Mead to recreate the look of wallpaper.

Facing page, Top, left: The homeowners adore having lots of light, thanks to the home’s tall ceilings and plentiful windows. Top, right: The master bath shines with a radiant Thassos Carrera Mosaic tile from Stafford Tile & Stone and Master, softened with towels from Weezie Towels. Bottom, left: A lone Halo chandelier by Barbara Barry from Jade makes a statement covered in Opio fabric by Manuel Canovas, made by Renée LeJeune Designs. Bottom, right: The mudroom has a bench covered in pretty Azteque fabric by Christopher Farr Cloth. This page: The kitchen shines bright with gray-veined Calacatta marble from Triton Stone, matching Calacatta tile from Stafford Tile for the backsplash, stainless steel appliances by Thermador and Caddo lanterns by Julie Neill. The hood over the range, by Renée LeJeune Designs, is accented in brushed gold brass.

of white with bright pops of color coming from art, pillows and other accents. “They wanted a home that they could live in and not have any space or furniture off-limits to the children,” LeJeune Laborde says. “They wanted comfort without giving up high style.” In order to achieve this look, LeJeune Laborde picked out all the colors, materials, fixtures, lighting fixtures, floor colors, furniture and fabrics. She even tweaked the architectural plans and designed all of the closets and the pantry, which now includes a desk. She also sewed all the draperies and made all of the pillows herself. “This was a huge endeavor for her, and we spent countless hours

analyzing the fabric we wanted to choose,” the homeowner says. “We wanted a tone-on-tone look in the lacquered sitting room, and it was a challenge to find a linen fabric that matched the walls exactly. We also used custom fabric for the pink chairs in the family room. These are my absolute favorite pieces we had custom-made. We also had the cushion for the mudroom custom-made with a bright, happy, yellow-patterned fabric, and I just love the way it turned out and the functionality of that space. I loved being involved in the design of the house. It’s pretty special to be able to list out your wants for your home and have those come to life.”

Facing page: Top, left: This powder room features an antique Trumeau mirror, Melange Sconces by Kelly Wearstler, linens from Sophisticated Thread and a window shade in Ventaglio Crocus fabric by Designers Guild made by Renée LeJeune Designs. Bottom, left: The master closet is a dream come true with a mirror from West Elm, Aerin Cristol Double Sconces from Circa Lighting, a chandelier from The Blueprint Store in Dallas and a Ghose Chair by Phillipe Stark. Right: A simple and lovely space, this bedroom features linens from Leontine Linens, white linen curtains by Renée LeJeune Designs, The Jacqui end tables by Bungalow 5 and lamps from Scout Design. This page: The homeowners used furniture they already owned for the outdoor area, with new Monte Carlo by Maverick fans to help cool the space.

SUNNY +BRIGHT Jessica Rambo and Ibert Schultz’s 19thcentury Greek Revival house is a showplace of modernist design and New Orleansinspired exuberance By Lee Cutrone Photography by Sara Essex Bradley

Right: A sitting room just off the kitchen is brightened with mint, yellow and coral-hued art and wall décor. Facing page: The living room’s canary yellow drapery were acquired with the house and worked into the new décor, which features Caribbean colors. Painting at left, by James Michalopoulos.

W hen husband and wife Ibert Schultz and Jessica Rambo chose Maureen Stevens of Maureen Stevens Design to decorate the interior of the Lower Garden District house they purchased in 2019, they quickly found that they shared a common vision — or as Rambo puts it, they “shared a brain.” “We both wanted to celebrate New Orleans,” says Stevens, who routinely provides a detailed questionnaire to her clients to determine their tastes and goals. “They didn’t want to go southern traditional. They wanted a more West Coast feel and at the same time to celebrate New Orleans in a modern way.” The previous owner, a contractor, had renovated the house for his family, respecting its original Greek Revival architecture — high ceilings, solid wood doors with transoms, floor-to-ceiling windows and elegant mantels, while updating the historic bones with modern amenities and contemporary touches such as a herringbone tile floor and statement lighting. The kitchen and baths were state-of-theart and the house was move-in ready. Schultz, an attorney, and Rambo, a writer for TV and movies, frequently visited New Orleans and wanted to relocate here, so when they found the listing through a close friend who lives around the corner, they jumped on the opportunity. Three bedrooms and ample living spaces; restaurants, coffee houses, shopping and a park within walking distance; and a sophisticated remodel that suited the couple’s mutual love of design made the house a good fit for the young family, which includes a 2-year-old son and a second child on the way.

