A 1930s Shotgun in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward Is Colorful, Modern

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The exterior of a white house with teal doors

Jovanca Maitland has owned this house for less than a year: This historic 1930s-style shotgun home has so much original detailing like barge-wood boards, exposed brick fireplaces, and high ceilings that pull the sunlight into the dining room. It was all intentionally designed to keep these aesthetics in place. I am a mother of two young men, one in college and one in high school.

I am an award-winning event producer who has long planned events in the city of New Orleans. I love the diversity of the people, the music, the food, the art in the streets, and the colorful designs of the houses from the French Quarter to the Garden District and now my area, The Lower Ninth Ward. It was my dream goal to purchase property here. I partnered with an amazing interior designer, Jazzy Matthews of the Jazzy Project.

She sat with me to hear my vision and to understand (and see!) my personal style. From there, she combined colors like peach blossom, sundried tomato, teal, antique white, and yellow into the existing natural wood finish of the house. I said to her that the outside of the house is turquoise and with New Orleans being such a colorful city let’s use color to our advantage. She used gorgeous wallpaper from Milton & King as the statement piece as soon as you enter the home with brush gold baroque frames to frame sections of the wallpaper displayed in varying heights. It is absolutely stunning!!!

She added a pop of red and teal in the furniture with beautiful accent rugs from Ruggable.

We were very thoughtful in every aspect of the design process. I said we must use as many local vendors, including Black-owned and woman-owned, as possible; she then went to work with Threadz Nola to create custom pillows for the living room’s tomato red sofa and my main bedroom headboard. She sat with the owners of Disco Warehouse to custom build my dining room table along with many other antique-style dressers and wood-mirrored pieces. She worked with Bywater Framing to custom frame artwork by Terrence Osborne and B Mike of Studio BE.

Specialty furniture came from local stores like Arhaus; Merchant House; Nadeau; and more. The house has pieces from local used furniture stores and consignment shops as well as a rug and two tables shipped directly from my trip to Morocco. I am grateful for the entire New Orleans team most significantly the realtor Courtney who found my dream home. From the contractor, Cedric Smith, who did elaborate to small repairs to the wallpaper installer, I can’t forget all the local technicians.

This home was made a home by all of them.

I wanted this home to reflect color palettes that I would not normally choose on my own. I wanted it to feel so bright that when I walked inside, I would feel inspired, creative, joyful, proud of myself, and peace in my heart. I am a modern girl who wears solid palettes. I am surrounded by noise of work, family, and grew up surrounded by the natural noise of a skyscraping city. I wanted this house to be silent but loud — a reflection of my strong personality and perseverance. The coffee table books are of fashion (the industry where my career began), Black models, and the history of New Orleans homes. There are Top Chef cookbooks displayed in the kitchen along with plates and cups shipped from Morocco. I have one art piece, called Bliss, that I just had to have if not for its name alone! It spoke to how I feel. This home is me all the way and then some.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: A Modern Antique Statement Piece

What is your favorite room and why? That’s a hard one! I love the backyard. The previous owner had turf and I thought that was so smart, so you’re not stressed out about mowing the lawn. So, we kept it as such so it would be low maintenance. The landscaper demolished, rebuilt, and polished a stronger deck. They then planted low maintenance greenery for me. It’s so quiet and full of shade bringing respite to a hot day. My other happy place is my bedroom with a private full bathroom. It has all my Moroccan pieces and extra special touches like lanterns and a custom-built walk-in closet with tons of shelves. It was two closets connected by a wall that the designer suggested knocking down to open it up. There’s also the office bedroom I can’t exclude from my faves because of the versatile day bed and unfinished looking desk with the event chair aka Ghost Chair! Okay all the rooms are my faves!

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I had all these wires, chords and the modem sitting on the floor, and I didn’t know how to “hide” them. It was an eyesore facing my gorgeous wallpaper design, so my designer suggested this cute wall décor piece that you put all this stuff inside and no one knows what’s happening!

Any advice for creating a home you love? Let go of control or at least a lot of it. Because I plan events, I am used to controlling all aspects of the process. But I hired an expert interior designer, so I had to let her do her job as that’s what I wish for from clients. It wasn’t easy. When she showed me some of the designs and mixed textures, I was hesitant as it wasn’t a style I would usually use but I had to trust this process and let go of the control.

Thanks Jovanca!

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.