dining room

Neo-Classical Minimalism in New Orleans

Shaun Smith Design, Courtesy Times-Picayune New Orleans' Times Picayune recently had an incredible article on designer Shaun Smith's latest project, which was just too good not to share!

According to the article, Smith bought the 1930's era home in the Fontainebleau neighborhood.  Describing the renovation, Keith Marshall writes, "Gone are the paneled front door and the sinuous lines of ultramarine blue that outlined the home's neo-classical pediment. Now, a clean-lined gas lantern fills the space above a new, charcoal-framed front door that enlivens the all-white facade."

The interior is as stunning as the exterior.  Apparently, the staircase is the only original feature that remains in the house.  Out with the old, in with a minimalist transformation!

You can check out some of the incredible pictures below and read the article here.  Also, make sure to check out Smith's Magazine Street boutique, aptly called Shaun Smith Home.

DIY Rope Tiebacks

Rope tie backs 06 I saw the most amazing pair of rope curtain tiebacks on an HGTV show the other day.  I happened to notice the designer pulled them out of a Restoration Hardware box, so I promptly went online, only to have my heart instantly broken.  They were $79... EACH!  I need 6 total for the living and dining rooms and $480 for curtain tiebacks is just out of the question.  Instead, I decided to make them myself!

I bought 1" thick manila rope from Home Depot and got the sales associate to cut it into 18" sections (a little batting of the eyelashes helped get the job done).  Then I bought 2 nickel-plated rings, 1/4" thin manila rope and a decorative wall hook for each tieback.  I started by attaching the ring.  I wrapped a small piece of of the thin rope around the end and hot glued into place.  Then, I wrapped the thin rope around the 1" rope 8 times to sufficiently cover that piece.  Again, I used hot glue and found that clamps helped keep everything in place.  Finally, I secured my decorative hook to the wall, roughly 1/2" from the edge of the moulding around the window.

Voila!  For less $10 per curtain panel, I have a rustic rope tieback that rivals any of the more expensive versions at Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn or Ballard Designs!

Preservation Resource Center Holiday Home Tour

Courtesy, Sara Essex Bradley The Preservation Resource Center is holding its annual Holiday Home Tour this weekend, December 14th and 15th!  It's a fabulous way to get a glimpse at how "the other half" lives and tour some stunning mansions in New Orleans' historic Garden District.  Last year, the PRC featured a newly renovated neighbor of mine.  I couldn't haven been more proud!

Pictures aren't allowed on the tour, but the PRC was kind enough to offer some promotional photos by photographer Sara Essex Bradley, so I could give YOU a sneak peek!  Let's just say... you might actually start to drool.

A Peek Inside New Orleans' Haunted LaLaurie Mansion

If you're an avid Hammer-and-Heels reader, you know I have a small obsession with American Horror Story: Coven.  Aside from the awesome fact that much of the show is filmed just blocks from my house and the super cool fact that my neighbor worked on the set design... the show is also based on some true New Orleans tales!  The stories are twisted for TV, but nonetheless, the plot line of Madame Delphine Macarty Lalaurie stems straight from the history books. The infamous French Quarter socialite lived at the corner of Royal and Governor Nichols streets in the early 1800's.  Legend (and historical sources) have it, the mistress of the house was one seriously sick puppy.  In 1834, a fire swept through the mansion and neighbors rushed to the scene.  Inside, they made a horrific discovery.  Seven slaves were being held captive in rooms above the kitchen.  They'd been chained, starved and tortured.  Newspaper reports describe holes in one slave's head, maggots in wounds, along with bloody welts from whips and other atrocities.

In recent years, the Lalaurie house has served many roles and had numerous owners.  Most notably, actor and former owner Nicholas Cage.  Sure makes you think twice about ol' Nick, doesn't it!?  According to a recent article on NOLA.com, Michael Whalen purchased the multi-million dollar haunt in 2010 and has gone through great lengths to renovate the mansion, while paying tribute to its gory past.  Some of the details are subtle, from the skull linens to the spooky purple drapes, but the mix of dark and light, with a spattering of religious elements, work together to bring a little taste of that haunted history back to life!

Trend Watch: Copper Accents

During my last visit home before my grandfather passed away, I got a very special gift.  My grandmother was running out of space for her extensive copper collection and instead of hiding the bright and shiny cookware in the cabinets, gave them to me!  I remember the copper hanging from their kitchen during my summers spent in Ohio and was thrilled at the prospect of bringing them into my own home.  When Grampy died this summer, the collection took on and even more special meaning.  He'd picked out each of those pieces for Mimi and gave them to her over countless birthdays and Christmases.  Having them in my kitchen is now a daily reminder of them both. So, it was icing on the cake when I began seeing more and more copper pieces in my favorite home decor catalogs.  Copper accents are everywhere these days and as the fall temperatures set in, they're a beautiful addition to your holiday entertaining.  Here are some of my favorites...