The Art of Atmosphere

In this excerpt from her newest book project, Kerri McCaffety talks with one of the city’s most famous interior designers, Gerrie Bremermann, about the rich artistic and cultural life in New Orleans and how we bring it inside our homes.

In the less formal family room, a painting by Paula Landrum and an acrylic coffee table blend with antiques and classic elements to create a very Bremermann interior. The antique horse came from Karla Katz Antiques and restoration specialist Michael Carbine supplied the mantel and chandelier.

Photographed by Kerri McCaffety

Gerrie Bremermann is perhaps the most sought after of New Orleans’ elite designers. Her touch practically guarantees a feature in a prestigious national magazine. But Bremermann suggests that it is as
simple as air.

KM: What is New Orleans style, and why is it different from anywhere else in the world?

GB: It’s the atmosphere here, meaning not only the tropical temperature but also the luxurious life around us. Our vibrant array of architecture, art, food and music influences the way we decorate and creates a spirit that makes this city what it is. We have this unique conglomeration of talent. The artistic spirit is what makes New Orleans special and helped it survive after the storm.
The tropical temperature inspires a light, neutral color palette and simple, airy window treatments. This combines with traditions of French and Victorian furnishings, plus elements of local architecture like wrought iron.

KM: And you don’t find this in other cities?

GB: Other places borrow elements of New Orleans style, but it doesn’t work the same way in other climates. When I am asked to do what I do in northern climates, I have to adapt the colors to suit a different atmosphere, using more color, stronger color. Their dreary winters and lack of light command stronger, more vibrant colors.

Other places don’t have the same kind of inspiration for creativity we see here every day. I saw an artist making a wonderful papier-mâché torso in the French Quarter and asked him to create something for home interiors. He came up with fantastic lamps.
The city being artistic and eclectic shows in our interior décor. In New Orleans our whole lifestyle comes into our houses.

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