Top: Jessica Rambo, left, and Ibert Schultz, right, at home. Bottom: Tropical wallpaper highlights a marble top bar cart and decagon mirror near the kitchen. Facing page: White upper cabinets are contrasted with navy lower cabinets in the kitchen.

Facing page: Classic pink-upholstered chairs that belonged to the last owners, were paired with new modernist chairs with a geometric pattern. Top, left: A wall mural and bench turn empty square footage into transitional space on the second floor. Top, right: A geometric optical art mural adds interest to the wall in the guest room. The leather headboard is suspended from leather straps. Right: A pair of neutral daybeds in the office provide extra places for visiting guests to sleep. Stevens added impact to the bookshelves with a display of acrylic boxes that she spray-painted.

The couple did some minor renovation in the downstairs bath, then turned their attention to the interior design. With the exception of a few pieces bought from the last owners, Schultz and Rambo were starting with a blank slate that allowed Stevens plenty of leeway. Though they typically prefer subtle, neutral colors (their Brooklyn brownstone featured creams and browns, their L.A. house mostly neutrals and whites), they embraced Stevens’ suggestion to go with vibrant Caribbean colors that speak to the city’s history and lively culture and with related elements such as caning and tropical motifs. “Maureen put together a thoughtful design that encompasses a bigger story we were trying to tell,” says Schultz. “The front door was pink, so we thought why not just lean into that,” adds Rambo, who nonetheless describes the departure as a walk on the wild side. Using design boards, Stevens put together a palette with a range of greens, salmons, yellows and blues. Drapery, upholstery, rugs, tables, pillows and cabinetry were fair game — as were murals, wallpaper and art, all set against a soothing backdrop of white and mixed with clean modern furnishings and surprises that invite observation. A wall in the foyer is home to a window-like composition featuring pink arches, the kitchen fireplace to a wavy abstraction of coral and green.

To make the most of the budget, Stevens recycled, as is, the canary yellow drapery, salmon colored dining chairs, bookshelves and red chaise longues, all acquired in excellent condition with the house. She saved on art by sourcing New Orleans themed works online and used DIY framing rather than high end custom framework. A clever stylist who once worked on magazine projects, she even added impact to the office bookshelves by spray painting and displaying stacked arrangements of inexpensive acrylic boxes. Other customized features in the house include leather-upholstered headboards suspended from the wall, and handpicked light fixtures, including the foyer’s beaded chandelier, which the couple found in Los Angeles. “I love light and the effect it can have on your mood,” says Schultz. A year after most of the design was installed, Schultz and Rambo agree that the light-filled, happy environment has been family, guest and COVID friendly. “When friends visit us, they’re always surprised by the colors,” says Schultz. “It feels like they’re on vacation.” “It’s been a godsend in the pandemic,” adds Rambo. “It feels sunny and bright.”

Top, left: A pair of chaise longues purchased with the house were used in the master bedroom as a place for lounging or watching TV. Top, right: Black penny round tiles at the back of the shower form a focal point in the master bath. Facing page: Caning, wicker and tropical leaves carry the Caribbean vibe through to one of several guest rooms.

