A plain townhouse becomes lively and livable
“Everything was beige; walls, kitchen cabinets, tiles,” homeowner Susan Nelson Hart said of the townhouse that she and her husband, Robert Hart, bought. Both are physicians at Ochsner Health System and were looking to make New Orleans their full-time home.
The couple, who previously practiced in Baton Rouge for many years, loved the townhouse’s St. Charles Avenue location. Its three stories and 2,500 square feet are perfect for empty nesters, while still accommodating for visiting family. Bonuses were that the relatively new property didn’t require renovation and has secure off-street parking. But Susan was eager to find a decorator who could infuse the space with much needed character.
“I wanted someone young and fresh who could make it look bigger and brighter,” she said.
Living on St. Charles Avenue, where much of Mardi Gras takes place, the couple wanted the house to work for entertaining as well.
Enter design duo Katie Logan and Jensen Killen of Logan Killen Interiors, who were recommended by a colleague of Susan’s.
“We hit it off immediately,” Susan said of meeting the designers.
Known for the original way they blend old and new, Katie and Jensen’s vision for the space was just as immediate.
“They said ‘this place would be great with wallpaper,’” Susan recalled.
The team also knew right away that rich paint colors would need to replace the lackluster beige that reigned throughout.
Storyboards with colors, fabrics and textures followed, and today the tone of the house is indeed set by a leafy wallpaper that begins in the entrance, travels up the stairs and into the dining room, and by paint colors that manage to look bo
th light and cozy.
“Our main goal was to bring warmth to an all beige new construction home, especially since it’s on St. Charles Avenue,” Katie said.
“The fact that it’s on St. Charles Avenue made us feel like going in more of a stately direction, meaning traditional, tailored and high-end,” added Jensen. “The darker trim highlights the architectural features.”
Because the homeowners sold most of their furniture when downsizing from the home where they’d raised their two now-grown sons, Katie and Jensen had the freedom to help the couple start from scratch. Modern light fixtures, classic upholstered pieces and custom designs provide designer polish. Vintage pieces impart a sense of age while speaking to modern trends.
“A lot of our sourcing is antique and vintage, from places like 1st Dibs and Fireside Antiques in Baton Rouge,” Jensen said, who, like Katie, is a Baton Rouge native.
Layering adds to the “collected over time” look, and the comfort and livability that the couple wanted, but is well edited to keep the interior clean and uncluttered. Worn pieces, natural unfinished surfaces of wood and bamboo, ticking stripes, nubby linens, ethnic prints and earthy baskets ground the home with what Katie describes as a “humble element,” a Logan Killen trademark.
The way the designers blended prints is also key to the overall look. Though both are full of lively movement, a large purple version of painter Amanda Tally’s circular flourishes is completely at home over the lush vines of the dining room wallpaper, for instance.
Much like Logan Killen’s three-year-old Magazine Street sto
re, Sunday Shop, which has a name that is synonymous with the look they strive for: “beautiful and easy like a Sunday,” the home is laid-back, easy to sink into and well enjoyed.
“We spend a lot of time in the living room and on the balcony overlooking St. Charles when the weather cooperates,” Susan said. “The sound of the streetcars connects us with the charm of New Orleans. We also have a prime location for every parade.”