Wednesday, March 28, 2012

2012 PRC Shotgun House Tour

This Saturday March 31, is the annual Shotgun House Tour presented by the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans. This year it is in Bayou St. John, one of the prettiest waterfront neighborhoods in New Orleans.

Here's a sneak peak at some of the homes on the tour (all photos courtesy of the PRC).

It's all about the porches on the PRC Shotgun House Tour - don't you want to come inside?

It takes a special person to choose to own, restore, and live in an old Shotgun house. The floor plan is challenging for a modern lifestyle, and it is so interesting to see how people deal with it. Shotgun home owners are dedicated and unique, and not afraid of a challenge. The solutions they come up with from cutting edge eco choices, to colorful decor and furnishings, to loving restoration, always makes this tour the best of the many house tours offered in New Orleans.

Shotgun house owners often have a sense of fun and always love color - You have to see this house on the PRC tour!

It's always fun to be a looky-lou in the homes of the rich and famous, but the Shotgun House Tour takes you behind closed doors of regular people like you and me who are house proud on a level that we can realistically aspire to.

So New Orleans! I can tell you that this house does not disappoint when you see it inside

So get your tickets now. The  money helps keep the PRC going. Without them we would not have the incredible treasure trove of antique homes being restored and lived in today.

Another darling porch on the PRC 2012 Shotgun House Tour

If you want to see great uses of color and how to deal with a challenging floor plan don't miss the tour

More color and another cute porch to lure you inside

Greek Revival done the Shotgun House way!

As an added bonus, the headquarters for the tour is the Pitot House, the only Creole colonial country house that is open to the public New Orleans. It tells the story of life along the bayou since the earliest days of settlement. The Pitot House has had a variety of owners from prominent lawyers to austere nuns. One of the most prominent was James Pitot, the first mayor of New Orleans after the city's incorporation who lived here from 1810-1819.

The fabulous Pitot House is the headquarters for the PRC Shotgun House Tour

Get your tickets for the PRC 2012 Shotgun House Tour

This is a glorious time of year in New Orleans. All the gardens are blooming and the weather is perfect. So grab your walking shoes and head out to Bayou St. John on Saturday.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Zou Bisou Bisou!

Well. The two hour premiere and return of Mad Men did not disappoint. The slow pace, sidelong glances, sexy and sexist repartee, the sets, the clothes, the booze, the smoking, and catching up with our favorite characters to see what they've been doing for the last two years, well that two hours just floated by.

Don Draper is having his 40th birthday and is remarried to a hot tamale that looks like Jackie O and sings like a French Marilyn.

Joyeux Anniversaire Mr. Draper

Zou Bisou Bisou is the song of the Summer!!!!

Out on vinyl as a single (in your choice of red or black).

Get the single HERE

I provide the lyrics. Maybe Vicki Archer will translate.

I love this kind of non singing singing. It sounds sexy and adorable in French. I also have a great CD called Bossa Tango, with a sexy non singer singing tango lyrics in Spanish. There also one called Bossa Stones, and the same little vacant sexy voice singing the words of Jagger is fabulous too.

So all together now...un, deux, trois, quatre... Zou, bisou, bisou.

Go HERE to see a video of the original Zou Bisou Bosou form 1962

Zou bisou bisou

Zou bisou bisou, mon Dieu qu'ils sont doux

Zou bisou bisou (x3)

Zou bisou bisou, le bruit des bisous

Dans les buissons sous le ciel du mois d'août

Les amoureux glissent à pas de loup

Comme les oiseaux ils ont rendez-vous

On l'entend partout

Zou bisou bisou

Zou bisou bisou,

mon Dieu qu'ils sont doux

Mais dites-moi savez-vous,

ce que veut dire entre nous,

Ce que que veut dire "Zou bisou" ?

Ça veut dire je vous l'avoue

Mais oui je n'aime que vous

Zou bisou bisou

Zou bisou, mon Dieu que c'est doux

Mais pas besoin des buissons du mois d'août

Quand tu m'embrasses doucement dans le cou

Car c'est curieux tu vois je l'avoue

Ça me fait partout zou bisou bisou

Zou bisou bisou des petits bisous !

