As the tricentennial of New Orleans, 2018 is a banner year.
The history, milestones, landmarks, beauty, resilience and movers and shakers of New Orleans — past and present — are being celebrated everywhere you turn. Those highlighted in this year’s New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles Design Masters have the extra cachet of being able to count themselves among the New Orleanians fêted during the tricentennial for the contributions they’ve made to the city. Furniture designer Lisa Rickert of Ave Home, interior designer Jennifer DiCerbo of The French Mix, architecture and design team Ian and Terri Dreyer Of NANO, lighting expert Laurie Little of Fischer-Gambino, architect Z Smith of Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, real estate developer Jim MacPhaille of Louisiana Coastal Management, landscaping designer Niki Epstein of Niki Epstein Designs, linens designer Jane Scott Hodges of Leontine Linens, designers Kristine and Joey Flynn of Flynn Designs, and home goods designer Mandy Simpson of NOLA Boards continue New Orleans’ longstanding tradition of inimitable style and inspire generations to come.
MASTER OF GREEN DESIGN
Tell us about your business. Eskew+Dumez+Ripple is an architecture and urban design practice recognized nationally for combining beauty and performance. We strive to design buildings and the spaces between buildings that make you smile with delight, but also provide comfort, promote health, and save energy and water. We practice across the country, but bring an approach to design rooted in place. We have a staff of about 50 drawn from Louisiana and from around the world committed to making the world better, one building at a time. What excites you about the design world in New Orleans today? The design work going on in the city now is a rich mix of restoration projects on historic structures, like our work on the restoration of the Orpheum Theatre—and cutting-edge modernism, such as the New Orleans BioInnovation Center. They link our rich culture and the jobs of the future. What is your dream project? Projects that draw from the best elements of our past, respond to climate, think about the needs of the people who will live and work in the project, use resources responsibly, learn from others and provide an example for others to learn from. All on a budget. How has your design evolved since you began your career? Design used to have no feedback loop. Today, we instrument our buildings and learn what worked, what didn’t, what we can do better next time. With people spending more than 90% of their day inside buildings, and buildings and urban design choices responsible for nearly half of all climate-changing emissions, the stakes and opportunities could not be higher. It is an exhilarating time to be a designer.
365 Canal St.
MASTER OF KITCHENS
Kristine and Joey Flynn
Tell us about your business. We are a husband and wife team dedicated to guiding individuals in the process of comprehending their ideas and collaborating with them to create a home that is tailored to their personal style. This process involves both Joey and Kristine working together to create a home that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional. Having both an architect and designer work as a team to create the space ensures that no detail is left out. We work collectively with clients and contractors in office and on site to ensure complete satisfaction. Whether a small remodel or a full-service project, we strive to create a space that reflects each client’s unique personality. What excites you about the design world in New Orleans today? We absolutely love working in the New Orleans area. The eclectic mix of homes and styles allows us to explore a variety of design styles. We pride ourselves on not having a set “style” and New Orleans allows us to make sure that no two houses look the same. Most regions are known for a specific look and we are so fortunate that we can keep our work fun with the variety. What is your dream project? Large scale renovations are our dream projects. We love breathing new life into old homes by incorporating new aspects and keeping the original flare. How has your design evolved since you began your career? We started out doing small scale projects and mainly decorating jobs. We have transformed into a firm capable of large scale new constructions, renovations, and project management. Building relationships with vendors and expanding our resources has allowed us to develop our portfolio. This gives our clients more confidence in our ability to transform their homes.
8903 Jefferson Hwy., River Ridge
MASTER OF REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT
Louisiana Coastal Management, LLC
Tell us about your business. We are a real estate development company that has purchased and renovated hundreds of apartments, commercial properties, and warehouses in New Orleans for over 25 years. We have also been buying, renovating, and building large homes Uptown as well as building new condominiums near or on Audubon Park and the river. What excites you about the design world in New Orleans today? The market is always evolving and it’s exciting to keep up with the changes. Most recently our eight condos at 111 Audubon sold out and we are starting our new project of 50 condos at 225 State Street across from Children’s Hospital. We’re also expanding our real estate ventures into Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, because this authentic, charming Southern beach town has close ties to New Orleans. What is your dream project? I love bringing dilapidated properties back to life, like the old LaSalle School on Webster Street, a Victorian on Audubon Park, and several mansions on St Charles Avenue. My dream project is always to make a difference by restoring historic properties. Next on the agenda is an abandoned 1927 theater and 1900 elementary school in Bay St. Louis. How has your design evolved since you began your career? Our design has evolved from restoring single family homes to bigger developments that make a difference in communities.
