Valorie's Bold New Orleans Home

House Tour

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Location: Irish Channel, New Orleans, Louisiana
Size: 2,200 square feet
Years lived in: 9 years; owned

Valorie Hart is fearless when it comes to style. Her bright pink pixie coif, bold wardrobe and oversized eyeglasses, reminiscent of fashion icon Iris Apfel, make clear that this decorator, interior designer and stylist loves to have fun and make a splash. This self-described “New New,” a New Yorker transplanted to New Orleans, treats her home as a design lab, where she dares to test out big ideas with spunk to match her eccentric look.

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In Valorie’s world, decorating is a way of life where nothing is off-limits. Textiles and paper Fornasetti cutouts act as wallpaper; a cow hide becomes a tablecloth. She describes her style as “free and all-inclusive.” Known for her popular design blog The Visual Vamp and her interior design book House Proud, Valorie effortlessly mixes unlikely combinations with ease: modern furniture with antiques, high-end pieces from the likes of Bloomingdales with rusty treasures salvaged from the street. A disco ball hangs from the ceiling in the same room with an antique French settee. Ceiling-to-floor silk drapes in turquoise and lime green dress windows in luxury, while a painter’s drop cloth purchased from a local hardware store hangs as a DIY wall covering.

It’s hard to imagine that this Irish Channel shotgun was “a sad little house” when Valorie and her late husband Alberto bought it nine years ago. The property, used as overflow housing and office space for a girls' orphanage, was cold and drab. It had been renovated by volunteers using a hodgepodge of donated materials. Architecturally, it was nothing special, but to Valorie and Alberto, it was perfect. The infrastructure was solid, the price was right, and the possibilities were endless.

Valorie continues to enjoy exploring these possibilities with a sense of humor, despite a recent unexpected turn of events. She has been living alone since Alberto died suddenly four months ago. “I am picking up the pieces, and my work that I love is a key component,” she explains. On an April afternoon, her dining room table is impeccably set and a banner that reads, “Holy shit, you’re old!” hangs above her banquette. The table's upholstered bench seating was the last project she and Alberto worked on together. She describes the fun she had selecting the perfect china from her collection to dress the table and her outdoor seating area just for my visit. Throwing dinner parties is something she’s always loved. She obviously takes great pride and pleasure in sharing her keen visual eye with others. No matter what happens in life, Valorie’s passion for style will keep her young at heart.

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Free and all-inclusive.

Inspiration: The great decorators of the past: Bill Baldwin, Dorothy Draper, etc., and current decorators, Mario Buatta, Jonathan Adler, Brian Patrick Flynn, Mellisa Ruffty, Howard Slatkin, Jamie Herzlinger, Miles Redd, Nick Olson, Sally Wheat, Jill Sharp Brinson, and Emily Henderson.

Favorite Element: Color.

Biggest Challenge: A small budget.

What Friends Say: "Love your home."

Biggest Embarrassment: Not really an embarrassment, but a regret: That I don't have the money to properly maintain the infrastructure of my house.

Proudest DIY: Painting my house and doing fabric covered walls.

Biggest Indulgence: Silk drapes and professional reupholstery.

Best Advice: Follow your first instincts and let the house tell you what to do. Love your house and it will love you back.

Dream Sources: Paris flea markets, local shops, the internet.

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Resources of Note:


ENTRY

  • Chest - Discoveries, New Orleans
  • Nate Berkus lamps - HSN.com in 2010
  • Vintage mirror - flea market (I painted it white)
  • Drapes - Perch, New Orleans
  • Bamboo shades - Overstock.com
  • Fabric on wall- Joel Dewberry Sparrows from fabric.com
  • Armoire - flea market hand painted with the Union Jack by my late husband Alberto
  • Chandelier - Lowes, spray painted orange by me
  • Art work - replicas of Argentine tango sheet music covers printed by El Bandoneon Barcelona
  • Gold bowl on chest - Eclectic Home, New Orleans
  • Pig with wings - Nadeau, New Orleans (painted gold by me)
  • Bust of lady - flea market (panted orange by me)
  • Table with hooves - Z Gallerie (internet)
  • Slipper chair - eBay
  • Cowhide rug - eBay
  • Paint color - Buffalo by Color Place

