A Sunny New Orleans Shotgun House Is Lovely… and the Deck Is a Little Private Jungle Paradise

published Oct 9, 2020

A Sunny New Orleans Shotgun House Is Lovely… and the Deck Is a Little Private Jungle Paradise

published Oct 9, 2020
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Name: Luke Layfield and Chewy Bear Layfield
Location: Bayou St. John — New Orleans, Louisiana
Size: Just under 1,300 square feet
Years lived in: One year, owned

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Luke Layfield was lovestruck from the moment he walked into his New Orleans home. He wistfully recalls his first impression: “All bright and sunny with its high ceilings and exposed brick… it was a total dream.” Luke, who works for a nonprofit that provides affordable housing for veterans and the elderly, was able to see himself living there so clearly that by the time he was gone, he jokes, “I already had everything put away.”

The house, originally a traditional New Orleans-style double shotgun, had sat vacant and neglected for many years before it was completely renovated and converted into a single-family home. Coming from a 700-square-foot downtown condo, Luke, a longtime lover of interiors and decor, was thrilled to finally have more space to display his collection of art and sentimental objects.

“I’ve always been a collector,” he explains, “I got more serious about it starting in college when I worked for this incredible antique furniture/vintage clothing shop. I’ve held on to so many of those pieces over the years, and they’re always what people ask me about.” Luke used IKEA’s popular BILLY bookcases in his living room to showcase his assortment of beloved objects. “Any place I live in,” he says, “must have display space.”

At the time he purchased his home, he envisioned himself hosting intimate gatherings in his large open kitchen and outdoor living space, which he refers to as his “little private jungle paradise.” But the coronavirus shifted those plans. For now, his home has become both his workplace and his personal sanctuary. All of this newfound solitude has afforded him the opportunity to organize his pantry, garden, cook, and hang with his dog Chewy. ”I adopted Chewy in December of last year not realizing what an amazing little quarantine buddy he would be.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Can I say, “sentimental”? My style is sentimental. I’ve been collecting a lot of these pieces for years, and so much of it is tied to special people/places/moments in time. It’s certainly all over the place. I’ve never met a plant or interesting object I didn’t like. It might be easier to just say, “Not minimalist.”

Honestly, though, I feel like it’s constantly changing. I worked at this truly spectacular vintage department store in college. They had it all—clothing, records, bar ware, furniture, lighting—you name it. They took so much pride in what they were dealing and it brought my attention to so many different styles and periods. I love texture and color and ultimately just want to create a comfortable and cozy space.

Inspiration: I’d be an absolute ass if I didn’t mention Apartment Therapy here. 12+ years ago I had this supremely embarrassing Tumblr where I’d just repost things I liked, or that stood out to me, and so much of that was directly from Apartment Therapy. I promise, I always gave credit, but there may have been 3 people who saw it.

I’m also inspired by Liz Kamarul—she’s a local designer I follow on Instagram, and I think she has incredible taste. Chic and funky and really fresh. I don’t know her personally, but she has definitely influenced a few style choices here. 

Favorite Element: I’d have to say everything on my walls. Nearly all of it is either made by me or by someone really important to me. It’s all just incredibly personal to me.

Biggest Challenge: Well, that has to be resisting the urge to make EVERY little change or adjustment I want to make all at once. I’ve only been here a year now. There are so many other things I want to personalize. Lots of detail stuff with a few bigger projects thrown in. I have plans to change out several light fixtures (lighting can make such a dramatic difference in a space) and put more color on the wall. It’s important to me that I be as thoughtful about these choices as I can, though. I want to live with them for a long time.

Proudest DIY: That has to be my DIY built-ins. This is well-covered territory, but I did that semi-popular DIY with the IKEA BILLY bookcase. With the help of a friend, I built and assembled them and then used trim to bring it all together. Also, I really love how I’ve utilized the several WWII chests I inherited 15 years ago—coffee table, side tables, nightstands, entryway… I just added different sized hairpin legs to all of them.

Biggest Indulgence: My mattress/bedding. Linen sheets in New Orleans just make sense year round.

Best Advice: Don’t rush. Take your time finding the pieces you really want. Everything looks better when it comes together slowly over time.

What’s your best home secret? I read somewhere once that when you have candles lit that make your home smell good, you’re more likely to keep it clean. So, I always light candles throughout the week and try to trick myself into doing chores. Also, clean out your dryer vents! It’s the number one cause of house fires. Lastly, I love my Roomba. Chewy is a furry little guy. I find it helps me stay on top of things.




  • “New Orleans Pride”— David McPherson @davidmcphersonart (local gay artist)
  • Portrait of me — Mr. Chow @chowciaochow (amazing queer artist in Hong Kong)
  • Sock monkeys — Bought these on the beach in Mexico. I’ve been going to Puerto Vallarta for years. It’s one of my truly happy happy places. They remind me of Mexico and trips with friends. They probably cost $2 each. Having them framed was the most expensive thing about them.
  • Family photos/license plate — Me
  • Group of vintage B&W New Orleans photos — Family friend
  • Mirror — Thrifted and painted by me
  • Chest — Cleaned and legs added by me
  • Flowers — Pistil and Stamen @pistil_and_stamen


  • Flowers — Pistil and Stamen @pistil_and_stamen
  • “Composition 11”, Oil on Canvas, 64″ x 50″, 2020 — David McPherson @davidmcphersonart
  • Round Velvet Pillows — Marse, local designer and friend of many years
  • “Paper Moon” — Megan Olsen Art
  • “Algiers Point” — Megan Olsen Art



  • Sofa — “The Maxwell Collection”, Restoration Hardware 
  • “Cuba Pink Cadillac” — David McPherson @davidmcphersonart
  • “Hope” — 40×40 oil on canvas Mary Singleton Studio @marysingletonstudio (phenomenal local artist and friend of many years)
  • “The Brute” — Robert Loughlin (absolutely a knockoff I thrifted)
  • “Double Shotgun or Die” — Swamp Trash @swamp.trash (another amazing local artist)
  • “Pride Collection” — Logan Ledford @loganledfordart
  • Shoes — The Mystic Krewe of Muses @kreweofmuses (Iconic Mardi Gras krewe)
  • “Full Moon I” — Linda Lloyd, American Postwar & Contemporary artist
  • “Moon/Sun Reversible Blanket” — Haus Witch @hauswitch


  • “Sabrette” — Me
  • Flowers — Pistil and Stamen @pistil_and_stamen
  • Bowls — No Crumbs Left , @nocrumbsleft on Instagram.


BEDROOM GALLERY WALL (left to right)

  • Vertical pair of landscape prints — I think these are credited to a mid century artist who was famous for them/this style, but I’ve had them for close to 15 years and have forgotten. They were thrifted. 
  • “New Orleans Gator Pennant” — Zak Parsons for Four Finger Press
  • “Swimming Pigs” — a gift that I can’t track down
  • “Falling Water” — Mary Singleton Studio @marysingletonstudio
  • “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” — Fuckinghellkirst @fuckinghellkirst
  • “For the Good Times” (no longer available) — Fuckinghellkirst @fuckinghellkirst 
  • “Jumeaux” — Anna Koeferl  @annakoef
  • “Magnolia” — Anna Koeferl @annakoef
  • Ship prints — Also thrifted


Thanks, Luke and Chewy Bear!

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