Text by Lauren Eberle
This New Orleans cottage celebrates year-round with soft shades of blush that are the homeowner’s signature colors.
There’s no doubt Joanie Hartson knows what she likes. In fact, when “Mama Joanie” purchased her late-1800s New Orleans cottage in 2011, there was no question what her first order of business would be: painting it pink! “I went through a blue phase in high school, but I switched to pink and never went back,” the New Orleans native explains. “I love that it’s soft, it’s feminine, and it’s most certainly ‘me.’”
Joanie, an extraordinary hostess who lived many years in a large home on St. Charles Avenue, was deciding how to downsize when she stumbled across her “little bitty” home. “I loved that it reminded me of my in-laws’ cottage and adored the high ceilings, but what really sold me was the fact that my beautiful breakfront fit in the front dining room,” Joanie recalls of a large antique piece she and her husband purchased when they first married. “I measured, and it was perfect. I just knew this house was it.”
Just as vital, the home had space enough for another special piece. “Everything revolves around the kitchen’s phone booth,” Joanie says of the conversation piece she and her husband bought at an auction in the late 1960s. “It’s now in its third house, and it’s always the first thing we place.”
Next, Joanie set about making it even more personal. Inside and outside got a blushing coat of paint—the same rosy shade as the house she’d moved from—while custom kitchen cabinetry came in a complementary pink, too. The kitchen received a complete overhaul, adding 5 feet to the back to accommodate a cozy sitting area and laundry room.
Another creative use of space is the small structure behind the home. Previously an office for the former owner, this lovely garden-side shed now works as Joanie’s “attic” for extra storage. “When you downsize from a large home, you sometimes have to think outside the box to come up with storage solutions. This ‘attic’—also painted pink—ensures I never have to climb!”
Elsewhere in the home, Joanie plays up her high ceilings with dramatic chandelier lighting, custom window treatments, and soaring four-poster beds. “The pair of twin beds are close to 100 years old,” she says, “and I just love them dearly.”
Joanie’s home is filled with family antiques, mostly from her parents and in-laws. “Decorating with these treasures makes a house feel like a home,” she explains. “And then when you move, everything gets new life.”
And although she admits color preference depends entirely on a homeowner’s personality, Joanie couldn’t imagine choosing anything else. “As long as I can, I want to live in a pink place,” she says. “It’s just so ‘me,’ it’s a kick!”
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