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Nicole Cohen Interior Designer

Alberto and I met Nicole Cohen a couple of years ago on one of our trips to New York. It was Summer, and her city apartment was pretty much closed up. She was in town for a couple of days and graciously took us to coffee, and then invited us to see her apartment.

I was charmed and disarmed by the talent of Nicole Cohen. She was very sweet and humble, but as she talked about what she did, her excitement and appreciation for interior design lit up her rooms as much as the beautiful decor.

Fast forward, and Nicole has come into her own as a blogger, a design personality, an artist (I have guided a client or two to purchase her work), and an interior designer. All this, and a wife, and mother of two young kids.

Her latest design project is something she calls The Bachelor Apartment. It is spectacular. This guy will not be a bachelor for long when his dates see this apartment! I was particularly struck by a set of orange dining chairs.

Fabulous  interior design by Nicole Cohen

There is a set almost exactly the same that I have been stalking at one of my favorite home furnishing stores in New Orleans, Eclectic Home. Theirs are vintage metal chairs painted orange, and upholstered in zebra print hide. I am dying to use these for a client since I have no room in my house.

I have my eye on these chairs from Eclectic Home for a client

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Get Him To The Greek - I Heart Bronson Pinchot

Bronnie, as he signs off on his blog, was big star in the 1980's and 1990's. All the while he had a secret passion. He was a decorator, a designer, a restoration freak! He started collecting antiques when he was a kid. Except for the TV and movies part, his story reminds me of my dear Michael Pelkey who would build a house around the perfect little round antique window he had stashed away in one of his many warehouses awaiting the perfect moment of use.

Bronson Pinchot loves old things

Bronson Pinchot owns a good part of a small town in Pennsylvania, where he spends most of his free time restoring antique homes, by using pieces of other old homes that have be demolished. He owns the cutest teeny post office, and four other 19th century homes, and one incredible 1840's Greek Revival beauty that is home base.

The town in Pennsylvania that Bronnie is fixing up one house at a time

Greek Revival is a very popular style in the South, from the humble shotgun cottage, to a mansion in any town or city, to the incredible plantation homes that dot the Mississippi River (and other locales in the South), to the style of tombs that prevail in New Orleans.

A wonderful book to own about Greek Revival - get it on Amazon

It is my favorite style of architecture, and my dream house is a Greek Revival center hall house.

So whilst flipping channels one day, I lighted upon The Bronson Pinchot Project on the DIY Network. There was Bronnie and his crew rebuilding, decorating, and restoring these grand white houses, using architectural salvage, vintage lighting and furnishings, and turning things on their ear so to speak.

Don't miss this show on the DIY Network

This is no stale text book restoration. Bronnie reinterprets spaces and makes them fresh and unusual by mixing all the antique elements in just the right way. He has a keen eye for using natural light, and his instincts for proportion are organic and fluid. Plus he's funny and charming and passionate.

Bronson Pinchot knows how to use light

The show was kind of in a pilot rotation on Saturday mornings, but it is taking over a Saturday night prime time slot, so check your local listings.

Bronnie's house - swoon

Terrible screen shot of how Bronson installed a stone cameo of Apollo over an old fireplace - He also added a skylight and a mirror so that the light would hit it just ever so perfectly - Apollo weighs a ton, but Bronson's incredible crew found a way to install it - It is pure genius, and Bronson please post a better picture of this!

A little cupola in the back yard, salvaged and saved and perfect

A view of the cupola from the house

Bronson calls this a library though it doesn't have one bookshelf - He installed old windows all around, restored the  floor, added the stove and brick floor hearth, and simple furnishings - It is a nice room to read in and just think away the hours

This is a kitchen he created in one of the four houses he owns in the town - all the appliances are hidden behind complex cabinetry built from reclaimed old wood

Here's Bronnie all happy in front of a house that needs his TLC on the DIY

In case you were absent on the day this was covered in class, here's a quick primer on Greek Revival

In the meantime, I am dreaming of my Greek Revival house that has white Venetian plaster walls, beautiful old wood floors, fan light windows, in fact lots of windows, handsome columns, quirky lighting fixtures, gauzy curtains, and lots of candlelight. Michael Pelkey and Bronnie are there with Alberto and the crew, and we are having a wonderful time, and laughing until we cry.

