An eclectic mix of contemporary art, primitive handicrafts, and an assortment of antique and vintage furniture picked up along the way fittingly reflects these homeowners’ love for travel.
Text by Robert C. Martin
You would think that a home located in a city like New Orleans would already possess so much character that it wouldn’t require much embellishment. And while you’re right, these homeowners have taken things a step further by filling their charming NOLA residence with furniture, accessories, and artwork collected and inspired from places around the world. After 36 years of marriage and traveling, this couple can relive their adventures by merely looking at all the mementoes around them. “Over time, we’ve accumulated everything from Mississippi Shearwater Pottery pirates, lamps from Italy, and regional folk paintings to textiles from the Amazon and hand-decorated wooden hangers from Kenya,” the homeowner says. “As a result, most everything we own has a unique story behind it.”
For example, an imposing and beautifully painted armoire that graces the couple’s den was inspired by a trip to Scandinavia. “While there, my husband and I saw an old Norwegian piece in a museum and immediately fell in love with it,” she remembers. “So, after returning to New Orleans, we gave pictures of it, along with books on Rosemaling folk painting, to (late) master furniture maker Fred Kempf, who faithfully recreated this heirloom for us.”
Because their living room is long and narrow, the homeowners sought to visually expand and balance it by not only arranging the furniture in distinct seating areas but also by using color to tie elements together. “We upholstered an old, comfy yard-sale armchair with a bold, blue-and-white embroidered Zoffany fabric that wonderfully complements our blue couch,” she points out. To spice things up, an orange ottoman on wheels adds just the right counterpoint.
From the outside, their cozy 1890s cottage gives little indication of the spacious rooms and treasures found inside—and that’s exactly what the couple loves most about it, along with its location. “Even though we bought the house almost eight years ago, we’ve actually lived in the same neighborhood for three decades residing in a larger, older home just seven doors down,” she explains. Downsizing not only gave them more manageable living space but also a smaller front and back yard that are just right for growing antique roses.
What’s more, since a previous owner had already renovated the home, it was practically move-in ready. All that faced this husband and wife was finding the best spots to show off their assortment of fabulous finds, as well as selecting new paint colors, kitchen counters, curtains, and awnings. “All in all,” this happy homeowner concludes, “it’s a perfect fit for us!”