Well ParedKelly loves to shop Magazine Street for her combination of antique and new pieces. The square metal table and mirrored cubes used as coffee tables are from Perch, the red Chinese table from Bush Antiques, the art from Cole Pratt Gallery, the gold pouf from Dosa and the chair from Interior Designs. The rugs in the house are from Brown Damare. Lola, the dachshund, relaxes on a furry rug.

Kelly and William McCartney have a contagious enthusiasm for New Orleans and a knack for making houseguests feel immediately at ease. One minute they’re directing visitors to Le Beau Plantation, a majestic ghost of a once grand Mississippi River plantation house, just two blocks away, and the next they’re introducing them to the messy joy of Kelly’s Famous French Fry Po-boy, a decadently delicious sandwich, which the Arabi Food Store named after Kelly, who grew up nearby. Despite the devastation the couple experienced after Hurricane Katrina, it’s easy to see why they are happy to be back in their charming cottage and their historic neighborhood. It’s also easy to see why they refurbished their home with the same kind of simple, comfortable ease that characterized it before the storm.

After Katrina, many people who lost their belongings found themselves drawn to a new “less is more” aesthetic, an approach that helped keep replacement costs down, helped take the sting out of the thought of future losses and enabled them to travel light. But when floodwaters invaded the McCartney’s then 88-year-old cottage and most of their possessions ended up in a mangled heap on the street, the couple didn’t have to rethink the way they furnished their home. Long before the storm, their style of choice was open, airy and minimalistic—a cool combination of cottage shabby chic, 1940s Hollywood glamour, streamlined modernism and barefoot beachiness. It’s a look that reflects their appreciation for both urbane sophistication and relaxing seaside destinations.

Well ParedSubway tile, granite and travertine are mixed with walls painted in Benjamin Moore “Grant Beige” and stainless-steel appliances in the kitchen

“I believe you need to buy what you love,” says Kelly, who worked for a chic Uptown boutique specializing in casually elegant home furnishings and clothing before becoming a high-school teacher. “I always tell people ‘if you love it, buy it and it will work.”

Well ParedSimplicity reigns in the dining room, furnished only with a metal table, a rustic wood dining table, four slip covered chairs, an abstract painting by Paul Tarver and a George Nelson pendant light fixture from Design Within Reach.

Kelly’s love of design began in childhood. While growing up, she rearranged her room so frequently that her father used to tell her she should own a moving company. Little did anyone know that she was honing a skill that would come in handy after Katrina. Surrounded by loss—most of Kelly’s family lived in Old Arabi and she taught at Chalmette High School—Kelly was initially overwhelmed by the prospect of starting over. But Kelly’s penchant for keeping things simple and the ability to avoid overthinking design decisions helped her navigate the process quickly. The fact that the couple had hired painters and contractors in recent years prior to the storm was also a plus. Though the  house—originally a double shotgun built in 1917—was already renovated when they bought it, they put their own stamp on it with a neutral background palette of bone white and tailored touches like plantation shutters. After the storm, the task of making the house their own was far more involved. This time, while living in a FEMA trailer, they gutted it down to the frame. Then, following the same footprint, they opened the space by removing doors, reconfigured the layout of both the kitchen/den and master bath, and brought in a mix of slick contemporary surfaces and fixtures. “We love the outside look of a shotgun, but we wanted the inside to be updated, and fun and unexpected,” says William, a financial planner with an eye for detail. You don’t usually find things like subway tiles and travertine floors in a shotgun, but you don’t want to live like your grandpa did either.”

Well ParedThe Asian chest near the front door was the first purchase that Kelly and William made when they began replacing things after the storm. Kelly uses it to store homey luxuries like scented candles and soaps. The metallic pouf from Dosa gives Lola a leg up for a better view.

“We wanted it to be modern, but not too modern,” adds Kelly. “We wanted it to be a softer modern. I like light and openness and I’m very partial to white.”

Inspiration for the couple’s serenely breathable cottage came from a variety of places. Kelly’s maternal grandmother’s meticulous style helped shape her love of design, while William’s appreciation of his surroundings was influenced by his father, an architect who knew Frank Lloyd Wright. (One of the couples most cherished and irreplaceable possessions destroyed by the flood was a circa 1958 photograph of William A. McCartney III with Wright.) “I defer to Kelly,” says William in typically modest fashion. “If she tells me to move something, I pick it up and move it. That’s my design style.”

“He’s very laid back,” agrees Kelly. “He lets me be creative. But we do go to antique stores together and if I’m unsure about something, he tells me honestly what he thinks and he’s usually right.”

The McCartneys, who made most of their purchases for the house along Magazine Street, also drew on ideas that they’d come across in Florida communities like Rosemary Beach and Water Color, which they visit four or five times a year. Aqueous shades of blue, seashells, and natural fibers and materials—such as linen, sisal, jute and stone—are found throughout the house, as are artworks from Cole Pratt Gallery and from Kelly’s circle of artistic friends.

Well ParedA chest-top vignette of organic shapes and images plays off the blues, pinks and greens of the bedroom linens. The chest is from Interior Designs and the lamp from Perch.