LIVING ROOM

  • Camelback sofa - flea market - I had it reupholstered in white faux leather
  • Orange velvet chairs - Home Decorators (internet)
  • Brown velvet chair - flea market and reupholstered
  • Tall pillow with antique figure on brown velvet chair - gift
  • Long white vintage Baker credenza - flea market (I painted it white)
  • Shutters with original vintage paint over credenza were re-purposed from outside of the house
  • Chandelier lantern - Lowes, New Orleans
  • Lamps - Dop Antiques, New Orleans
  • Audrey Painting - Sarah Ashley Longshore, New Orleans
  • Portrait with green background of Michael Pelkey - by Netty Lowak, Key West
  • Coffee table - vintage (purchased from a friend)
  • Sea grass rug - Overstock.com
  • Think Outside of the Box - AKA Stella Gray, New Orleans
  • Foo dog lamp - Foo dog from Pier 1, made into lamp by my husband Alberto
  • Pink dog photograph - Lisa Conrad, Gallery Orange, New Orleans
  • Orange lacquer boxes - West Elm (internet)
  • Chinoiserie candle - Source, New Orleans
  • Toss pillows on sofa - Ikat from Perch, New Orleans; Vintage Billy Baldwin fabric from Brick House Fabrics (internet)
  • Antique demi-lune tables - Karla Katz, New Orleans
  • Vintage wicker vanity used as TV console - Ruby Beets, Sag Harbor New York
  • Marilyn painting - Mario Ortiz, New Orleans
  • Portrait of me - Mats Gustafson, New York
  • Drapes - Perch, New Orleans
  • Bamboo shades - Overstock.com (internet)
  • Paint color Buffalo by Color Place

DINING ROOM

  • "Banquettes" - seats are storage trunks from Overstock.com, backs are upholstered like headboards - fabric from Brick House Fabrics (internet)
  • Pillows on banquette - Modern Market, New Orleans
  • Table - is now vintage, a replica of an antique French table purchased in 1992 at Bloomingdales, New York
  • Chest - vintage 1970s from the flea market and painted by me
  • Trumeau mirror - ABC Carpet, New York
  • Della Robbia lamp -Ballard Design (circa 1992)
  • Green lacquer tray - C. Wonder, New York
  • Vintage Eva Zeisel china - Caravan Finds, New Orleans
  • Sea Grass rug - Overstock.com
  • Cowhides on table - eBay
  • Antler on table - Perch, New Orleans
  • Noguchi style lantern - Internet ($20.)
  • Botanicals - vintage - gift
  • Large glass hurricanes - Restoration Hardware (2005)
  • White candlesticks - vintage from the flea market
  • Etagere - eBay
  • Painting of orange chair - Annechovie (Anne Harwell) (internet)
  • Drapes - Perch, New Orleans
  • Dining chairs - purchased in Spain, reupholstered in white faux leather
  • Bar cart - Ruby Beets, Sag Harbor, New York
  • Banner - Urban Outfitters (internet)
  • Paint color - Studio Beige by Color Place, and custom mixed as Vamp Greige at Sherwin Williams in New Orleans (Magazine Street store)

KITCHEN

  • Old cabinets that were here when we bought the house got new doors made by my husband Alberto
  • Hardware - Discoveries, New Orleans
  • Appliances - Bon Marche, New Orleans
  • Island - Bed, Bath, and Beyond, New Orleans
  • Stone tops - gift from a cabinet company getting rid of old stock - I used the reverse side for a honed look
  • Chinoiserie chandeliers - Wal Mart (internet) 2009
  • Large poppy plate - made by Philip Maberry/Scott Walker (gift)
  • White ironstone - flea market, eBay, antique shops
  • Breakfast table - dragged in off the street on trash day
  • Mirror over fireplace - Caravan Finds, New Orleans
  • Cowhide rug - eBay
  • Paint color - Studio Beige by Color Place, and custom mixed as Vamp Greige at Sherwin Williams in New Orleans (Magazine Street store)

