There’s snow covering my deck as I write this, so although the temps were in the 80s last week it’s officially Winter down here in Louisiana, and I’m enjoying being homebound in front of a roaring fire. We’re meant to live in harmony with the seasons, with Winter being the time to go within, reflect and reevaluate the previous year. I am filled with gratitude for all of the wonderful clients, friends and opportunities I’ve had in 2016 and look forward to 2017. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
My clients usually become dear friends and Rob and Missy Couhig are no exception. I’ve been helping them with their home on Audubon Park in New Orleans since the Summer of 2012 when Rob’s sister Owen and I stayed with them after Kerri McCaffety’s “New Orleans New Elegance” book-signing party. By the time we entered their home I’d had just enough wine to tell them what I thought they should do with their house: Stain the floors darker, paint the drab beige walls and replace most of the furniture. I even went so far as to tell them they were "Too old to be living like college students"! Rob still jokingly asks me when I’m coming back to hurl some more insults, so you can imagine how surprised I was when they called to ask me to put my ideas into action. First on the list was to repaint the walls, but when we had barely finished the first room Hurricane Isaac stormed through town ripping a ten foot hole in their ceiling, which ruined walls and buckled the floors. The project immediately grew into a whole house re-do: Replacing and refinishing floors, painting every room, providing new window treatments as well as rugs and furnishings.
The floors were originally yellow oak, so we stained them a light walnut and painted the entrance and up the staircase "Classic Cream" with "Snow" ceilings and trim. Dining Room walls are "Buttercream" and the Living Room wall color is "Classic Marc".
A favorite painting of Missy's (to the right of the French doors) was used as our color inspiration.
The antique mirror and table are from Asphodel Plantation, Rob's family home. Missy was just finishing up her Christmas decorations when we arrived to take photos. In addition to being an expert flower arranger, Missy is also a master gardener.
Before they hired me, Missy had just ordered the sofa and chairs from Ballard Designs and had them in the sunroom overlooking the park. But since this is also the TV room, we had a custom sectional made for it and moved the more formal pieces into the living room. Ken Tibbils designed and built the wall unit to hold stereo equipment as well as the coffee table for the sunroom. Living and dining room rugs are from Nola Rugs in New Orleans. Aimee English of ARE' Customworks fabricated the taffeta curtains for the living and dining rooms.
Sunroom walls overlooking Audubon Park were painted "Edgewood Green" with "Gustavian Grey" ceilings. I use these colors often to help visually and subconsciously connect the space to the outdoors. We had a custom seagrass rug made to cover the tile floor. The sectional sofa is upholstered in Joe Ruggerio's "Meridian" Sunbrella fabric, color - Wren.
I usually don't take years to finish a project. Everything was complete except we had no rugs for the dining and living rooms and felt we needed some pops of color in the way of throw pillows. As much as I was dying to finish their home well over a year ago, they had other projects come up like getting their St. Francisville home ready for the Pilgrimage Home Tour as well as a new business venture. Both Missy and Rob are avid readers and when they travel, they always visit independent bookstores with a dream to open one themselves when they retire. Rob is a successful lawyer with Couhig Partners in New Orleans, and Missy is both an independent insurance benefits counselor as well as a sales associate with Isagenix. As a result, both lead very busy lives and have not retired by any stretch. However, when a building on St. Francisville’s main street became available in the Fall of 2015, Rob surprised Missy by leasing it to become their dream bookstore. In the little over a year since it opened, The Conundrum Books & Puzzles has already become one of the town’s most popular hangouts with lots of book signing events, book club meetings (Reading Between the Wines) and “Story time with Princess Missy” who always wanted to be like the Meg Ryan character in “You’ve Got Mail”. Complete with crown and costume, she is!
Most weekends you can count on The Conundrum having an event which draws locals and tourists alike. Missy's Storytime is a favorite of both local children and their parents.
As many of you know, I helped create Shadetree Inn B&B as well as Harmony House & Melody House, also known as The Bridge B&B. I've often felt I should share my home with others and although I listed my home on Air BnB a couple of years ago, I could never bring myself to rent it out until last October. Since then, I've had three sets of incredibly talented (and somewhat famous) guests and have really enjoyed preparing for their visits. Considering the incredible reviews I've received, I'm thinking I should offer this as a new service: Helping clients turn their spaces into comfortable, rentable B&B properties! Here's a screenshot I just couldn't resist saving of an especially nice review from my very first guests:
I've since had the pleasure of meeting them and they are incredibly lovely folks. Everyone in town is thrilled they've chosen our area for their latest project.
In my last newsletter I mentioned I had a new intern, Hilary Meche, and now that she'll be graduating from interior design school next week, I'm proud to announce that she will become my new associate designer! We've already started working on a new project, Room by Room, which we plan to debut this Spring. So stay-tuned!
Longtime paint customer Sally DeBains won our first contest by liking and sharing our Facebook page "Ellen Kennon Design & Full Spectrum Paints" . Her prize included a set of samples, a color consult with me and three gallons of paint. Liking our Facebook page is the best way to keep up with our upcoming sales and contests. We're also having a paint sale this month, so when you go online to order paint type in "Winter Sale" in the box at checkout to get your discount.
Wishing you all the best for a healthy, prosperous and happy 2017!
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