The Library - the walls are Venetian plaster

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Don't Miss The Kitchen Tour In New Orleans

Saturday, March 24, The Junior League is holding their annual kitchen tour showcasing kitchens in some of the prettiest private homes in New Orleans. There are eleven houses on the tour this year, and you can read all about it in the current issue of New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles.

One of the highlights of the tour is the kitchen of the writer Julia Reed.

Henry the beagle, in the kitchen of Julia Reed which is on the JLNO 2012 Kitchen Tour - photo by Sara Essex Bradley

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Beyond The Fringe

I am pleased to present Guest Blogger Michiko, a contributor for Houzz, a site we all love for the incredible design resource it has become with the largest collection of interior design and decorating ideas on the Internet. Michiko talks about fringe...

Too long has fringe been the ornamental afterthought of interior design. Often it's tasseled into manageable groups or cut to the safe side of "just enough." When fringe enters the equation it should add more than just a finishing touch. After all, the word itself is synonymous with the edge of acceptable. The time has come to banish the implication of tradition in fringe from your rugs, lamps and throws. I'm calling for a comeback. Here are a few ways to bring fringe into bedrooms, living rooms, closets and beyond.

bedrooms modern bedroom

Drama simply melts from the pendants in this bedroom by San Diego interior design firm Suite 102. It’s a shock of color, but the thin cords are all about the silhouette they cast and don’t overpower the balance of the room. I see this as a simple bedroom DIY project for a rainy afternoon and lackluster lights.

Lakefront Residence traditional closet

Speaking of DIY projects, I wonder how many sleepy ottomans would wake up instantly when dressed in chic, coordinating fringe. Take those strands all the way to floor for proper impact, as shown in this stylish closet by Chicago interior designer Jessica Lagrange. Think of it this way — the same way bangs hide a pimple, this hides beat-up legs and those shoes you always meant to put away.

Loft shots eclectic living room

That ironed-flat fringe look is meant to frame your face, not your area rug. Piled up at each end, fringe draws attention to the rug in this eclectic living room. The ends can be frayed or different lengths and it doesn’t age the piece. In fact, it lends a little attitude.

When decorating with fringe from now on, remember the real meaning of the word and don’t give in to oxymoronic safety. Always turn it up to eleven and be daring in your usage! What pieces could use an accent to make them relevant to the room again? Fringe is a easily manipulated medium from color to length to density, so I’m certain the design can fit any space.

Find more clever ideas from interior designers and more design professionals at Houzz.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Fresh New Pillows From Anne Harwell

We know Anne Harwell as a fellow blogger (Annechovie) and artist who does the ultimate chic and girly prints that she turns into affordable art work and accessories. Her newest addition to her fab collection are these glamour girl pillows featuring her interpretations of the luxury items we girls love.
I especially love the Hermes bag and the Chanel perfume bottle.

So show some blog love for Anne and pick up one of these cute pillows from her Zazzle store today. There are also napkins and placemats, and cell phone cases, and iPad cases, and so much more! The prices are so reasonable and there is a 15% sale going on too!

annechovie pillows
Accent pillows featuring some colorful designs for Spring.
Find them all HERE
These are made of 100% grade A woven cotton, all natural fibers and are made in the USA by sustainably employed single moms. Pillows are machine washable, have a hidden zipper enclosure and include pillow insert.
Every purchase is a contribution to breaking the cycle of poverty for single moms and their children.
The square cushions all measure 20 x 20 inches and the rectangular lumbar cushion's dimensions are 13 x 21 inches. 

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Roberta Roller Rabbit Coming To New Orleans!

