Design Prescription: Lauren’s New Orleans Living Room

updated May 4, 2019
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(Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)

Name: Lauren & Greg
Location: New Orleans, LA
Room: Living Room
Size: about 200 square feet
Own or Rent: Own

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Complete + Happy Home, and while we’re at it, we’re saving the country, one room at a time! Design Prescriptions are hour-long visits where Maxwell offers advice on what readers can do to improve their homes.

In New Orleans, we visited with Lauren and her husband, Greg, after Lauren reached out to us to come and help her heal her front hall/living room. The problem? Two active kids, a small space and an awkward front room in an old New Orleans shotgun. Check out the Before pics from our visit and then all the work Lauren and Greg did in the Afters!

Talking about the importance of a true entryway (even if you have very little room) and the urgency of decluttering the corner behind me! (Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)

The Problem:

From Lauren: “I’m a full-time working lady with 2 small kids living in a historic New Orleans converted shotgun double (hubs great-grandfather built the house in the 1890s). The house has been a labor of love, a real fixer-upper as we bought it from my husband’s elderly great-aunt (she was a packrat and I think her stuff was holding up the walls). After extensive, slow renovation – we do a little at a time when we save up some extra dollars – we love our house.

We converted it to a single family home and maintained much of the original architecture, but the front room/dining room could use a good design eye – but still be kid-friendly, and dog too, we’ve got two of those – to make it/us really proud of our home. We like traditional New Orleans style and cottage style. Also, shotguns notoriously have no storage space, so any ideas are greatly appreciated as well.”

Their super cute kids having a snack while we talked in the living room. (Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)

The Prescription:

This was a tough one. Lauren’s house, historic and beautiful in so many ways, was designed for an earlier era. Now, in 2015, she needed to shoe-horn two rooms into one room, keep the clutter down and add some light and color to pop some life into it! In Apartment Therapy language this looks like:

Bones – All Good Here

Breathing – Room has no definition and is cluttered. It needs to be separated into two distinct spaces, Entry & Living Room, with better flow through

Heart – Room is dark and needs light to expand it. Walls could also take on some color to give them life and contrast against the vintage molding.

Head (or Spirit) – All good here! This home has tons of spirit and the memories of the family history and of New Orleans history are all around.

Now let’s go to the pictures which show some real progress from Before!

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Before – a view from the front door through the living room. The television if resting on a large dark sideboard and there’s no light in the living room. (Image credit: Submitted by Lauren)
(Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)


“Although we are not completely finished yet (we still have to add pegs in case it ever gets cool enough to wear to wear jackets and are now in hunt for some artwork that speaks to us), you can see with Maxwell’s advice (area rug, round coffee table, mount the TV, add a bit of color and a landing strip with mirror) and the help of Wayfair, we made a lot of progress this weekend!”

We left Lauren with a copy of Complete + Happy Home so she can continue her refresh. Thanks for letting us into your home!

Detail of the outside. This house was amazing. (Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)

Stay tuned for our next Design Prescription with Lauren in Tucson!