Kitchen Dream

Contractor: MONTES Construction Services Designer: Valerie Legras Atelier Cabinets: Custom-made Artisan Millshop Countertops: Taj Mahal at Palatial Stone & Tile Backsplash: Custom-made Venetian plaster and hand painted wall art. Drawing by Valerie Legras. Created by Ann Marie Auricchio Fixtures: Kohler Lighting: Hand blowed in Italy at Artemide Doorknobs: Emtek Furniture: Bar stools from Sossego (Brazil) Appliances: Wolf at Ferguson Showroom Accessories: West Elm Nola

Contractor: Precision Builders of LA., Jason Maenza Designer: Flynn Designs Cabinets: Frameless slab door in textured wood grain, Bridgewood Era Custom Cabinetry at Legend Interiors, Inc. Flooring: Concrete floors at Scornstain, LLC. Countertops: Quartz at Jim Owens Backsplash: Marble hexagon with gold inlay at Jim Owens Fixtures: Southland Plumbing Lighting: Southland Plumbing Doorknobs: Emtek Appliances: Thermador & Frigidaire JEFFREY JOHNSTON PHOTO

Contractor: Devillier Construction Designer: Wes Ulmo Interior Design Cabinets: Schrock Asbury Dover in the kitchen with Schrock Asbury custom color island at Campbell Cabinets Cabinet Installation: Sandy Adams Carpentry Flooring Backsplash: Acadian Flooring Countertops: Cambria quartz at Crescent City Countertops Fixtures: Delta Island Lighting: Uttermost Doorknobs: Emtek Furniture: Century Furniture Millwork: Jefferson Door Co. Glass: All Pro Glass Painting: Hi Tech Painting Sheetrock: Char Da Inc. Appliances: Thermador JEFFREY JOHNSTON PHOTO

Contractor: Morse Homes Designer: Penny Francis-Eclectic Home Cabinets: Painted maple at Campbell Cabinets Flooring: 7-inch European Oak at ProSource Countertops: Caesarstone quartz Backsplash: Mosaic Marble at Eclectic Home Fixtures: Southland Plumbing Lighting: Eclectic Home Doorknobs: Emtek Furniture: Eclectic Home Appliances: Thermador from Campo Better Living SARA ESSEX BRADLEY PHOTO

Contractor: MLM Construction LLC (MLM Inc.) Designer: MLM Construction LLC (MLM Inc.) Cabinets: White shaker cabinets at DL CABINETRY Flooring: Pine wood 5” planks, refinished in pickled finish Countertops: Leathered Black Pearl Granite Backsplash: White thassos marble at Floor & Décor Fixtures: Homdiy pulls Lighting: Kentwood vintage, Abbott single light at Corrigan Studio Appliances: Sharp, Whirlpool, Krause Other vendors: North Lion Stone, Classic Hardwood Floors JEFFREY JOHNSTON PHOTO

Contractor: MNK Design Build/Matthew Kohnke Designer: Kelly Sutton Design Cabinets: Custom built by contractor Flooring: Solid hardwoods to match the original flooring in the rest of the house Countertops: Quartzite island from Tuscan Stone New Orleans, Vicostone quartz and wall cabinetry from Triton Stone New Orleans Backsplash: Marble subway tile from Floor & Décor Fixtures: Rohl from Ferguson New Orleans Showroom Lighting: Aidan Gray lanterns above island Furniture: Gabby Home counter stools; reclaimed antique wood doors for the pantry from The Bank Architectural Antiques New Orleans; Blue & White Vintage tea kettles and pitchers in upper glass cabinets from Dop Antiques New Orleans Appliances: Sub-Zero and Wolf from Ferguson New Orleans Showroom – most of the appliances have custom cabinet panel. JEFFREY JOHNSTON PHOTO



Classic Cupboards

Doorman Designs

5809 River Oaks South, Harahan, 504/734-9088,


M L M Incorporated

Demoran Custom Homes

1400 Distributors Row, Elmwood, 504/322-7050, 985/231-0233,

504/810-5346, 985/788-7857,

Nordic Kitchen and Baths Inc.

