HOMETOWN: New Orleans

Creole Cottage Uptown New Orleans

Creole Cottage Uptown New Orleans

The neighborhoods of New Orleans are filled with historic houses that reflect more than 100 years of both building styles and personal preferences.  These homes define the City’s architectural character; their dense texture, patterns, and colors provide a “visual” that is both distinctive and innately pleasing.  Color is everywhere, and each neighborhood offers an array of paint schemes–some successful, some purely eccentric, and some that appear to be the product of competition for the brightest or loudest house in town.

Most people use a palette of two or three colors to define the body of the house and distinguish architectural elements such as shutters, brackets, windows, and doors. While this may be the conventional (and historically correct) approach, the use of a single color on all elements can be at once elegant and refined.  Smaller houses lend themselves particularly well to this treatment.  It’s not as easy as you might think to pick the right color, even if you’re using only one.

One of my favorite mono-color houses is painted a pure, bright white.  While it has a modernizing effect on the home’s Victorian details, the whole immediately reads as sculptural–resonating to the eye with both the white marble statutes and temples from antiquity and with the white works of Louise Nevelson.  The white paint covers all the elements of the house and, in one sense, equalizes them.  An impression of sameness gives way almost immediately to nuance as the play of light and shadow distinguishes and animates the forms.  The paint used on this house is Lucite Paint, Semigloss, “White”.  You could also consider Benjamin Moore’s “Super White” for this brilliant look.

One further note on context:  This lovely Victorian cottage sits on a corner surrounded by small, closely manicured boxwood hedges.  The contrast of dark green landscape and bright white architecture is refreshingly simple.

Louise Nevelson Sculpture and Bracket and Shutters on Creole Cottage

Louise Nevelson Sculpture – Architectural ornament on Creole Cottage

White Holiday Tree Painted White
Holiday Tree Painted White


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