Down to the Wire
Envy Interiors transforms an uptown home in one week with eye-popping results
When homeowners Kristin and Chris Smith hired their friends Marsha Baker, Stacey Davis and Stacy Johnson of Envy Interiors in Baton Rouge to give the Uptown house they’d recently purchased a ground-floor refresh, they agreed to move out so the designers could move in. “We did the install in a week,” says Baker, noting that the move-in agreement also included babysitting the couple’s two lovable German Shorthaired Pointers. “It was down to the wire, and yes, there was wine involved.”
Of course, three to four months of prep work went into the makeover. Having renovated their previous house, Kristin, a personal trainer and Pilates instructor, and Chris, vice president of PIMCO Investment Management, had a good idea of what they wanted, so Kristin presented a few images to get the ball rolling. She requested a mix of classic and funky, easily changeable pops of color and a bold powder room with a New Orleans flavor. Kristin also wanted to avoid prints that would compete with their art collection. “We both really love original art and wanted our art to be the focal point of our home,” says Kristin.
The Envy team texted Kristin with choices of items to further zero in on her aesthetic, but the majority of the design work was done behind the scenes with the owners’ blessings. “They totally trusted us,” says Baker. “They were full in.”
When the time came, the designers lined up painters, movers, sanders, electricians, wallpaper hangers, and carpet installers and the Smiths decamped to the Virgin Islands. Working over the din of the sanding being done upstairs and all the way through the afternoon of the Smiths’ return date, the designers placed every element of the redecoration, from window treatments and wall color to rugs and accessories.
“Having to do so much in such a short amount of time pushes you,” says Baker, who shopped local sources for finishing touches such as plants. Due to flight delays, the late-night reveal was done via FaceTime. But none of the drama was lost. “I cried,” says Kristin, who loved the result.
“Kristin has a great eye, but Marsha and Stacey and Stacy brought what she envisioned to life,” says Chris.
The Smiths say they kept every single accessory used to stage the house for the reveal.
Originally built in the 1920s, the house had classic bones and a traditional layout. There is a formal dining room and a living room unlike many of today’s new builds where living spaces are combined. In the 1950s, an addition in the rear of the house incorporated classic midcentury modern details such as exposed beams, clerestory windows and terrazzo floor. Wide casement openings, an updated kitchen and baths, and an elegant lap pool were also part of the house’s appeal, leaving the Smiths to concentrate on décor only.
The color palette was inspired by the clients’ art, which is prominently displayed and includes works by David Harouni, Tony Mose, Louis DeAngelo and Moffitt Aycock. The dining room is the exception. Rather than painting over its deep chocolate walls, the designers highlighted a single wall with metallic-accented paper and added custom drapery of metallic linen.
“In the dining room, our goal was to complement the gorgeous wallpaper with equally regal drapes,” says Johnson, who specializes in window treatments. We chose a gold metallic linen for the classic pinch pleat panels and to give them the perfect Midas touch we added an exquisite metallic beaded trim.”
As they did throughout the house, they also added a dramatic light fixture — in this case an organic crystal wand branch chandelier.
Other standout features include a persimmon wall in the keeping room, a persimmon and metallic gold damask-patterned wallpaper in the powder room, and a bar room that the designers created out of an awkward transition area between the keeping room and living room. The Smiths love to entertain and use it frequently. “We often do jobs piece by piece, but this was so much fun because it was all done at once,” says Davis. “It’s the house I’m probably most proud of because I think we went out on a limb and we made them so happy.”