In the end, making a shell of a house back into a cocoon of a home wasn’t just about creating a calm, pared-down look. It was also about once again imbuing the space with a very personal touch. “You draw on ideas from all over the place,” says William. “Then you melt it all down and make it your own.”

Well ParedKelly enters her newly renovated home. Though flooded after Katrina, the McCartneys’ home is light and airy once again. Because the wooden floors had
a drain and no subflooring underneath, they remained intact and just had to be refinished.

Kelly and William McCartney have a contagious enthusiasm for New Orleans and a knack for making houseguests feel immediately at ease. One minute they’re directing visitors to Le Beau Plantation, a majestic ghost of a once grand Mississippi River plantation house, just two blocks away, and the next they’re introducing them to the messy joy of Kelly’s Famous French Fry Po-boy, a decadently delicious sandwich, which the Arabi Food Store named after Kelly, who grew up nearby. Despite the devastation the couple experienced after Hurricane Katrina, it’s easy to see why they are happy to be back in their charming cottage and their historic neighborhood. It’s also easy to see why they refurbished their home with the same kind of simple, comfortable ease that characterized it before the storm.

Well ParedThe McCartneys took out a wall between the kitchen and what was previously a second bedroom to make one large, open space for the kitchen and den.

After Katrina, many people who lost their belongings found themselves drawn to a new “less is more” aesthetic, an approach that helped keep replacement costs down, helped take the sting out of the thought of future losses and enabled them to travel light. But when floodwaters invaded the McCartney’s then 88-year-old cottage and most of their possessions ended up in a mangled heap on the street, the couple didn’t have to rethink the way they furnished their home. Long before the storm, their style of choice was open, airy and minimalistic—a cool combination of cottage shabby chic, 1940s Hollywood glamour, streamlined modernism and barefoot beachiness. It’s a look that reflects their appreciation for both urbane sophistication and relaxing seaside destinations.

“I believe you need to buy what you love,” says Kelly, who worked for a chic Uptown boutique specializing in casually elegant home furnishings and clothing before becoming a high-school teacher. “I always tell people ‘if you love it, buy it and it will work.”

Kelly’s love of design began in childhood. While growing up, she rearranged her room so frequently that her father used to tell her she should own a moving company. Little did anyone know that she was honing a skill that would come in handy after Katrina. Surrounded by loss—most of Kelly’s family lived in Old Arabi and she taught at Chalmette High School—Kelly was initially overwhelmed by the prospect of starting over. But Kelly’s penchant for keeping things simple and the ability to avoid overthinking design decisions helped her navigate the process quickly. The fact that the couple had hired painters and contractors in recent years prior to the storm was also a plus. Though the  house—originally a double shotgun built in 1917—was already renovated when they bought it, they put their own stamp on it with a neutral background palette of bone white and tailored touches like plantation shutters. After the storm, the task of making the house their own was far more involved. This time, while living in a FEMA trailer, they gutted it down to the frame. Then, following the same footprint, they opened the space by removing doors, reconfigured the layout of both the kitchen/den and master bath, and brought in a mix of slick contemporary surfaces and fixtures. “We love the outside look of a shotgun, but we wanted the inside to be updated, and fun and unexpected,” says William, a financial planner with an eye for detail. You don’t usually find things like subway tiles and travertine floors in a shotgun, but you don’t want to live like your grandpa did either.”

Well ParedThe bathroom’s seamless, neutral background of travertine is livenedup with a painting by Jeffrey Stolier and a pink leather pouf from JohnDerian. Plantation shutters provide privacy and filter light.

“We wanted it to be modern, but not too modern,” adds Kelly. “We wanted it to be a softer modern. I like light and openness and I’m very partial to white.”

Inspiration for the couple’s serenely breathable cottage came from a variety of places. Kelly’s maternal grandmother’s meticulous style helped shape her love of design, while William’s appreciation of his surroundings was influenced by his father, an architect who knew Frank Lloyd Wright. (One of the couples most cherished and irreplaceable possessions destroyed by the flood was a circa 1958 photograph of William A. McCartney III with Wright.) “I defer to Kelly,” says William in typically modest fashion. “If she tells me to move something, I pick it up and move it. That’s my design style.”

“He’s very laid back,” agrees Kelly. “He lets me be creative. But we do go to antique stores together and if I’m unsure about something, he tells me honestly what he thinks and he’s usually right.”

Well ParedThe McCartneys, who made most of their purchases for the house along Magazine Street, also drew on ideas that they’d come across in Florida communities like Rosemary Beach and Water Color, which they visit four or five times a year. Aqueous shades of blue, seashells, and natural fibers and materials—such as linen, sisal, jute and stone—are found throughout the house, as are artworks from Cole Pratt Gallery and from Kelly’s circle of artistic friends.

In the end, making a shell of a house back into a cocoon of a home wasn’t just about creating a calm, pared-down look. It was also about once again imbuing the space with a very personal touch. “You draw on ideas from all over the place,” says William. “Then you melt it all down and make it your own.”