When a young family moves into a history-steeped New Orleans home, they turn to designer Rivers Spencer to create a fresher, more livable version of traditional Southern elegance. The results are as glam as they are laid-back, befitting life in today’s Big Easy.
Minimalist pendants from Visual Comfort keep the all-white kitchen looking airy and open. Set atop slabs of acrylic, the custom sinker-cypress table appears to float. Lucite counter stools from Gabby continue the ethereal theme. Cabinets and countertops, Singer Kitchens. Thermador microwave, range, and vent hood.
Lacquered in a custom color from Fine Paints of Europe, the dining room “hovers between green, gray, and blue and changes throughout the day,” Spencer says. Straight-backed chairs from Hickory Chair in a Nancy Corzine diamond-cut velvet are paired with the Suzanne Kasler for Hickory Chair oval walnut table. The Venetian white-glass chandelier is from Bremermann Designs. Oil on canvas, Robert Rea.
Past and present converge in the foyer, with its Biedermeier table and an abstract oil painting by Kevin Gillentine. The artist’s gallery “is right next door to my shop, and I absolutely love his work,” Spencer says. Framed in Lucite, artworks by Alexis Walter hang above an antique chair in a Sabina Fay Braxton velvet.
In the formal living room, unstuffy furniture choices — the Aerin for Visual Comfort chandelier is acrylic, not crystal, and the Verellen sofa is in a casual Belgian linen — help to relax the space. “I didn’t want it to feel uptight,” Spencer says. The sofa pillows are covered in a Sabina Fay Braxton patterned velvet and a raised silk. Custom chevron cowhide rug.
In the husband’s study, walls in Sherwin-Williams’s Summit Gray provide a visual contrast to the lighter feel in the rest of the house. Chandelier, Niermann Weeks for Visual Comfort. Antique walnut desk, Shaun Smith Home. Vintage chairs in a Schumacher stripe.
The house retains such early-20th-century details as a stained-glass triptych window with a coat of arms, which illuminates the landing between the first and second floors. Also original to the home, the restored pickled-white oak floors here “are a very traditional New Orleans touch,” Spencer says.
In the master bedroom, a contemporary Parsons-inspired bed from Bremermann Designs contrasts with an antique olive-wood Bombay commode and antique painted trumeau mirror. Bedding, Leontine Linens.
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This story originally appeared in the December 2017/January 2018 issue of CQ.