Text by Katie Ellis
For New Orleans, Louisiana, interior decorator Donna Maselli, a home is an organic living thing. “A house truly speaks to me when I enter it; it tells me what it wants to be,” she says. “A home should always reflect its inhabitants but should not be overly decorated or stuffed with too many sentimental objects.” For Donna and her husband, Joe, that reflection is found in a 1900s Greek Revival home layered in creamy neutrals, serene spaces, and a generous dose of natural light. Though they dwell in a city known for over-the-top parties, parades, and all-around good times, they’ve created a quiet sanctuary within their home.
Like many traditional Southern cottages, the Maselli home has a welcoming front porch flanked with white columns, where the family can enjoy shady park views from their porch swing. Entering their home, you’ll instantly feel surrounded by gentle comfort as Donna has artfully layered white tones and textures. By creating a neutral base, she’s allowed her artwork and architectural elements, like the living room’s built-in bookshelves, to take center stage as focal points. Donna’s traditional minimalist style is showcased throughout the home. And while most of the furnishings are antiques, she and her husband are avid art collectors, so they always keep their eyes peeled for something new.
“It should be peaceful and restrained,” Donna says of good design. “It should be quiet, comfortable, and elegant.” Donna follows her own advice masterfully throughout the Crescent City cottage. The dining room is chic and understated with the combination of a grand chandelier and more simple white furnishings. This blending of styles creates a feeling of livable rooms rather than formal, rarely used spaces. Just off the dining room awaits a cheerful white kitchen. The mix of stainless steel, white marble, and wood floors creates a space that feels fresh, interesting, and effortlessly inviting. The built-in banquette serves as a quaint breakfast nook while the metal barstools offer extra seating around the island.
The serenity of the Maselli home is perhaps best showcased in the bedrooms. The master opens with double doors off the dining room to a calm, white retreat. Donna designed a black iron canopy bed to bring a refreshing contrast and highlight the room’s crisp, creamy tones. Daughter Laura’s room is dressed in white as well, with a wall-mounted half canopy that serves as the room’s focal point.
In this serene white cottage, Donna proves that editing is key in creating a home that feels well-kept and curated—allowing each accent to feel special, showcased, and treasured. From the charming front porch to the poolside patio, Donna finds ways to decorate with white and still create a feeling of warmth and welcome. And in a city like New Orleans, it’s a refreshing sight to behold.