An Old House With Young Style

Bright colors, bold patterns, quirky accessories: A fun-loving couple breathe new life into this 1914 New Orleans home featured in HGTV Magazine.

Photo By: Victoria Pearson

Photo By: Victoria Pearson

Photo By: Victoria Pearson

Photo By: Victoria Pearson

Photo By: Victoria Pearson

Photo By: Victoria Pearson

Photo By: Victoria Pearson

Photo By: Victoria Pearson

Photo By: Victoria Pearson

The House

Liz and Austin Kent are always up for adventure. Back in 2010, when they lived in NYC and worked in film production and photography, they decided to move to the Big Easy after Austin got a job offer — not even visiting until they had to find an apartment. A couple of years later, they opened a pizza franchise…because they thought NOLA needed one. So when they bought their first home — a renovated 1914 Craftsman that had 3,000 square feet of pristine white-on-white everything and no spunk — the couple were eager to take on the challenge.

“Houses in New Orleans tend to feel very traditional, which is nice, but not ‘us,’ ” says Liz. She enlisted Penny Francis of local design store Eclectic Home to help create a fun, comfy and offbeat space. The couple got the distinct look they were going for with a mix of sleek pieces, cool hand-me-downs and whimsical accents. “This was the first time we’d been able to install light fixtures and paint walls, so I went a little crazy!” says Liz. “Our friends love it. They say it’s like stepping into my head.”

Dining Room

Throughout the house, the couple blended traditional with modern touches. Here, Bernhardt dining chairs with velvet seats got a clever update: chalkboard paint on the backs. “You can use them instead of place cards if you’re having a fancy dinner, and we have fun with them on holidays,” Liz says. “For Halloween I like to write spooky things like, ‘Look behind you!’ ” The chairs surround a slatted pedestal-base table by Brownstone. The Sputnik glass-bubbles chandelier is by Solária Lighting, and that vibrant wall paint is Atlantis Blue by Benjamin Moore.

Living Room

Since it’s the couple’s prime hanging-out spot, making this room equal parts fresh and comfy was key. “We’re pretty casual people, and we like to watch TV and eat dinner here if it’s just the two of us,” says Liz. In came a cozy sofa by Hickory Chair, upholstered in gray velvet and deep enough for 6-foot-8-inch-tall Austin. The onyx-veneer coffee table, by Century, can accommodate a couple of dinner plates. An arched metal lamp and white tufted chaise, both by Nuevo, and a velvet swivel chair by Four Hands deliver the mod.

Fireplace

Across from the sofa in the living room sits a marble fireplace. On its own, it was way too formal for Liz. She added a contemporary Philippe Bertho print of a couple doing the tango, a slew of kitschy pieces on the mantel and a pair of Greek-key upholstered ottomans from a New Orleans boutique. Flanking the fireplace are two vintage-inspired crystal sconces that Liz scored from the sale of a TV show set that a friend worked on.

Kitchen

The Kents lucked out with a redone kitchen — they just had to rev up the style. So they painted the white cabinets black (Universal Black by Benjamin Moore). “The more my decor looks like a Tim Burton film, the better,” says Liz (with a guest appearance by King Kong, in a giant poster from the French Quarter). A chandelier made with inverted wine bottles by Present Time fits the hosts, known for their Halloween and New Year’s Eve blowouts. The molded plastic and metal stools are by Euro Style.

Bar Area

The eclectic look of this drink station, set in a corner of the living room, is part purposeful, part windfall: Once the couple got their house, hand-me-downs from family poured in. The wood bar cabinet originally belonged to Austin’s grandfather, the Lucite chair was his grandmother’s and the Art Deco–style print once hung in Liz’s grandparents’ house. For even more flair, Liz dropped in a glass floor lamp by Nuevo.

Sitting Area

The name may sound stuffy, but visitors are dazzled by the first room they see when they walk into the house. Liz wanted something dramatic that still felt fun, so she painted wide black and white stripes on the walls (Decorator’s White and Black Knight, both by Benjamin Moore). “This is an old house, so nothing’s perfectly level — getting the lines straight took blood, sweat and tears!” Liz says. The black velvet settee is a family heirloom, reupholstered for a fresh look; the black cotton–covered egg chair is a vintage find from designer Penny’s shop, Eclectic Home. The modern Lucite table is by Interlude Home, and the flashy wood lamps are from an art fair in Missouri.

Office

Painted one of Liz’s favorite colors, pink (Luscious by Benjamin Moore), the office is another lively matchup of old and new. The oil-rubbed bronze and teal glass chandelier is original to the home, and that’s Austin’s grandmother looking out from the oil painting in a gilded frame. They contrast (in a good way!) with the sleek white-and-gold desk by Worlds Away, studded chair from Aidan Gray and hip black shag rug by Surya.

Master Bedroom

Above all, Liz wanted the bedroom to be soft and relaxing, without sacrificing funk (naturally). Penny piled on plushness, including a custom-made headboard in gray velvet Kravet fabric and purple cotton-blend curtains made with Robert Allen fabric. The oversize ikat-like pattern in the rug from Wayfair plays off the intricate flowers on the wingback chair. Hanging hammered-metal leaves on the chandelier, by Worlds Away, give it a glowy look. The engraved wood bedside tables are by Noir.

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