Tuscan Stone Imports

1818 Veterans Blvd., Metairie, 504/888-2300,

720 S Galvez St., New Orleans, 504/837-1511,

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Stafford Tile & Stone 5234 Magazine St., 504/895-5000,

Kelly Sutton Design LLC 3800 Dryades St., New Orleans, 10/975-4088,

LAS Enterprises

Eclectic Home

2413 L & A Road, Metairie, 504/887-1515, 800/264-1527

8211 Oak St., New Orleans, 504/866-6654,

Campbell Cabinet Co. 220 Hord St., Harahan, 504/733-4687; 4040 Highway 59, Mandeville, 985/892-7713,

 10356 River Road, St. Rose, 504/275-6617,





Entablature, LLC

Legend Interiors

Mattix Cabinet Works

Design-Build General Contractor

Kitchen & Bath • Design & Remodeling 432 N. Anthony St., Suite 301, New Orleans, 504/324.8080,

415 N. Solomon St., New Orleans, 504/486-7218,

Abigail Reller Art

Renaissance Doors LLC


1000 Edwards Ave Suite B, Harahan, 504/344-6994,

Ruffino Custom Closets 111 Campbell Blvd., Mandeville, 504/252-9884 985/809-7623,

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sho p

Louisiana Custom Closets 13405 Seymour Meyer, Suite 24, Covington, 985/871-0810,

Exterior Designs, Inc. Beverly Katz, APLD, Landscape Designer 504/866-0276,

Palatial Stone & Tile 1526 Religious St., New Orleans, 504/576-9000; 2052 Paxton St., Harvey, 504/340-2229,




sometimes chew paint chips. Also, if you’re sanding your siding, it can cause lead particles to enter the air. Therefore, scraping is better than sanding. But even then, if you’re doing it yourself, wear protective equipment (or better yet, hire a professional to deal with it). Yates added that if exterior work is being done on your house, make sure a tarp is on the house to contain the dust. Why would lead particles be an issue in this scenario? If it gets in the soil, it could contaminate anything grown in the yard. You can also used raised beds for your plants to protect against any possible issues with the soil. Yates said raised beds became popular in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina when homeowners became worried about soil contamination due to the flooding. M O LD

PLAY IT SAFE Include limiting or eliminating toxic subtances in your home maintenance plan


safe is not limited to locking the doors and installing a home security system. There are a number of toxic substances like mold, asbestos, and lead that can pose health risks if they’re not mitigated. Fortunately, there are measures homeowners can employ to make their houses safer. L EA D

Amelia Yates, revival grants manager

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for the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans, said mold, lead and asbestos are the biggest issues for local homeowners. She said lead is extremely common, especially in houses that have not been maintained. If you’re buying a fixer-upper, this is something to keep a close eye on. “If it’s sealed and hidden under paint, it’s not a problem,” Yates said. What are warning signs you can look out for? Peeling paint is a giveaway. Young children and pets can

The next big toxin New Orleanians should worry about is mold. “Mold is present everywhere in New Orleans,” Yates said. “Anywhere where moisture is present can be home to mold.” The best way to protect against mold is proper sealing to keep water from coming into the walls. Unfortunately, Yates said many old homes are leaky and there’s only so much that can be done to seal them. She said some homeowners over-compensate and seal it too tightly, then crank their A/C constantly during the summer. But the hot, moist air can still come under the house, and when it meets indoor surfaces cooled by the A/C, it can lead to condensation and then mold. “Sometimes it’s best to let these old houses breathe and have a higher utility bill,” Yates said.

Lastly, Yates said the presence of mold can also indicate other problems. “Where there’s mold, there’s also possible rot which can cause structural damage,” Yates said. ASBESTO S

