In the late 1800s, immigrants and Americans alike were leaving their rural lives behind for the bright lights of our nation’s burgeoning cities. While these metropolises brimmed with modernity and opportunity, unfortunately, they were being constructed quickly and with little forethought. And the cracks eventually began to show. Many cities faced sanitation issues, increased crime, a disregard for neighborhood planning and were becoming more crowded by the day.
In order to make life more pleasant for families, in the 1890s planners began borrowing from European design in what came to be called the City Beautiful movement. They constructed public parks, worked through infrastructure challenges, installed monuments and conceived ways to make thoroughfares less congested. One of the more noticeable shifts was the renewed focus on magnificent architectural design inspired by Neoclassical elements.
A shining relic from this era is communication strategist and new mom Karen Buck’s home in New Orleans, LA. Finished in the 1920s, it boasts many traits of the City Beautiful era: grand columns, Greek-key tile work, abundant millwork and original fireplaces. It was these very details, in fact, that originally convinced Karen and her husband to quickly snatch up the home once it hit the market.
While the home’s inherent style suited Karen and her husband, they still yearned to make it a truly custom fit. To do so, they enlisted designers Nomita Joshi-Gupta and Sarah Allee-Walsh of Spruce. For two months the pair worked alongside Karen to infuse cool hues and mid-century touches into the two-story stunner.
The project kicked off in the master bedroom. At the time, Karen was nearing the end of her pregnancy, and she challenged Spruce with creating a space with pep and personality but would also help her unwind. To achieve this, Nomita and Sarah installed hearty blackout curtains the color of turmeric, layered a smattering of throw pillows onto the bed, put up graphic wallpaper and created a custom headboard to match the original fireplace’s ocean hue.
Over the moon with the results, Karen then had Spruce move on to the nexus of the home: the living room. Since the space serves as a passageway to every other room on the main floor, the team created a layout that would optimize the flow of traffic through the house. They then took a note from the bedroom’s breezy color scheme and tracked down blue accessories and patterned furniture to help the two spaces feel cohesive.
Last fall, all of this hard work culminated in a grand open house. Karen and her husband, with their daughter by their side, walked their friends and family through the finished house and introduced them to their little slice of the universe. While the joyful noise of the night’s clinking glasses and laughter has long-since faded, the adoration they felt in that moment has seeped into every corner of the house. What more could a growing family ask for than to thrive in a space so full of love? Enjoy! —Garrett
Image above: Karen challenged Spruce to create a space inspired by life in the Caribbean: a slower-paced, pattern-filled affair. While prints like the one featured in her Otomi headboard aren’t from the Caribbean, the color paired with the turquoise fireplace absolutely injects the vivaciousness Karen and her husband strove for when decorating. To make your own Otomi headboard, check out our DIY here.
Wallpaper – Custhom Wallpaper “Offset Fir Green & Gold”
Headboard – Jacaranda
Bedding – West Elm
Lighting – Jonathan Adler
Throw pillow upholstery – Les Indiennes and Fabricut’s Nate Berkus collection
Bench – AllModern
Ceiling paint – Benjamin Moore “Kennebunkport Green”
Sofa upholstery – House of Hackney
Chandelier – Joanthan Adler
Sofa, chair – AllModern
Rug – Novogratz by Momeni
Coffee table – West Elm
Dining table, chairs – vintage
Lighting – original
Tile – Stafford Tile & Stone
Wallpaper – Makelike
Barrel chairs – antiques
Cabinetry, countertop – Gulf Breeze Kitchens
Range, hood – Wolf