All it took was one weekend for Emily to fall in love. It happened during a girls’ getaway to New Orleans with her best friend last January. When she returned to her home in rural upstate New York, she handed a New Orleans real estate magazine to her husband and said, “Andrew, it is incredible. It is an old-house-lover’s paradise. We have to live there someday!” From there, the story unfolded like a whirlwind romance. About a month later, Emily saw a posting for a job at Tulane that had her name written all over it. Fast forward to September, and the couple was moving into their new home in the Crescent City. “It feels like a wild stroke of good fortune that I actually did (get the job),” she explains, “though, of course, the irony is that we bought a new house in this old-house-lover’s paradise.”
The rush to get settled before the start of the school year and lack of real estate options that fit their budget and needs led the couple to buy a newly constructed home. One of the first steps to making the generic structure their own was to add color to the boring beige walls. Their extensive collection of modern and folk art pops against paint colors like yellow, purple and turquoise. Bold rugs, floor-to-ceiling drapes and lots of fun textiles — including quilts handmade by Emily — make the house feel lively and joyful, giving it the unique character they felt it was lacking.
After living in a Gothic Victorian for eight years, moving into a house with an open floor plan was a big adjustment. Although they quickly came to appreciate the amazing light that pours into their new home all day long, the lack of walls in the kitchen and living rooms posed a design challenge. Emily and Andrew turned to interior designer Valorie Hart to help them with this hurdle. Under the guidance of Hart’s expert eye, they were able to carve out defined spaces that add intimacy and warmth without impeding the flow of the wide open space. The couple also credit Hart with teaching them how to take their decorating that last critical mile by adding pillows and throws and helping them organize their built-in bookcase with style.
Foregoing an old fixer-upper for a brand new home has afforded Emily and Andrew the time to immerse themselves in the culture of the city. The couple didn’t waste any time making friends and joining in the revelry of Carnival this year. After a neighbor learned of Emily's beading skills, she recruited her to join the all-ladies Mardi Gras marching krewe Dames de Perlage. In honor of the New Orleans tradition of perlage — French for beadwork — the women march in parades wearing corsets and headdresses handcrafted annually to coincide with a theme. Emily’s gold-beaded costume, an homage to the famous restaurant Brennan’s, which is now closed, is proudly displayed on a dress form in their eat-in kitchen. With all the exciting cultural possibilities the Crescent City has to offer, who knows what future creations will appear in this fun-loving couple's colorful new home.
You can see the full tour and read more about Emily & Andrew's style on Apartment Therapy.
Photos and text by Jacqueline Marque