MASTER OF TEXTILES
Jane Scott Hodges
Tell us about your business. Leontine Linens was founded over 20 years ago in my first home, the back bedroom of my shotgun cottage in New Orleans. As a new bride, I had been looking for heirloom quality monogrammed linens; I wanted my great-grandmother’s linens, but with a current sensibility focusing on color, scale and personality. Today, Leontine Linens’ showroom is on iconic Magazine Street and we work with both interior designers and individuals globally providing custom bed, bath and table linens. What excites you about the design world in New Orleans? There is inspiration everywhere in New Orleans. Walking the different neighborhoods and taking in the architecture, visiting our museums of both art and the historic house museums, and all of the artisans I am lucky to call friends – so many creative minds fill our city – it is hard not to wake up excited every day. What is your dream project? Sounds cliché, but every project is a dream project. Leontine has the opportunity to travel the world and work in beautiful settings. We are the “icing on the cake,” the finishing touch that makes your home yours alone. It is always wonderful to be part of this dream. And, possibly decorating my own seaside cottage one day. How has your design evolved? I love the process of working with my clients, many of whom become friends. The joy in life is learning from one another. I have so many different influences in my life I feel quite blessed. My evolution in design has grown with my experiences.
3806 Magazine St.
MASTER OF HOME GOODS
NOLA BOARDS & New Orleans Woodworking
Tell us about your business. NOLA Boards designs wooden products for the kitchen, dining room, and home bar. We like to think of our products as functional art. Our focus is on incorporating innovative designs into our products, while using locally sourced woods. Currently countertops and butcher block islands have been our main focus and I am excited to be bringing our pieces to the local market. What excites you about the design world in New Orleans today? What excites me most is that there’s room for everyone. We have an influx of fresh ideas right now and the capacity to all work side by side. Making the city even better is a huge motivator for me and there’s such a positive energy here that I’m excited to see what’s on the horizon. What is your dream project? My dream project is to renovate my own kitchen. After seeing the results of the kitchens we’ve done lately, I’m inspired by the creativity of our clients’ ideas meshing with our own. We have an amazing team of craftsmen that I would love to build it out, but we keep them pretty busy building out the kitchens of New Orleans. How has your design evolved since you began your career? I began my career using a whole different medium, photography. The way I see things has always remained the same and still now with wood; like a photograph and already framed. Every single thing we make is different from each other because of the varying wood grains. I’ve designed our store as if you were walking through an art gallery and I want people to feel a sense of warmth when they walk in.
519 Wilkinson St. Suite 105
MASTER OF INTERIOR DESIGN
The French Mix
Tell us about your business. We are a full-service design business specializing in mid- to high-end interiors. We have a 4000-square foot design showroom in charming Old Covington and a design team of seven. Our look is upscale, transitional, the “mix” of old and new pieces to create interest, chic, refined, elegant. Luxury is comfort. We are all about the customer experience and want the clients to love their home. My first question, when meeting a client, is “how do you want the space to feel?” It is about what they want and how they live. What excites you about the design world in New Orleans? When my clients want something different, when ordinary won’t do versus mass produced. What is your dream project? It can be an entire home or a few rooms, but I love custom because we are creating exactly what they want to complement the space perfectly. Any dimensions, style, and finish can be sourced We have hundreds of fabrics, leathers and wood finishes to create a one-of-a-kind piece or to recreate a piece they were inspired by. All of our draperies and bedding are custom-made locally. We have hand-knotted silk and wool rugs from Nepal, original art and gorgeous lighting, everything to make the room beautiful that looks evolved never contrived. How has your design evolved? It’s evolved to custom and higher-end because I only want to offer clients quality. I want them to have something that their neighbor doesn’t walk in and say “oh I have that too.” We have the retail design showroom open, so they can purchase anything from the floor or set up a design consult with me. We text [and] talk all hours of the day until we find the piece that they love.