Asbestos is seen mainly in roofs, siding, and in attics under furnaces in homes built before the 1980s. It is an extremely durable material that was formerly used as a heat shield before people learned exposure to it can cause cancer. The mere presence of asbestos in your home is not necessarily cause for worry, but you should be aware of its presence because its potential harmfulness depends on the location. “If it’s somewhere where you’ll be active, you either need to remove it or encapsulate it,” Yates said. Yates added that if asbestos is buried in a corner of your attic that you never go near, then it’s probably OK to leave it. If you do come across asbestos in your home, do not touch it. While asbestos is durable, if it starts to break apart, then it can become a problem because the particles will float into the air for people to inhale. If there are cracks or signs of deterioration in the material, call a professional. Asbestos removal is not for amateurs. The good news, according to, is it generally takes a lot of exposure to cause health issues. Most people who develop asbestos-related diseases were exposed to asbestos at work for years. But it’s still important to exercise caution in your home regarding any material that might contain asbestos. – BY FRITZ ESKER


Soothing Hues Illuminating and Ultimate Gray, the Pantone Colors of the Year, provide calming, yet colorful, inspiration

New work from Robin Crutcher, acrylic on canvas from Katie Koch Home


Amazilia by Harlequin wallpaper designed with etched trailing flowers with vivid amazilia hummingbirds from Spruce,

Ginkgo bowl cased in metal chinoiserie design from Eclectic Home,

Clark table lamp by Lambert et Fils in brass, Dromedary sofa loveseat with reverse camel-back hump in olive velluto and maple wood finish both from Sunday Shop

Wing chest in sandblasted oak veneer with cast resin angel wing design wrapped in aluminum from Eclectic Home,

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Knives Out Garden knives bring style and substance to backyard plots AS SPRING BEGINS TO BLOOM ACROSS THE CITY, many gardeners may be looking to up their garden game and tool belt. The humble garden knife is the ultimate multi-purpose (and dare we say elegant) tool to add to any potting shed, flower bed or vegetable patch. It can be used to do everything from digging, chopping, weeding, planting and more. We’ve picked the best of the best for everyone from seedling beginners to green thumb garden experts. - BY ASHLEY MCLELLAN





RUGGED ELEGANCE Barebones Living’s No. 6 walnut-handled field knife and sheath feature a super sturdy, high-carbon steel blade, inlaid copper lanyard ring and a waxed canvas sheath. This is a garden knife that means business and is stylish to boot. Clip it to your belt and tackle your toughest garden chore.

PRETTY PRACTICAL Barebones Living’s Hori Hori (Japanese for “dig, dig”) Ultimate Kinfe & Sheath provide similar style and function as the No. 6 model, at a smaller price point. The double-edged, concave knife is serrated on one side and flat on the other to provide flexibility and purpose, is marked on the back with 1-inch measurements, and comes with a polyester canvas sheath for storage. A walnut handle is topped with a flat pommel base for hammering or pounding in garden stakes.

GARDEN GREAT This Hori Hori Garden Knife has long been a staple for garden lovers everywhere. It sports a tip sturdy enough for digging and serrated edges suited for sawing or separating plants. The stainless-steel blade is marked in inches and millimeters for accurate and even planting depth and spacing. This is one tool that takes a licking and keeps on digging.

CUTTING EDGE The Leonard Deluxe stainless-steel soil knife is equipped with a 1-inch marked blade, rounded grip and molded thumb rest, and a built-in twine-cutting notch. This workhorse is built for the toughest jobs, from digging into hard soil to cleaning up sidewalks and pavers.

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ad ver tising direc tor y

Abigail Reller Art 504/491-5675

Home Bank 1600 Veterans Blvd., Metairie 504/834-1190

All Hours Plumbing, LLC 504/909-6749

J&J Exterminating 416 Commerce Point, New Orleans 504/303-4609 540 N Causeway Blvd, Mandeville 985/590-6674

Bevolo Gas and Electric Lights 521 Conti Street, New Orleans 504/522-9485 Campbell Cabinet Co. 220 Hord St., Harahan 504/733-4687 4040 Highway 59, Mandeville 985/892-7713 Classic Cupboards 5809 River Oaks Road South, Harahan 504/734-9088 Demoran Custom Homes 504/810-5346 985/788-7857 Doorman Designs 504/408-1616 Eclectic Home 8211 Oak St., New Orleans 504/866-6654 Entablature, LLC 8438 Oak St. Suite C, New Orleans 504/322-3822 Exterior Designs Beverly Katz, Land. Design New Orleans 504/866-0276 Fiber Seal 504/866-2273 Floor & Decor 2801 Magazine St, Ste A, New Orleans 504/891-3005

