Name: Tiffany Napper
Location: Uptown; New Orleans, Louisiana
Size: 1,400 square feet
Years lived in: 5 years; Owned
When Tiffany Napper was house hunting in New Orleans five years ago, she couldn't get her mind off the first place she saw. The little white shotgun, located near the Mississippi River, was previously owned by a 93-year-old woman who had been born in the house and lived there until she died. It had drop ceilings, faux wood paneling, and dirty wall-to-wall carpeting. The narrow 1,400-square-foot structure also boasted a dark galley kitchen, one tiny bathroom, and four small bedrooms sandwiched together without a hallway...
“My real estate agent thought I was joking,” Tiffany says, after she asked to go back to the house for a another look. “When I first walked in, I saw the potential and couldn’t let go of that idea,” she explains. Tiffany returned to the house with a video camera, then went straight to a nearby coffee shop to get to work. She sketched plans to reconfigure the cluttered building into the airy two-bedroom, two-bathroom space she now calls home.
It’s not surprising that Tiffany was up for the challenge of a major renovation. She has been witnessing the transformation of spaces since she was a child. Her parents owned a flooring business for years and tackled many ambitious projects, and their creative spirit rubbed off on her. “I’ve always had a really strong vision when it comes to design and aesthetics,” she explains. Unexpected elements, like the hardwood flooring on the kitchen ceiling and the sliding pocket doors that open to the guest room, are a testament to this.
A key part of Tiffany’s redesign is the large combination office and living space at the very front of the house. A striking brick fireplace, once hidden in a closet, serves as the centerpiece. One side of the bright and spacious room has a sleek row of white built-in cabinets and the other has two cozy seating areas, an art wall, and a hanging swing chair.
The casual and inspiring atmosphere became the launchpad for Tiffany’s two businesses: Bats on Strings, a public relations and marketing firm for musicians and creative artists, and a handbag line called Flying Fox. The little white shotgun that was once desperately in need of new life became a place where fresh ideas are born. Tiffany ran the businesses out of her home for three years before moving the operations to a rented office space, which has her unmistakable visual stamp all over it. “Now, for the first time since I renovated, my home is just my home. It’s my sanctuary, and it feels really great,“ she says with a smile.
Apartment Therapy Survey:My Style: Modern meets sentimental. I love to start with a fresh palette and mix contemporary with vintage (particularly family heirlooms) to create an environment that feels completely individual.
Inspiration: Travel, years and years of studying my mother’s home décor magazines, and beautifully curated Pinterest boards.
Favorite Element: The brick fireplace that serves as the centerpiece of the living room. I also love the Heart Pine floors, which were stained deep ebony to create a rich chocolate shade that sets the tone for the flooring throughout the house.
Biggest Challenge: Working within the narrow, rectangular framework of a New Orleans shotgun house. My house was originally deemed a shotgun house because there was no hallway; you had to move from room to room to make your way through the house. My plan from Day 1 was to add in a hallway to give the bedrooms privacy. I also turned an old porch into a master bathroom, but it required moving a foundation wall, which was definitely not in the original plans – or budget!
What Friends Say: “Your space is so creative and welcoming!” And “Is that wood on the ceiling?”
Biggest Embarrassment: The layer of dust on my outdoor oasis, including my magical little swing bed. I saw a similar one on the cover of Coastal Living magazine a few years ago and immediately put the plans in motion to have one built. But the truth is, I’m too lazy to wash the pillows and sheets on a regular basis!
Proudest DIY: The turquoise chairs in my kitchen and guest bedroom, which were found buried deep in the tool shed upon purchase of the house. Some elbow grease and a few coats of blue-green paint (the same color as my front door) made them feel fresh and new. I love that they remind me of the home’s history.
Biggest Indulgence: When creating my home office space, I incorporated an extra large pullout shelf at my desk to hold my Yamaha keyboard. My hope was that if I made it easy to practice, I would! It has taken me almost 5 years, but I’m finally spending a little time playing every week.
Best Advice: If you don’t love it, don’t bring it into your home. That may require patience, but it makes for a more purposeful, sentimental place to call home.
Dream Sources: The untapped French Quarter or Lower Garden District, Estate Sales, Tini (a remarkable vintage store in Los Angeles), West Elm,
Michele Varian (a dream home design store in SoHo)
PAINT & COLORS
- Sherwin Williams: Reflecting Pool (front door)
- Sherwin Williams: Zircon (most walls, ceiling in Master BR)
- Sherwin Williams: Summit Gray (accent wall in Guest BR)
- Sherwin Williams: Pure White, bathrooms and Master BR
- Dress form – gifted from my Aunt Deana, under the oath that I will call her Dora and treat her well
- Grey chairs – Overstock.com
- Ladder – Vintage
- White desk chair – Overstock.com
- Metal feathers on the Mood Board – A.K.A. Stella Gray
- Cabinets – custom configuration of Wright’s Cabinets in Poplar, painted Pure White
- Mirror on brick fireplace – custom built using the house’s original barge board that was torn out during the renovation.
- Leather Hamilton Sofa – West Elm
- Coffee table – Craigslist
- Beacon Floor Lamp – CB2
- Rugs – FLOR
- Guitar and guitalele – Yamaha
- Swing chair – Pier 1
- Ouija board – inherited from my mother
- Gallery wall – an eclectic gathering of artwork, ranging from New Orleans painter Rebecca Rebouché to a broken trumpet found at a garage sale, some prints from Urban Outfitter,s and a deer head from a taxidermist in my hometown of Ruston, LA.
• Table – Inherited from my grandmother
• Turquoise chairs – Original to the house, with some DIY enhancement
• Acrylic chairs – Ikea
• Globe pendants – West Elm
• Mardi Gras photograph – New Orleans yard sale
• Black and white still life– Freshman year art project by yours truly
• Lots of thrifted wooden bowls and vases
• Le Creuset teapot – Le Creuset
• Kitchen Aid professional grade mixer – Amazon.com
• Jadeite glass cake stand – P.O.S.H. Chicago
• Bedding: West Elm
• Artwork by bed: Rebecca Rebouche and Varg Vargas
• Dresser and armoire: Scandinavia Inc
• Wicker chest – Inherited from grandmother
• Towel ring - West Elm (spray painted silver)
• Chloe painting by Haley Gaberlavage
• Dressers – remnants from the original homeowners
• Sheepskin rug gifted from a New Zealand friend
• Pillows – West Elm and H&M
• Teak towel rods and ring– West Elm
- Mirror – custom built using the house’s original barge board that was torn out during the renovation
- Cabinets – Wright’s Cabinets in Poplar, painted Pure White
- Doorknobs – Anthropologie
- Light fixtures – outdoor wall lights from Lowe’s
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*Re-edited from a tour previously published.