228 Lee Lane, Covington
MASTER OF LIGHTING
Tell us about your business. Fischer-Gambino is a premier retailer, located at 637 Royal Street for the last 35 years. It was founded by Patti Fischer, whose 45 years of retail experience has evolved into one of the most exclusive collections of lighting, furniture and decorative art in the southeast. What excites you about the design world in New Orleans today? The average consumer is incredibly informed and exposed to trends. The customer has a vision when they enter the shop. It’s up to us to both to wow them with items that are so cutting edge that they have not yet begun to imagine, and source items that fill their very specific vision. What is your dream project? Honestly, I feel like I am blessed to constantly be working my dream projects. We have an amazing clientele. When a client has great taste and the flexibility to accept my professional advice, the end results are always amazing. How has your design evolved since you began your career? I’ve been working with Patti both buying for the store and designing on projects since 1999. I laugh when we remember my first buying trip and I would say “that is so cool” and Patti would say “let’s go, that’s junk”….so I would say my most significant evolution was to learn to recognize quality and how the smallest details can make the difference in being true to your design or settling for something that “just works”.
637 Royal St.
MASTER OF FURNITURE DESIGN
Tell us about your business. I’m the co-founder and CEO of two companies, Ave Home and Unfolded. Ave Home is a furniture company specializing in handcrafted, historically-inspired furniture. Unfolded is a paint distribution company that manages the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of chalk paint for the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Chalk paint is the easy way to paint your furniture, walls, floors, and accessories. With little to no prep, you can quickly transform your home and create a space that you love. What excites you about the design world in New Orleans today? I’m really excited about all of the artists and designers that live in New Orleans. They are a constant source of inspiration for me. I have met so many like-minded people over the last several years, and I love how encouraging and supportive everyone is of each other. I guess you can attribute that to our southern charm. What is your dream project? My goodness, can I only have one? Impossible. I would love to design the interiors and furnishings for Oprah’s gorgeous mansion in California. I mean how fun would that be. I love her passion for creating a balanced and thoughtful life. I assume she is the same way about her home. How has your design evolved since you began your career? I have always been drawn to the French – from furniture, architecture, to fashion – there is a constant source of beauty that inspires me. My personal style used to be more French Chateau with a small infusion of French Provincial or rustic elements. I would say that I have a much heavier infusion of Parisian Art Deco into the mix these days.
To the Trade: 639 Julia St.,
To the Public: onekingslane.com
MASTER OF ARCHITECTURE
Terri Hogan Dreyer and Ian Dreyer
Tell us about your business. NANO LLC [was] started [in2001] by husband and wife team, Terri and Ian, both graduates of the Tulane School of Architecture. NANO opened with the philosophy of “Detail at Every Scale.” The first projects were primarily residential remodels, boutique commercial jobs and custom furniture. After Katrina, NANO decided to broaden its vision and is now designing multiple municipal, industrial, commercial and residential projects, but our philosophy remains the same. What excites you about the design world in New Orleans today? As a historic city, renowned for its architecture, the Crescent City has always been resistant to change; however, we are excited to see a growing acceptance of contemporary architectural projects. The resulting contrast between the historic and the innovative embodies the transformative nature of our built environment and functional, scientific art form which is the profession of architecture. What is your dream project? A multimedia arts museum or performing arts center including interior arboretum and dining area, vocational school with communal center, K-12 schools, projects using 3-D printing technology, transportation centers and competitions with intense possibilities. How has your design evolved since you began your career? Sustainability was always a concern but has become increasingly important as both our natural resources become ever more limited, and climate change continues to threaten our way of life, especially here in southern, coastal Louisiana. As a result, we give ever more consideration to innovations in materials, mechanical systems and lighting and how they inform design.
432 N. Anthony St., Suite 303
MASTER OF LANDSCAPING
Niki Epstein Designs
Tell us about your business. I design exterior and interior green spaces, with an emphasis on creating one-of-a-kind planters for residential and commercial clients. I also offer interior plant styling and consulting so my clients can greenify their space, whatever the size. What excites you about the design world in New Orleans? I am pretty new to New Orleans, so everything excites me. I am amazed at the number of talented design individuals in a city this size. People are passionate about their homes and their gardens and it inspires me. What is your dream project? My mission on any project is to bring nature into everyday spaces. If I’m still smiling at the end of a 12-hour day, I’d say I’m living my dream. How has your design evolved? I gain more plant knowledge every year and a better understanding of what will grow under certain conditions. Of course, I always listen to my client but if they have unrealistic expectations, I am more confident in offering solutions that will ensure their plantings thrive.
429 Audubon Blvd.