They expanded the kitchen from its original location. The old kitchen and dining room was completely gutted, and a wall was taken down between the two to create one big, open space. Lighting: Sconces above the shelf are from Schoolhouse Electric, the chandelier over dining table is Lambert et Fils. The brass pendants over the island are from Visual Comfort. With barstools from Cb2 and cabinet hardware from Signature Hardware and Rejuvenation.
A rock and roller and a jewelry designer turned boutique owner transform an Irish Channel band house into an artful retreat
Benjamin Ellman purchased his circa 1880s Irish Channel cottage 20 years ago on his 30th birthday. Ellman is a musician and an original member of the Little Rascals brass band. He has also been a producer for Galactic and the Revivalists (having received a gold record for the latter this past year). His home was for many years a “band house” filled with random furniture with every room painted a disparate color. The huge backyard was a repository for cast off furniture, artwork and junk. Jewelry designer Sarah Killen arrived from north Louisiana in early 2005. She started her company St. Claude Jewelry, then later opened the St. Claude Social Club boutique in 2016 with her business partner Margaret Sche. Ellman and Killen eventually met and married. With the band members gone, the newlyweds tackled renovating, refurbishing and decorating Ellman’s former bachelor pad and transforming it into a cozy family haven.
“It had never had a proper woman’s touch, and boy did it need it,” Killen says.
She describes her approach to decorating as being similar to the way she dresses, a layered artistic approach. She surrounds herself with things that make her happy and tell a story. Killen loves old things and has rescued some wonderful pieces, transforming her treasures into vignettes throughout the house. For example, after Hurricane Katrina, Killen spied the neck of a guitar in one dumpster and the rest of it in another. Someone had used it as an ashtray at some point in its history. She glued the guitar back together, restrung it and cleaned it up.
“It will never again be in a dumpster, nor used as an ashtray,” she says.
The mirror over the mantel, old Jazz Fest posters and a painting in the bedroom were all decaying, found objects in the rubble in the backyard that she calls crazy wonderful gifts.
The textures, colors and array of objects, combined with a witty and wise mix of furnishings can only be described as Bohemian chic.
The biggest renovation the couple took on is the new kitchen designed by Logan Killen Interiors, owned by Katie Logan LeBlanc and Jensen Killen. (Sarah Killen and Jensen Killen are cousins.)
The design team at Logan Killen expanded the kitchen from its original location and gutted both the kitchen and dining room. They also removed the wall between the two to create one big open space. The couple loves to cook and the kitchen was tailor made to their needs and aesthetic. Custom cabinetry in two different finishes, hand made tiles, Venetian plaster, marble counter tops, open shelving, modern overhead light fixtures and chef quality Thermador appliances all combined to enhance the collected artistic décor Ellman and Killen employed throughout the house.
Furnishings throughout the house are sourced from Logan Killen Interiors’ Sunday Shop (sundayshop.co) and Katie Koch Home (katiekochhome.com). Killen also uses tried and true New Orleans sources, including Renaissance Interiors (yourrenaissance.com) and Dop Antiques (dopantiques.com) and is an habitué of estate sales, flea markets and antique stores.
Killen’s mother-in-law passed down a collection of teacups that had been in the family for years. The couple loves to serve espresso in them. Killen has collections of art, vases (she always arranges fresh cut flowers and clippings from the garden throughout the house) and other interesting objects. She has an American flag that flew over the state capital the day she was born.
“Buddy Roemer was the governor then, and grew up with my parents,” she says.
There is a gallery wall of black and white photos of Ellman and the Little Rascals brass band. The couple also has a photograph taken by Michael Smith during the second line parades in the late 1980s.
Killen layers textiles on chairs, sofas and beds, as well as different patterns of rugs. There can never be too many artisanal pillows and throws around the house, as well as interesting table linens. The textures, colors and interesting objects, combined with a witty and wise mix of furnishings adds up to a combination that can only be described as Bohemian chic.
“I don’t follow trends and try to always trust my gut,” says Killen. “I love having things that are old around me, and I guess that’s why I love New Orleans so much.”
“I don’t follow trends and try to always trust my gut. I love having things that are old around me, and I guess that’s why I love New Orleans so much”, says Killen. Her jewelry line is originally inspired by nature, so the house is filled with branches, rocks, minerals, crystals and driftwood.
Killen loves to layer textiles on chairs, sofas and beds. She also combines rugs with different patterns. There can never be too many artisanal pillows and throws around the house, as well as interesting table linens.
The kitchen was designed by Logan Killen Interiors. The Venetian plaster stove hood is by Anne Marie Aurrcchio with Thermador appliances and tile backsplash from Stafford Tile, plus a Delta faucet.
Layered textiles on the bed come from the Sunday Shop. The duvet cover is by Novogratz.
A basket near the fireplace holds small musical instruments for family jam sessions.
Killen has collections of art, vases (she always arranges fresh cut flowers and clippings from the garden throughout the house) and other interesting objects.
The flag guitar was found post hurricane Katrina in a couple of dumpsters. Killen spied the neck of the guitar in one dumpster and the body in another. She glued it back together, restrung it and cleaned it up.
A vintage folding table is used as a bar. The lamp is also a vintage find.
The design team at Logan Killen Interiors used open sheving in the kitchen installed above a custom cabinet (the kitchen cabinets are also designed by Logan Killen and fabricated by Eddie’s Cabinets). The sconces over shelves the are Schoolhouse Electric.