New Orleans Home: Inside a Bold Abode Full of Energy and Life

For Young, the cottage’s layout posed an intriguing conceptual challenge: How do you heighten a sense of surprise and drama when there are no corridors to build suspense? “Our approach was born out of our desire to preserve the historic integrity of that grid while inserting a high level of contrast,” he explains, noting the bold hues chosen for the four main ground-level rooms, each of them geared toward group revelry. The bar opens directly onto the music room, which leads to the sitting room, then the dining area, and back to the bar, with a rear foyer as entry to that loop. “We wanted to insert a radical sensibility into an otherwise neutral plan.”

Materiality, texture, and color act in harmony to distinguish one space from the next. “This is a project where we set out to make very immersive experiences,” says Young, who cites lighting as primary visual anchors—from the music room’s dramatic Dimorestudio tension-pole lamp to the bar’s ethereal Michael Anastassiades chandelier. (Both hold their own against the dining room’s vintage Alvar Aalto pendants and the sitting room’s Jacopo Foggini fixture.) Stone, too, adds character, whether in the case of the sitting room’s fireplace, clad in psychedelic marble, or the bar’s richly veined green top. And eclectic furnishings, chosen hand in hand with Sukey, lend their own flair, as vintage treasures and local antiques mingle with collectible works of contemporary design by the likes of Vincenzo De Cotiis, Floris Wubben, and Philippe Malouin. As Sukey puts it, “We are world-building here.”

All the while, thresholds—some preserved, others widened to expand sight lines—have become what Young calls “binding tissue.” Sheathed in gold leaf, each opening “frames saturations of color from one space to the next,” signaling moments of transition. That metallic wayfinding continues onto the cottage’s second level, which is reached via a gilded stairwell that occupies one of two original rear extensions. (A renovated kitchen occupies the other space, historically used for storage.) Up that luminous flight are two bedrooms, one for the couple and the other dedicated to guests. Though plenty more people can crash in the back building, where a richly paneled salon, now painted an inky blue, anchors three chambers.

The property, Sukey attests, functions as well for two people as it does for 20—which was always the goal. “Being in New Orleans, this is a place we can come together in celebration of food and culture,” notes Sukey, recalling lively nights at home, with their family friend Davell Crawford, the celebrated keyboardist, vocalist, and composer, holding court at the Steinway & Sons piano. “Our hope is to introduce more people to the city.”

And on that note, let the music play.

This New Orleans home appears in AD’s April 2024 issue. Never miss an issue when you subscribe to AD.

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