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Tweak Peek: Heather & Win’s NOLA Cottage

By House*Tweaking on Sep 13, 2012

I’m about to show you a house tour. Don’t peek! First, I need to tell you how this came about. A few months ago, I blogged about my affection for fig trees. Many of you kindly offered green advice for my black thumb. But one reader actually sent me a picture of her happy little fig tree. Just from the image of the fig tree vignette, I could tell this reader’s home was special. I graciously thanked Heather for the picture and advice she openly gave, then all but begged her for a house tour. Four months later, here it is! The time lapse is all my fault – not Heather’s. As the saying goes, “Good things are worth waiting for.”

Enjoy!

Who lives in your home?  I live with my husband, Win, and our dog, The Baron.

Where is your home located? New Orleans, Louisiana

What do you do for a living?   I work in the Oil and Gas industry and Win is a documentary filmmaker.

What is the architectural style of your home? We live in a Victorian shotgun cottage.

How would you describe your style?   The best way to describe our style is cottage/contemporary. We paid homage to our 100+ year old cottage in most of the design elements, but also incorporated a few contemporary pieces to shake things up a bit. Our style may be a bit all over the place for some, but I love that everything in our house has a story, whether it be original artwork from Win’s talented family, an antique night stand salvaged after Katrina, or an old soda bottle I dug up in my garden.

Where do you find inspiration for your home decor?  When we first bought our home in 2008, my best friend Rachelle brought over three binders filled with gorgeous images and articles pulled from Cottage Living magazine. She compiled the binders while rebuilding her home after it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. I spent an untold amount of time poring over the binders, soaking up the inspiration brought forth from its pages. Cottage Living was such an amazing resource to me. I still have a hard time believing that it’s no longer in publication. I would say that most of my current home décor inspiration comes from the web. I cut my teeth on amazing blogs such as Young House Love and The Lettered Cottage, and lately it seems like my day is not complete until I check out the latest projects over on Chezerbey, Manhattan Nest, The Brick House and House*Tweaking.

Where did you splurge?  Those who know me know that I pride myself on being a serious bargain hunter and that I rarely splurge on anything other than a great meal. Looking around my house, I can say that 99% of the furnishings and appliances were either passed down from our families, bought on sale, picked up at a thrift/consignment shop, or plucked off the street. With that said, there have been one or two splurges along the way and our custom walk-in shower in the master bath is definitely one. Everyone was trying to convince us to install an inexpensive fiberglass shower stall, but Win and I wouldn’t hear of it. We knew what we wanted and even though it was a quite a splurge, it’s been worth every penny.

Where did you pinch pennies?   As for as supplies go, we definitely saved quite a bit of money by reusing our existing cabinetry and purchasing IKEA wood countertops in the kitchen. Our carpenters pushed the idea of custom cabinetry, but being an avid reader of house blogs, I knew that all they needed was a paint job and new hardware. We also saved by purchasing stock tile and stone from a discount retailer for our bathrooms and kitchen instead of custom ordering it from a tile shop or stone yard.

Favorite space in your home?  For me it’s got to be our kitchen. Being an avid cook, baker and collector of all things culinary, I love being in the kitchen. I still can’t believe that it took us over three years to get around to gutting and rebuilding it. Thankfully, we worked with an amazing carpentry team that worked tirelessly to develop my kitchen vision into a warm, inviting area that maximizes every inch of usable space.

Least favorite thing about your home?  We both  love the fact that we have reached the point where there are many more positives than negatives about our home, but there are still a few things we can’t wait to transform. Our backyard is definitely something we try to avoid because of the sheer “ugly factor”. It’s downright hideous and that’s no joke. My main problem with the yard stems from my love of gardening. The gardening gene runs deep in my family. Some of my favorite childhood memories include digging in the dirt with my mother and grandmother. Currently, I have planted and pruned every inch of my front yard, but unfortunately, my back yard is completely useless to me because it is covered by a virtually impenetrable 10” thick concrete slab. One of these days Win and I will rent a jackhammer and get to work on transforming it into an inviting space filled with fruit trees and a large vegetable garden.