Roberta Freymann is a global traveler who speaks five languages, a style diva, interior designer, arbiter of individual style,  a New Yorker, entrepreneur, and mother to Maki (a thirteen year old Scottish Terrier.)

Sounds like my kind of woman!

In 2003, Roberta launched her world with two complementary yet distinct signature collections: Roberta Roller Rabbit and her namesake. Her philosophy of chic global style at accessible prices coupled with her larger than life personality have captured the hearts of women of all ages from around the world.

Guess what girls? She's doing a trunk show this week in New Orleans!

Such cute stuff! Apparel and home decor, she does it all! Here's a little round up to inspire you.

Very pretty Roberts Roller Rabbit for the home

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Guest Blogger: Color Expert Jane Dagmi From Color Chats

An excellent post about color in New Orleans reprinted from Color Chats

Color Chats is an excellent blog about all things color


Is There Such a Thing as Regional Color? Part Two: The Colors of New Orleans

Posted on by
When it comes to decorating The Big Easy, New Orleans has a signature palette that colors its iconic architecture inside and out.  Some call it fearless, others call it faded. Regardless of the intensity, the New Orleans color palette blends a rich and diverse heritage of French, Spanish, African, Caribbean and English influences with nature, the passage of time, and the passionate New Orleanians who live there and fall under its spell.
Benjamin Moore colors: Bleeker Beige HC 80, White Dove OC 17, Ballet White OC-9
interior designer Valorie Hart room
Interior Design by Valorie Hart; photo from New Orleans Homes & Lifestyle 

Perhaps 19th century writer Lafcadio Hearn, who took up residence in “the glimmering Eden” said it best, “While it actually resembles no other city…it recalls vague memories of a hundred cities or towns.” Bryan Batt, actor, designer and author of “Big Easy Style” says New Orleans is “like Venice, another carnival town, where you find glorious hues on the walls of the city.” Antiques dealer and Argentine native Karina Gentinetta feels a kinship between Buenos Aires and her adopted hometown. Michael Bruno, founder of 1st Dibs, says, “Ultimately for me, visiting New Orleans is like a trip back in time to early 19th century France without having to take out my passport.”
“The most popular colors sold in New Orleans are from a collection of historical colors … of these Bleeker Beige is the most popular. It pairs well with White Dove and Ballet White.” – Joey Helm, Helm Paint, interviewed by Valorie Hart for Gambit/Best of New Orleans

Benjamin Moore colors: White, Yarmouth Blue HC 150, Black Forest Green Ext. Rm
New Orleans homes
Photos (left) by Nelson Zayas, (center) courtesy of Kitchen and Residential Design; (right) Melissa Rufty’s home courtesy of House Beautiful

The distinctive architecture of New Orleans comes in many styles including Creole cottage, Shotgun, and Greek Revival. Designer/colorist Louis Aubert who volunteers regularly for the Preservation Center of New Orleans notes, “There are more than two dozen historic neighborhoods in New Orleans and like cousins in a family they share some attributes but remain individuals.” Aubert sees a slight trend toward pale gray/beige homes in Uptown, though high-contrast and Creole color combinations, offset by bright white trim, are still popular in Downtown areas. One common color stands out for Aubert; it is the “classic Old South combo of white walls and trim with a sky blue porch ceiling  (Yarmouth Blue HC 150) and shiny dark green/black shutters (Black Forest Green).”

“New Orleans is a city that loves color, from the most pale … to the most saturated … along with moody sensual colors.” – Valorie Hart, The Visual Vamp
Two palettes seem to dominate New Orleans interiors. One is funky, warm, and bold; the other is elegant, grayed and frayed. The former color scheme has roots in Spain and the Caribbean; the latter calls to mind genteel spaces reminiscent of Paris apartments. Some people mix the vibrant hues with the softer ones; others stick to one aesthetic.
Benjamin Moore colors: Treasure Hunt 285, Blue Lake 2053-40, Firenze AF 225, Light Pistachio 2034-60
Mary Cooper home
Mary Cooper’s Home courtesy of New Orleans Homes & Lifestyle

