A Vibrant, Colorful, Art-Filled New Orleans Home

published Jul 6, 2015
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(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Name: Brian Huddleston and Emily Cosper
Location: Irish Channel; New Orleans, Louisiana
Size: 1,694 square feet
Years lived in: 10 years; Owned

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Brian and Emily’s New Orleans shotgun will have you smiling before you even take a step inside. The exterior color combination of red, purple, and bright blue is as bold and fun as the city they call home. The couple’s vast collection of folk art covers the interior walls like a modern day version of the storied Parisian salons. “We like to pile it on thick,” Emily says with a laugh.

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The Sherwin-Williams paint colors Radish, Impulsive Purple, and Cote D’Azur make a bold statement on the exterior of Emily and Brian’s home. (Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

The couple has amassed their collection from a variety of sources such as festivals, art markets, local galleries, and street vendors in the French Quarter. “I really love New Orleans and I came here because it just seemed so rich and vivid… The art I’ve gravitated towards is like this place,” Emily explains. Although they don’t buy art with investment in mind–“We buy it because we love it,” Emily says–they have a knack for finding artists before they hit it big.

Their artworks are grouped in themes: the music room is decorated with a hand-painted guitar, a bust of Elvis atop a piano inherited from Brian’s grandmother, and depictions of musicians like Lucinda Williams and David Bowie. The kitchen is a celebration of Southern cuisine–think alligator po-boy and hot-boiled crab–and includes whimsical paintings of cats eating food. The bathroom is a display of “Oriental” art inherited from Emily’s grandmother and the den is filled with hand-carved masks from all over the world.

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Several distinct pieces of mid-century modern furniture–six tall-back chairs, two glass tables, and a three-piece wooden cube coffee table–make a strong visual statement in the home. The vintage pieces were designed by Adrian Pearsall and inherited from Emily’s grandmother, whose Texas ranch house maintained an early-1960s style until the time of her death.

The overall vibe of the house is lighthearted and inviting. Emily and Brian, who both work in academia, love to open their home to their friends for holiday celebrations, dinner parties, and watching Saints games. “Our style is informal,” says Brian, “because we run in informal circles around here.”

When they are not entertaining, Emily and Brian love to sit on the front porch and take in the verdant streetscape that lured them to the Irish Channel ten years ago. While gushing over all of the wonderful aspects of the neighborhood–the walkability, the varied architecture, the great people-watching–Emily sums it up with this: “The first house [we lived in] didn’t seem like a forever house, but this seems like a forever house… We hope to never leave.”

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: New Orleans Eclectic

Inspiration: Living on a great street, Washington Avenue, in a great city, we wanted to make this house a home for our art collection and our vintage furniture, and to make this a great space for entertaining- both for formal dinner parties and for casual afternoons with a few friends watching the Saints play.

Favorite Element: Our art collection- most of it is by local New Orleans and Louisiana artists that we’ve found in galleries and art markets.

Biggest Challenge: The wall space is getting crowded!

What Friends Say: Amazing, love the art and the colors, and the gorgeous backyard!

Biggest Embarrassment: The cats- we love them, but they add to the wear and tear of our home.

Proudest DIY: Re-tiling the bathroom- both the floor and the tub surround- and landscaping the enter backyard starting with the empty palette that the previous owners left us.

Biggest Indulgence: Splurging on art and dishware for dinner parties- we have enough for 50+ guests, but we would have nowhere to seat that many people!

Best Advice: You can always re-paint- don’t be afraid to try bold colors!

Dream Sources: Basquiat, Picasso, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Erte, David Bowie, John Fluevog…

(Image credit: contributed by homeowner)


(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Music Room: Sherwin-Williams 6942/Splashy
  • Living room and dining room: Sherwin-Williams 6486/Reflecting Pool
  • Kitchen and back hall: Glidden Granite Gray
  • Middle Bathroom: Behr Bayside
  • Bedroom: Ralph Lauren Faded Seafoam
  • Back rooms – Sherwin-Williams 6675/Afternoon
  • Exterior main color: Sherwin-Williams 6861/Radish
  • Exterior trim: Sherwin-Williams 6832/Impulsive Purple
  • Exterior door: 6951/Cote D’Azur.
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • The four-seat glass table in the music room and the two matching tall-back chairs, as well as the three-piece glass/wood cube table in front of the couch and the glass end table at the end of the couch are all vintage pieces by Adrian Pearsall. We got them from Emily’s maternal grandmother after she passed away.
  • The two stained glass windows- one is behind the couch and the other is behind the piano- are from the small church in Texas where Emily’s parents got married. Her grandmother bought them from the church when it was torn down.
  • The two artists who we have the most pieces by are: William Hemmerling and Hank Holland. You can read more about Hank at CerebralPalsy.org.
  • Emily got the Elvis bust nearly 30 years ago from a friend she worked with. It’s been one of the few items she’s had with her ever since.
  • The piano is from my grandmother. I remember sitting down at it with her and plinking away at the keys when I was about 3 years old.
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Cherry cabinets and black granite counters: Lowe’s
  • Stainless steel appliances: Frigidaire brand, bought at Barto Appliances
  • Stainless cabinet handles: IKEA
  • Pendant lights fixture made from vodka bottles: UP/Unique Products
  • Alligator Po-Boy circus banner-style painting: by Molly McGuire
  • Okra/vegetable truck painting: by Christopher Kirsch
  • Okra, Erster, Peppa, and other small paintings of food items: by Kimberly Parker and we get them at Dutch Alley.
  • Whimsical/silly pictures of cats eating food: by Cary Chun Lee–there’s a nice write-up about him in NoLaVie. He’s an artist that we found selling his stuff in Jackson Square, like most of the little pieces in our kitchen.
  • Several other pieces of art: by Dr. Bob
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • The bed itself is an old hand-me down, upgraded recently with a new mattress; the “headboard” is actually a piece of old iron fence we found at a junk shop, cleaned up, painted, and bolted to the wall.
  • Bedding: Anthropologie.
  • Bernard Buffet prints: from Emily’s maternal grandmother.
  • Pen and ink drawings on either side of the closet: these are from a gutterpunk we see in the French Quarter once in a while. We don’t know his name. He has no online presence or business cards, and we can’t make out his scribbled signature.
  • Print above closet: by John Whipple, from the Red Truck gallery. It’s part of his “Misfit Toys” series. There is a brief description of it in the Portland Mercury.
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


• The “Oriental” décor in the middle bathroom are miscellaneous pieces that we also got from Emily’s maternal grandmother- that was apparently a mid-20th century décor trend for a while.

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • The masks in the back room are from all over the world: some purchased here in the States, some on a few trips we’ve taken and from a few friends’ trips overseas, but most are from my mother’s travels. She averages about three foreign trips a year and usually finds at least one or two masks for us, but on a four-week, five-country trip to southern Africa, she actually brought back an extra small suitcase with all the masks she got for us on that trip.
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

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Thanks, Brian & Emily!