Kelly Sutton Designs 3800 Dryades St, New Orleans 504/302-2547 Kim Starr Wise – The Flower Shop 2036 Magazine St., New Orleans 504/390-0563 LAS Enterprises 2413 L & A Road, Metairie 504/887-1515 800/264-1527 Legend Interiors 432 N. Anthony St. Suite 301 504/324-8080 Louisiana Custom Closets 13405 Seymour Meyer Suite 24, Covington 985/871-0810

Ochsner Concierge Health Contact Susan Piglia for more information directly at 1514 Jefferson Hwy, Jefferson 504/459-1763 Palatial Stone and Tile, LLC. 1526 Religious St., New Orleans 504/576-9000 2052 Paxton St., Harvey 504/340-2229 Picardie 504/587-9194 Renaissance Doors 1000 Edwards Ave., Harahan 504/344-6994 Ruffino Custom Closets 110 Campbell Ave., Mandeville 504/252-9884 Stafford Tile & Stone 5234 Magazine St., New Orleans 504/895-5000

M L M Incorporated 1400 Distributors Row, Elmwood 504/322-7050 South Shore 985/231-0233 North Shore

Tuscan Stone Imports 720 S. Galvez St., New Orleans 504/837-1511 7150 Pecue Lane, Baton Rouge 225/753-5870

Mattix Cabinet Works 415 N. Solomon St., New Orleans 504/486-7218

Wren’s Tontine Shade & Design 1533 Prytania St., New Orleans 504/525-7409 •

MULLIN 10356 River Rd., St. Rose 504/275-6617 Nordic Kitchens & Baths Inc. 1818 Veterans Blvd., Metairie 504/888-2300




H. Mathews Interiors

HOME ECONOMICS Freshening décor in an evolving home environment


pre-pandemic, I find myself talking to the TV, trying to warn the homeowners and renters about how their choices won’t make as much sense when spring of 2020 arrives. But there they are, removing walls for open floorplans or forgoing any outdoor space for that small, luxury condo. While these aren’t bad or wrong decisions, in many cases, people are finding them less ideal here in 2021. Whether we like it or not, the pandemic has changed how we view, use and enjoy our homes. While it’s too early to tell which changes will be long-lasting, home design experts acknowledge that the changes force homeowners to rethink their spaces and the items they choose to include in them. The biggest shift in home design is a toward functional spaces, creating home offices, school and homework areas, multi-functional flex spaces and exterior respites for relaxation. This naturally affects décor, the items in and around the home that we generally look to freshen in spring. For local experts, the focus for décor right now is on generating pleasure and maximizing functionality. “If there is something that you don’t like in your home now — after staring at it during a pandemic or quarantine, you will hate it afterwards,” says Blake Erskin, licensed interior designer and partner at Shotgun Design Group. “This can really affect your mood, so it’s a good idea to make

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sure you find items or décor that speak to you.” Designer Hailey Mathews of H. Mathews Interiors concurs. “Your house should bring you joy and peace, not stress,” she says. “I fully believe that a person’s home should be the place where they feel most comfortable and relaxed.” A home’s décor has the power to elevate moods — from the room colors, to the rugs and furniture, as well as the art that adorns the walls or shelves. After a chaotic year, now is perhaps the perfect time to create your own happy place, your own sacred sanctuary. Mathews suggests using the money saved from fewer vacations, parties and social gatherings as an investment in that space. “This year, I really want to focus on collecting art from local artists, not only to freshen my space but to support local businesses that are suffering during the pandemic,” she says. According to local artist Abigail Reller, people take in their surroundings all the time, even subconsciously, so it’s important to fill your space with images, icons and symbols that bring joy. Through her project, The Grey Collaborative, Reller offers families a unique way to create collaborative high-end paintings for the home while capturing a stage of life. “Maybe you are bringing your baby to crawl around on a canvas full of paint or maybe you are dragging your college-age kids to the studio during break, but either way, you are left with a timeless piece of art that

