Colorful Cottage

A cottage in the Lower Garden District gets an art-focused makeover

When Sherry Shirah of Sherry Shirah Design first saw her client’s exquisite collection of art and antique furniture, she knew the pieces would drive the design for this one-bedroom, one-bath cottage. “It was clear we needed those elements to be our North Star for the overall design,” Shirah says. “The goal was to renovate and refresh the entire space. We achieved this by painting everything inside and out, creating custom pieces, and leveraging antique and vintage pieces for reupholstery. We coined this project ‘the Cottage d’Art’ because of the joyful amount of color as well as the artwork.”

Shirah chose paint colors that were either inspired by nature or by the artwork. “We chose a soft color for the walls and ceiling — subtle so the artwork would shine — and the trim and dentil moulding is a contrasting soft white,” Shirah says. “It’s not often we have clients that will be open to purple kitchen cabinetry, so, when it happens, it’s exhilarating. We chose Pelt by Farrow & Ball for the cabinets. The bedroom is a vibe — painted in French Grey by Farrow & Ball.”

For this project, it was also important to optimize the space in the most effective, yet beautiful way. “We were working with a large open living space, which felt like an empty box,” Shirah says. “It has one nicely sized bedroom, which we maximized with an antique queen poster bed from the West Indies. The bath is multi-functional and has a free-standing tub/shower and includes the stackable washer/dryer. We designed it to be luxurious and efficient all at once. The entire space isn’t large, and every room has a purpose, so we focused on special moments.” 

For example, the homeowner loves learning about different cultures and experiencing them firsthand. Her last trip before the pandemic, to Sri Lanka and Bhutan, was memorable and inspired the bathroom design. Shirah commissioned local artist Ann Marie Auricchio to hand-paint the bathroom walls using colors from the garden and scenes from Sri Lanka. Shirah also replaced the toilet, sink and plumbing fixtures, and she created a custom vanity, a custom linen cabinet and custom French doors with frosted glass for privacy.

Since there is no designated guest room, Shirah created a multi-functional living room. She partnered with locally-based Doorman Designs to design and create a custom daybed, which she surrounded with stunning floor-to-ceiling burnout velvet custom curtains made by local artisan Leslie Waters. Shirah then layered the look with a custom duvet and pillows that are a mixture of Belgian linens and velvets. She also added a custom bar topped with Les Quatre Saisons stone and an antiqued-mirror backsplash.

“The overall space is a feast for the eyes,” Shirah says. “It’s a small space that packs a big punch.”

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