Mary Cooper is a furniture caner and self-taught colorist who does preservation work along with Aubert at the PRC. She is well-known for her bold palette of earthy brights. Her home, chartreuse on the outside, and just as saturated on the inside, hosts a multitude of deep hues. Painted ceilings feel wonderfully nostalgic to her, and offer an opportunity to really transform a space by wrapping it in color. Some of the popular historical Creole shades that Cooper loves are terracotta, turquoise and ochre. Trim is painted black since dark colors won’t show dirt!
Benjamin Moore colors: Iceberg 2122-50, Silken Pine 2144-50, Misty Air OC44, Super White
interior design by Gerrie Bremermann
Photos: Interior Design by Gerrie Bremermann/image from; table from Karina Gentinetta via 1st Dibs.

“Patina” is what 1st Dibs’ Bruno calls the unique palette of New Orleans. For him, patina is a collection of muted shades of gold and bronze, along with taupe, cream, verdigris, mushroom and dove gray that reflect the history of the city.  It is both time-worn and timeless, almost transcendent. It’s this “patina” that retailer Nelson Zayas perceives as “smoky,” what Destiny Lynch of Ecru Antiques refers to as “washed linen,” what Batt refers to as “the grays of Spanish moss.”

Karyl Pierce Paxton interiors
Interiors by Karyl Pierce Paxton/images from House Beautiful

Designer Karyl Pierce Paxton lived in Mississippi before moving to New Orleans fourteen years ago. In adapting to her new environment, she sold her collection of dark English Regency and Empire furniture and bought French.  She says, “The difference between the two Southern states — though both aesthetically relevant – is night and day.”  For Paxton, New Orleans style is “romantic, unstructured, and understated” and the colors reflect that. This muted palette counterbalances the hot and sultry seasons and can stand strong hits of color without ruining the mood. Paxton’s picks for creating this palette are: Silken Pine-2144-50Misty Air OC44-Wall Color, Super White (trim); Iceberg 2122-50 (For ceiling on porches)
Benjamin Moore colors: Smoke Embers 1466, Savory Cream 2105-70, Brighton Rock Candy 1291, Porcelain 2113-60
Big, Easy Style;  Karina Gentinetta’s 19th-century commode via 1st Dibs; Interior design by Melissa Rufty
Photos: Image from Big, Easy Style;  Karina Gentinetta’s 19th-century commode via 1st Dibs; Interior design by Melissa Rufty/image from House Beautiful.

Speaking of sultry … there is a noticeable presence of blush tones in New Orleans homes. From pink to peach – clean, subdued, grayed, lavender-esque and softly coral – these tones are sensual and naturally glamorous. Walls, colored in fruit and flesh, envelope a room with warm romance. Batt says, “I love the rich colors evoked by the purples and pinks found in a sunset over Lake Pontchartrain.” Flirty? Yes. But certainly not “girls-only,” especially when grayed, diluted, and paired with brown, black, and ecru.

New Orleans tastemakers agree that Katrina changed the palette of their city. Louis Aubert notes a move toward more conservative colors on building exteriors. Karina Gentinetta rebuilt her home and painted it Elmira White. Since her home appeared in the New York Times, Karina has seen a flurry of homes similarly painted. Destiny and Regina Lynch named their shop “Ecru” and feel the warm cream color is peaceful and calm.
Valorie Hart, decorator, style commentator, and blogger, says “Katrina allowed homeowners to refresh and revamp their homes. Many people had to buy entire rooms of new furniture, so New Orleans was thrown into 21st century style.” While the people of New Orleans may be redecorating, they’re not moving. As Louis Aubert says, “I have always lived in an old house in an old neighborhood and can’t imagine living in New Orleans in any other way. I love New Orleans.”

BONUS: The Take-Away
  1. Sky blue porch ceilings are said to deter wasps from nesting there.
  2. Dark trim colors hide dirt and dust.
  3. Flat paint calls less attention to uneven and cracked plaster walls in an old house.
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