Saddle Peak House is a breathtaking modern vacation villa in Topanga Canyon above Los Angeles, overlooking the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Coast.
How would you describe The Louie in a nutshell?
The Louie is a serene hideaway that really articulates our vision of New Orleans - one that is historical, with a little surprise around each and every corner. At the end of the day, it’s a space that is all about relaxation and a sense of place.
What was your inspiration to create the project?
I had been traveling to New Orleans (primarily for work) for the last few years and had really enjoyed my short stays. Slowly but surely I was starting to venture outside of the tourist-frequented areas to other neighbourhoods and off-the-beaten-track restaurants.
After living in Brooklyn for many years, my husband and I moved to San Francisco for a couple of years. One morning I woke up and realised that it was overpriced for what we were getting at this stage in our lives and New Orleans came back on our radar. I slyly convinced him to spend a weekend here and lined up all my favourite things - amazing music, food, walks - and just like that, we found a house that we loved and just dove in head first and took on this project.
Tell us about the layout of the apartment and the rooms.
The Louie is what New Orleans lovingly calls a ‘double shotgun with a camelback’. It was built in 1890 in a long and thin design that has two sides to it (‘double’), with the idea that, hypothetically, you would be able to shoot a shotgun through, front to back. Its ‘camelback’ was a later addition and dates to a time when there were architectural restrictions in New Orleans.
Often we think of historical homes as being quite dark but The Louie is very light and airy. We’ve retained its original fireplaces (although they aren’t in operation) and restored the beautiful 4x4 windows, as well as keeping many of the original details intact. For example, the antique stove in the kitchen that is still working and many of the doors and handles. As a result, you get a sense of what it was like to be living in New Orleans at that time.
How would you describe the atmosphere of The Louie and its interior design?
When we set out to renovate The Louie, we wanted to tell a story and retain the historical sensibility of the house, paying homage to its original. We particularly loved the windows, so a big part of the renovations involved the windows because they make such a difference to the rooms.
While restoring many of the original features, we also mixed that up with design elements that have a more modern sensibility. Some of the lighting takes on more of a modern tone, as do the textiles. The sofa in the living room is velvet, so it’s very opulent and luxurious, while a lot of the other linen we had custom-made to fit into that vibe of being both historical and contemporary at the same time.
Many of the furnishings we sourced locally. The chairs in the living room we restored from a jazz bar just down the street from us. So there’s a little nod to that history. Then we also incorporated some of the fun objects that we’ve found during our time so far in New Orleans.