BEDROOM

  • Headboard from Country Door (internet) upholstered in Schumacher Nanjing
  • Fabric covered wall - green linen from fabric.com
  • Kelly bag prints - Annechovie (Anne Harewell, internet)
  • Toss pillows - Eclectic Home, New Orleans
  • Coverlet - Pottery Barn Teen (internet)
  • Ikat throw - Discoveries, New Orleans
  • Monogram pillow cases - shelbyboutique.com
  • Nightstands - vintage flea market, painted green by me
  • Ovo lamps from lampsplus.com
  • Bench vintage from flea market, slip covered in Schumacher Nanjing
  • Flower ball chandelier - Perch, New Orleans
  • Chaise lounge - HSN.com in 2009
  • Toss pillows on chaise - Eclectic Home, New Orleans
  • Drapes - Perch, New Orleans
  • Dresser - Spiegel catalog 1992 (I painted it white)
  • Mirror - vintage - The Garage, New Orleans
  • Lamp on dresser - Modern Market, New Orleans
  • Paint color Studio Beige by Color Place, and custom mixed as Vamp Greige at Sherwin Williams in New Orleans (Magazine Street store)
  • Benjamin Moore Kelly Green was used to paint pattern of over sized diamonds done by Mitchell Settoon

OFFICE

  • Vintage desk - Hotel Liquidators, New Orleans (I painted it Sherwin Williams Blue Mosque and covered the top with turquoise faux leather from fabric.com)
  • Kartell Ghost Chair - eBay
  • Goat skin on chair - eBay
  • Vintage lamps - eBay
  • Chandeliers are vintage - The Garage, New Orleans
  • Fornasetti "wallpaper" in the TV nook - I made it myself with paper cut-outs of Fornasetti plates
  • Lampshades - Lowes and Steinmart, New Orleans
  • "The Royal Couple" painting - Louis St. Lewis, Gallery Orange, New Orleans
  • Over dyed rug - eBay
  • Drapes - I made them from left over fabric and clip rings
  • Wall fabric - painters drop cloths - Ace Hardware, New Orleans
  • "Liz" by Andy Warhol was clipped from a magazine and framed
  • Disco Ball - eBay
  • Antique French settee - eBay. upholstered in white faux leather
  • Pillows on settee - Target and Dwell Studio
  • Small white modern sofa - eBay
  • Pillows on sofa - custom, and Dwell Studio
  • Platner style chair - InStyle Modern (internet) upholstered in Italian silk remnant; stripe pillow - Eclectic Home, New Orleans
  • Vintage end tables - eBay
  • Paint color - Ombre wall, Sherwin Williams Forward Fuchsia, Exuberant Pink, and Vivacious Pink. painted by Mitchell Settoon

DRESSING ROOM

  • Cowhide rug - eBay
  • Bench - JCPenney (internet) reupholstered in white patent leather
  • Vanity vintage flea market
  • Vanity lamps vintage - Ruby Beets, Sag Harbor, New York; lamp shades from Lowes, New Orleans
  • Kartell Mademoiselle Chair - eBay
  • Damask print curtain - eBay
  • Armoire - vintage (gift from a friend)
  • Stacked vintage nightstands flea market
  • Vintage mirror on top of stack - Ruby Beets, Sag Harbor New York
  • Vintage photographs are of my mother
  • Lady saint paintings are vintage and from flea markets and antique shops
  • Skeleton vintage anatomy charts - flea market in Lisbon, Portugal
  • Chandelier vintage - The Garage, New Orleans, lamp shades Steinmart, New Orleans
  • Hanging system - Home Depot
  • Paint color - Kilz white

PATIO

  • Chairs and table - Martha Stewart at Home Depot
  • Fabric on pillows - Waverly at fabric.com
  • Greek Key outdoor rug by Fab - eBay
  • Ceramic garden stools - eBay
  • Majolica plates - flea market, antique shops, eBay
  • Plants and containers - Home Depot
  • Tiki Umbrella - eBay
  • Green chairs - Winn Dixie Supermarket, New Orleans
  • Pillows on green chair Trina Turk fabric - Etsy
  • Stool vintage flea market
  • @ sign - Urban Outfitters (internet)
  • Pink Buddha painting - I did it
  • Paint color on door - "Oops" color on sale shelf at Home Depot
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Thanks, Valorie!

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(Image credits: Jacqueline Marque)