is worth making a part of your home,” she says. Certainly, painted canvases are one solution to freshening your décor — another option, and an easy, low-budget one at that, is painting your walls. According to Blake Erskin, color impacts moods and is trending again. “For the last few years, the biggest trend was a soft white,” he says. “You can make a space so much more dynamic and interesting by adding color.” To freshen up his own décor, Erskin is repainting his bedroom this year while changing out items that are worn or that he’s tired of seeing. Another way to bring color and warmth to a room is to add indoor plants, according to Penny Francis, principal designer of Eclectic Home. Francis also recommends changing cabinet hardware and rearranging art and furnishings as inexpensive options for changing the look and feel of a space. In rearranging furnishings, you can also rethink your space. “The open floor plan, which was so coveted by young families, now presents challenges when you have both work and schooling done in the same room,” says Francis. “There is no privacy, and we see requests to convert dining rooms to offices, stair landings becoming classrooms, and the removal of the guest room and converting to a home gym.” Francis created a studio for her daughter on the family’s second-floor landing space. “It’s a great space for her to spread out and be creative when she’s home from college studying architecture virtually,” says Francis. At Legend Interiors, interior designer Nicole Ruppel Jones is also seeing functionality playing a larger role in home design and décor choices. “Homes have had to shift gears to be ever-evolving, constantly changing with new work conditions, school schedules and taking in additional family members, including new pets,” she says. While kitchen and bath

design remains a priority, in-home wet bars and home offices are trending. According to Jones, exterior spaces have taken on the role of breakroom, where you can escape the hustle and bustle of busy new home life. “It has been nice to see people enjoying every inch of their homes again,” she says. “Utilize your garden — cut fresh flowers and herbs to tap into all your senses.” Another aspect of décor, furniture, is also finding itself at the intersection of form and function and plays its own role in pandemic-era home satisfaction. “We’re realizing that furniture is not only stylistically important but also practical to our everyday lives,” says Alex Geriner, owner and creative director of Doorman, a handmade, boutique line of furniture designed and built in New Orleans. “Our dining tables are no longer just a place to eat but also a virtual learning classroom and the home office all at once,” he says. “If the furniture in your home is not meeting all those needs, it’s going to make life pretty hard on a daily basis.” In recognizing the current functional needs of homeowners, Doorman is developing a collection of indoor and outdoor chairs as well as day beds, bar stools, home office designs and bedroom furniture. “We’re seeing a shift back to classic, refined, and traditional decor, but with a more contemporary twist,” says Geriner. “Our clients are asking for that ‘heirloom’ quality piece that will be with them for years to come, but they want it to feel fresh and modern with a nod to the past.” No matter how big or small a step you take towards a more joyful, functional home, these experts say it’ll give your home — and your mind — a healthy spring boost. - BY KELCY WILBURN




Botanical illumination wax tart bar melter, warmer

LIGHT BRIGHT A luxe candle or warmer sets the ambiance of a room


arrangement, mixed textures and multiple light sources, it’s always a great idea to make sure your space smells just as wonderful as it looks. Locally, be sure to check out Wicks Nola — a Black and female-owned line of luxury candles and home fragrances (including wax melts and room sprays) inspired by all things New Orleans. The all-natural and vegan candles are clean-burning and contain no parabens or additives. The best

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part though, is the assortment of more than 65 scents in fun names like French Quarter Beignet, Pumps and Potholes, Strawberry Festin’ and Voodoo Spell. The company started in June 2018, and the products are now available in 14 retail stores throughout the Greater New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas, plus in Michigan, Minnesota and Washington, D.C. A new brick-and-mortar store opened in December in Kenner’s Rivertown historic district. — MISTY MILIOTO