From your point of view, what’s been the best improvement you’ve made to your home?  It’s really hard to pick one improvement over the others since each project has made such a significant difference to the house as a whole, but if we had to pick one, the renovation of the master bath is high on the list. When we bought the house, it was two separate spaces: a huge fire-charred laundry room and a miniscule bathroom with the toilet falling through the floor. Until the space was renovated in 2010, it was a depressing, dark disaster area that I only ventured into long enough to do a load of laundry. Now, it’s bright, inviting and absolutely fantastic. Friends that have witnessed the slow transformation of our home still can’t believe it’s the same space.

Do you have any special housekeeping rituals?  I don’t know if this is a ritual or a sign of OCD, but I cannot go to bed with a messy kitchen. When we host large gatherings, I am sometimes up for hours afterwards cleaning the kitchen and putting everything back in its place. Win can easily nod off with a mountain of dirty dishes in the sink, but I cannot fathom the idea of relaxing when there is a chaotic mess going on in my favorite room of the house.

What’s your next home project or purchase?  Realistically, our next project will probably be tweaking the remaining bedrooms, but our dream project is gutting and renovating a cinderblock workman’s shed in our backyard. It is already equipped with a bathroom and power, but the amount of work required is quite daunting. Ideally, we would like to turn it into a guesthouse, but that’s years away.

What’s your favorite thing to do at home?  I would say that it’s a three-way tie between working in my garden, relaxing on my front porch with Win and The Baron, and whipping up meals for the people that I love.

Advice for other homeowners?  I would say the best advice to new, first-time homeowners like ourselves is to take your time when it comes to renovations. When we bought our home, we lived in it for a full year before embarking on any interior projects. That decision was partly due to financial constraints, but mostly for the fact that we wanted to get to know our “new” old house first. Living in it for a while allowed us time to develop a plan of attack as well as refine our slightly contemporary style around such an old house. On a lighter note, never underestimate the transformative power of a can of spray paint.

Isn’t that one amazing cottage?! I absolutely adore the cottage aesthetic mixed with industrial touches and pops of happy color. Thank you so much, Heather and Win {and The Baron!} for letting us peek into your happy home.

SOURCES:

Living Room/Dining Room

wall color:  Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee

trim color: Benjamin Moore Decorators White

sofa: Ikea

chandelier: Design Within Reach

 

Guest Bath

wall color: Benjamin Moore Nightingale (25%)

trim color: Benjamin Moore Decorators White

tub, toilet & sink- Kohler

fixtures: Kohler

tile: Floor and Décor

medicine cabinet: Home Depot

shower curtain: Urban Outfitters

 

Kitchen

wall color: Benjamin Moore White Dove

trim color: Benjamin Moore Decorators White

cabinet paint: Behr Graceful Gray

countertops: Ikea

lighting: West Elm

ceiling fan: Hunter

refrigerator: Samsung

range: LG

sink: Kohler Vault

 

Master Bedroom

wall color: Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee

trim color: Benjamin Moore Decorators White

lamps: Target

headboard: Wayfair.com

bedding: Macy’s

 

Master Bath

wall color: Benjamin Moore Nightingale

trim color: Benjamin Moore Decorators White

sink: Kohler

fixtures: Delta

toilet: American Standard

tile and stone: Floor and Décor

medicine cabinet: Home Depot

armoire: Nadeau

washer and dryer: Samsung

 

Guest Bedroom

wall color: Martha Stewart Plumage

trim color: Benjamin Moore Decorators White

bedding: TJ Maxx

throw pillows: Bliss Living

Do you have a room makeover, DIY project or house tour that you’d like to submit to House*Tweaking? Great! Please contact me at [email protected] I’d love to see what you’ve been up to.

images: Heather Riley

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