Shawn O’Brien helped Aaron Shipper with the condominium’s paint and fabric colors. A large poster by Paul Colin from the 1930s of Andre Reynaud at the piano dominates one wall of the living room.
Aaron Shipper is a modest man whose
exquisite taste belies his humility. His handsome Warehouse/Arts District condominium gives him away. From the uniformly matted and framed black and white photos throughout the house, to the furnishings such as the Le Corbusier chaise lounge in the bedroom to the classic 1920s Wagenfeld desk lamp from the Museum of Modern Art in the living room, the secret is out: Aaron Shipper is a world-class gentleman who knows a thing or two about interiors.
Situated in a circa-1906 building, Shipper’s upper floor, corner condominium is surrounded by original, oversize windows that overlook the Riverwalk and the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on one side and the Warehouse District on another. The windows create expansive vistas, but a visitor’s eye is drawn to the unencumbered space within, which Shipper describes as a mix of classic modern and contemporary. Still, one cannot help but notice a true American Art Deco influence, exemplified by the owner’s collections of 1930s cocktail shakers, cameras, and salt and pepper shakers, among other objects. All are neatly displayed in living room floor-to-ceiling shelving constructed by local firm Axis Construction.
The condominium has a loft-like feel, with the large living room and dining room as one. The blinds throughout are by RJ Blinds by Design.
“I like Art Deco from the whole streamlined machine age,” Shipper says. “I especially like the ‘30s and ‘40s, where irons, vacuum cleaners and cocktail shakers were designed like rocket ships—people were excited about discovering the future.”
Shipper’s surroundings pay homage to that period when America set its sights on what might be in the years to come. His Foscarini orbital floor lamp in the living room, Noguci amoeba-shaped coffee table and the giant framed 1940s poster by Nicklaus Stoecklin all contribute to a whimsical, yet chic expression of Shipper’s own sensibilities.
Shipper, who lived most of his life in Manhattan, says he has always lived vertically, so the upper floor space fits his residential history. In the 1980s he lived in a Manhattan loft with big windows, later moving to a traditional New York apartment on Park Avenue, also Art Deco in its design. “This place is a mixture of both of those,” he says. “I was looking for a place that would be soothing, serene and calming, although I must admit this space turned out to be a little bit more Zen than I had imagined it to be.”
The Le Corbusier LC2 leather chairs are from Ray Langley Interiors, as is the Ligne Roset “Rasta” rug. The Noguchi coffee table is from Design within Reach.
Shipper has lived in New Orleans for about five years, having accepted a position as CEO of an insurance company. Like so many other transplants, he is now hopelessly consumed in the city’s embrace. “For an outsider, the city is interesting, complicated and has so many subtleties and textures,” he says. “It is a place you can’t quite figure out, but it has much in common with new York. Both are eccentric places, have fabulous food and great music, and of course, the architecture. And, I can’t help remembering what Bob Dylan says—there’s that ‘melancholy in the air.’ ”
Melancholy is not evident in Shipper’s expansive, airy condo. The ebony-stained wood floors in the living areas serve as a platform for neutral tone furnishings, including several Ligne Roset pieces from Ray Langley Interiors. Light is softly filtered throughout, via opaque Solarveil shades. A Ligne Roset Rasta rug frames the living room sitting area, which also includes two Le Corbusier black leather chairs chairs and stylish Classicon tables.
A view of the master bedroom and the master bathroom from part of the entryway, which is adorned with photographs by Bernice Abbott, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Andre Kertesz, Jennifer Shaw, Eudora Welty and by the condominium owner himself, Aaron Shipper. The black and white rug is by Angela Adams.
In the study, Shipper chose a vintage tanker desk and steno chair, a Nelson Bench coffee table, and a Ligne Roset Smalla sofa bed topped with Eames pillows from the Museum of Modern Art. Shipper is clearly all about two design elements: quality and details.
That extends itself even to the spacious master bath, where a large frameless glass shower allows views of the distinctive Rhol fixtures and Jerusalem stone tiles. Shipper’s kitchen combines Sub-Zero and Viking appliances, set amidst a brushed stainless-steel tile backsplash, stainless-steel countertops, granite floors and Wood-Mode cabinets from Cabinets by Design.
When Shipper first saw the condominium it was decorated in classic New Orleans style. Through his own eye he saw something more for this place. “The previous owners had lots of antiques and crown moldings, chandeliers, heavy draperies of purple and gold,” he says. But my sense of this space was that it needed to be returned to what it was—which was a loft space that would not pretend it was a house on St. Charles Avenue. When all is said and done, it’s not so much a way a home looks as the way it feels that is important.”
The master bathroom shower is tiled in Antico Stone’s Jerusalem stone. The Rohl shower feature in nickel is from Southland Plumbing Supply, the frameless glass enclosure is by Hesco Glass and the teak shower bench is from Waterworks.
The study also doubles as a bedroom when Aaron Shipper’s sons visit—the “Smalla” couch by Ligne Roset can become a bed. Vintage tanker desk and steno chairs by Steelcase are from Sonrisa Furniture. The Nelson Bench coffee table is from Circa 50 and the Eileen Gray for Classicon rug is from Ray Langley Interiors.
The kitchen positively shimmers with the Ann Sacks brushed stainless-steel tile backsplash and stainless-steel countertops by Joly Metal Works. The floor is granite from Carr Stone & Tile. The Wood-Mode cabinets—fitted with Becker Beschlaege Modern handles from My Knobs—are from Cabinets by Design. The “Chicago” faucet is from Southland Plumbing Supply.
Colorful Fiesta ware adorns the dining table, which like the chairs are “Normandy” by Ligne Roset. The flower photographs are by Aaron Shipper. Troendle Floor Company did the ebony-stained oak floors.
Three black and white photographs by Aaron Shipper hang above a B&B Italian buffet that’s topped with vintage chromeware.
Cabinets built by Axis Construction hold Aaron Shipper’s many vintage collections, as well as more modern-day CDs. The Ligne Roset sofa and club chairs are from Ray Langley Interiors.
The master bedroom’s clean lines are reflected in the furniture: the Ligne Roset “Anna” bed, the night tables and bureaus, as well as the rug by Eileen Gray for Classicon, all are from Ray Langley Interiors; the black leather “Cinema” chairs are from ICF Group, and the “Akari” by Noguchi lamp is from Unica Home. The sconces are from Urban Archeology.