Some would say that maximalism is the new minimalism! If this is true, then New Orleans resident Laura is on-trend! Her home is filled with perfectly picked wallpapers, jewelry that has become art, and some curious pieces too. No matter what, her home is filled with love and creativity every day of the week. Take a peek into her life and New Orleans home.
What neighborhood do you live in?
How long have you lived in this home?
A little over a year
Why do you love your neighborhood?
For two pretty specific reasons. The first is the aesthetic variety in housing stock in the area. As an Architect, I really enjoy walking around the neighborhood and seeing houses that are over 100 years old near houses that were built a few years ago. Getting to see details like a “cat slide roof” in abundance nestled next to a craftsman bungalow next to a slick modern version of a shotgun serves to feed my imagination and inspire me… and sometimes horrify me. I like the surprise aspect of never really knowing what is coming next as I explore.
The second is the people. Most everyone smiles and waves when you go by, conversations are organic and open and no matter our backgrounds we know that we are part of a community and we strive to take care of each other while allowing everyone to have their own individual lives.
Was this the neighborhood you hoped for when buying your home?
Yes. I spent over a decade in Mid-City, and while I loved it I was eventually priced out of the area when I could buy a home. A friend moved into the Gentilly area and I started spending more time over here and found this neighborhood and fell in love – hard. I don’t even think we looked at a single house outside of the neighborhood.
Do you know your neighbors and feel a sense of community?
I know some of them by sight, some by name, and some well enough to have long conversations with. We do have a community in a live and let live and hey maybe let’s hang out on the sidewalk while the neighbors down the street put on a concert on their front lawn…. and if you happen to accidentally drive down the street while that concert is happening, everyone will wave and smile at you as you creep by.
What’s your piece of advice for anyone looking to move into your neighborhood?
The neighborhood is friendly and approachable and starting to move fast in the market. Houses around here don’t last very long.
The one thing I wish we had more of was local restaurants that were walkable, but we’re pretty central and it’s super easy to get downtown. So be prepared to need to get into your car for food or entertainment, other than those porch concerts.
Are you from New Orleans? If not, tell us what brought you here!
I’m originally from a really small town in a really rural state and transplanted here at the age of 18 over 20 years ago…. depending on who you talk to I’m maybe a native at this point.
College brought me here sight unseen, I remember getting off of the interstate onto St. Charles Avenue in my father’s big truck full of my life and instantly feeling like I was home. Katrina brought that feeling back hard. During that evacuation, I just needed to get home and found my way to Baton Rouge within 3 weeks and had moved back to the city by Thanksgiving of that year. I have never thought to leave since with all of our problems – there’s not a city in the US where I feel as free to be myself as I do here. That’s something really precious to me.
Tell us your favorite thing about your house.
That it is mine. I have dreamed of my own home for so long, and I worked really hard to be able to afford it. I’m proud of that and proud of the work that I am doing with it.
In terms of the physical… I love how comfortable it is, not just for us, but for our friends and family as well. And I love that I am able to display my collections without feeling overwhelmed… as my sister says “I’m coming not just to visit you, I’m coming to see the museum of Laura.”
What updates/improvements have you done to your home?
So far it’s been DYI projects: new flooring in both bedrooms, painting every room in the house except the bathroom, rebuilding our carport, putting up wallpaper in three rooms (for this I have to thank my partner… he is a patient human where I am NOT), starting to work on the gardens and banishing the grass from our front yard, installing a new custom (by me) closet configuration in the guest closet, and putting up the “explosion of art” that we live in while purging a good portion of it. I’ve always been a collector, but lord have I collected.
Any upcoming home projects?
Hah…. that list is long! My profession makes me a dreamer, but I have a DYI list and a list of items that I will need a professional for.
DYI list includes instant hot water heaters, removing the soffits above our kitchen cabinets, backsplash in the kitchen and installing a for real vent hood above our stove, painting the kitchen cabinets, new siding on our garage, insulating and interior finishes in the garage, removing the popcorn ceilings, putting up cove trim in each of the rooms, and putting a counter above the washer and dryer in. And the gardens, I’m allergic to grass, and the less we have the better, so I have plans for the front yard to get native plants in and reduce/eliminate the evil out front.
Professional help for fixing the electrical to and in the garage (it is a MESS), foundation and attic structural repairs, reskinning the stucco on the house, plumbing to put a full bathroom into the garage, new windows and doors (lord help me these single pane aluminum 1970s windows are pushing that Entergy bill higher and higher), and opening up the kitchen to the dining room more. And the dream plan of adding some second-floor space to have a real master suite and a covered front porch. Basically, I’m not willing to do anything structural, electrical, mechanical, or involving water movement myself, I know my skill level and it’s not THAT high. And hopefully an above-ground pool in the backyard, these summers are HOT, y’all!
Any advice when home buying?
If you think you want to buy a house that needs work, be sure you’re ready. It’s going to take time and your patience and lots of your money. If you’re DYI and not a professional, be prepared to learn A LOT. If you’re hiring a contractor be sure to ask around to find the right one for you, interview multiple people, get multiple quotes.
I bought this house knowing it needs work, knowing that I was going to have to put in a lot of sweat equity and money towards professionals to have the home I dreamed of the moment I walked into it, but there are still days when I look at my to-do list and want to just sit down and forget about it all.
A new build designed by someone else was never going to be it for me, I knew that so I went for an older home. I don’t regret that, but if I wasn’t practical about what it was going to take I would be having a hard time right now.
Tell us some of your favorite things about New Orleans
This next sentence gets me a lot of side-eye when I initially say it, but hang on for the explanation: I love that people in NOLA don’t care. It’s not that they don’t care about the world or the city or other people (because lord do we really care about other people)…. but they don’t care if you walk down the street in a tutu on a random Thursday afternoon, they don’t care if you drive an old beater or a Tesla, they don’t care about those little things that the rest of the world focuses on… those little things that can stifle you as you try to fit into a specific mold. NOLA has no specific acceptable mold of a person, it has people in all of our glory and our horror.
I love that we celebrate literally everything we feel like celebrating.
I love that we live in joy amidst the pain.
I love that someone on a parade route can be your best friend for 4 hours and then you never see them again and that’s ok.
I love that someone I have known for years might actually be really good friends with this person that I just met and have started hanging out with and the moment when you learn that connection.
I love the food…. every other place I’ve traveled to has felt lackluster compared to what I can get at a local gas station.
I love the oak trees on a misty evening as they sway in the breeze and are lit by the passing traffic.
I love that we are surrounded by water, but am heartbroken we can’t swim in it.
Any lagniappe info about you?
I’m a mother of dogs, savior of orchids, reader, and creator. Also, I ramble…. a lot.
We appreciate your ramblings, Laura!
If you’re ready to find your home, start by texting us to schedule a chat!