A 570-Square-Foot New Orleans Shotgun Spookily Captures the Halloween Spirit
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Name: Kimberly Nesmith and her canine child, Jude
Location: Algiers Point — New Orleans, Louisiana
Size: 570 square feet
Type of Home: Half shotgun house apartment
Years Lived In: 2.5 years, renting
Kimberly Nesmith is a technical writer, but she’s also well known for her photography and art, which often features gorgeous New Orleans architecture. And ever since 2018 she’s lived in this cute rental apartment located in a truly charming part of New Orleans that isn’t super well-known: Algiers Point. “I really love the neighborhood, especially in the fall. Algiers Point is truly New Orleans’ best kept secret to me,” Kimberly explains. “I was always a Lower Garden District girl and still love it, but nothing beats AP. It’s like quaint, coastal village meets Bywater architecture meets Garden district nature. The neighborhood itself is full of great people and a true sense of community with seasonal events and always being there to help each other.”
For Halloween lovers, this time of year is a favorite, but it’s even more so for New Orleans residents. “Halloween night is so unique. After growing up in rural Alabama, it was the first time I ever saw hordes of children in the streets trick-or-treating,” says Kimberly. “It was like ‘Hocus Pocus’ came to life for me. Not to mention, the adults do their own ‘trick-or-treating’ with beverages and Jello shots on some porches. Needless to say, my own love of autumn and Halloween drew me into this place, but it’s also a perfect location by the river, just across from the bustling French Quarter.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Mystical bohemian meets goth meets tropical meets vintage? I really do just buy what I like. I do notice that I tend to favor jewel tones and unique textures. I love antiques. Furniture that has a story/history and is passed down through the generations is beautiful to me. Feels spiritual.
Inspiration: I think the older I get, I want my home to resemble a cozy cottage in the woods with natural elements and vintage, timeless pieces. I obviously use Instagram to look at photos that meets my aesthetic for decor ideas. It’s also hard not to be inspired walking around New Orleans—this city definitely speaks to my love of old, historic homes AND furniture. Everything is unique, even the paint on the houses. There’s nowhere else like it. I’m always finding a new color combination to use.
Favorite Element: I initially want to say the porch, but it’s really the open layout of the apartment. I have pocket doors that divide the living from the kitchen, but with those open and the front door open in fall/spring, it’s like one huge, amazing room. The porch itself adds a lot of square footage and openness to my living room if I have the front door open. I can also open the full-length window for more porch access. My dog loves it as well.
Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge has definitely been the size. It’s the smallest apartment I’ve ever lived in—I went from a 1,600-square-foot place to just under 600 square feet. I wanted to downsize, though, and not have the upkeep/cleaning for just one person. I’ve tried to utilize wall space and creative storage ideas.
Proudest DIY: Probably the wall in my kitchen beside the fridge. I took a vertical shelving unit and mounted it on the wall horizontally after painting it a turquoise color. I use it to store coffee mugs, glasses, etc. I used a vintage dresser from the 1950s below it to be more counter space for a coffee station and the microwave. The drawers add wonderful storage. I also like the large branch I added as a decor piece above my pocket doors. I recently found that beautiful branch on my street after a storm. It had been there for a few weeks without anyone cleaning it up, so I snatched it. I hung dried flowers from it. For this season, I thought the autumn garland would be great. I’ll add some special garland for Christmas, as well.
What percentage of your everyday home decor gets switched out for the holidays? Probably 40 percent? Depends on the holiday. I love decorating for the holidays, and we practically have a new one each month in New Orleans. A lot of my Halloween decor stays up year round, though, because it’s just my aesthetic… so I end up just adding things that are blatantly Halloween-y, like jack-o-lanterns, pumpkins, costume-y items, etc. I probably add more in for Christmas but I think my Halloween decor ends up looking extravagant just because there’s so much I have in my living room that looks like Halloween already!
How long have you been decorating your home for Halloween? Ever since I lived on my own after college… so about 11 years now.
How long does it take to decorate? Usually I can tackle it in a day, but it takes more time when I decide to buy and add more pieces (every year…) or if I go all out like I did this year with the porch. That takes another day and some help.
What’s this year’s Halloween decor theme or inspiration? I never really pick a particular theme, but my neighbor and I noticed that with our witch hats hanging from the roof that we got some “Practical Magic” vibes. My altar area also stays like that year ‘round, so I think the witch theme fits.
How much did you spend on Halloween decor this year? I’d say not more than $175. That was mostly new things like the teapot, a few new pumpkins, figurines, rugs, etc. I already have a good bit to work with. All of my decorations tend to come from HomeGoods, TJMaxx, Target, Amazon, At Home, Spirit Halloween, or random places throughout the years. I did buy a lot of larger candles this year from Warm Glow Candle Company. Their scents are the absolute best, and the candles last forever; I have one over a year old that I burn all the time that’s still going!
Overall, I tried to do Halloween on a budget this year. I know we’re all feeling the wallet shrink with Covid. Of all places, Dollar Tree was my secret this year. Rather than spend $20 on a fall leaf garland from a home decor store, I’d buy four strands of the thinner/cheaper fall leaves at Dollar Tree and twist them together. I’d have a full garland for only $4. There are tricks like that you can use to make the lower quality stuff look higher end, fuller, whatever the case, for a whole lot cheaper. That way you can spend your money on a few nicer items!
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? I know it sounds typical, but truly buy what you love, and I don’t think you have to worry about whether or not an item “goes” with what you already have. You’ll see that you likely have an innate sense of style built in… you’ll notice a theme. And try to be creative. A lot of times you can recreate a look for a lot less if you use tools like the internet and your imagination.
- Haunted House Ticket Pillow — At Home
- White and Yellow Knitted Pillow — World Market
- Chairs — Lowe’s
- Wreath — Michaels (last season)
- Pumpkins — Michaels (last season and this season)
- 5 ft. Corner Spider Web — Spirit Halloween
- Gargoyle Porch Light Cover — Spirit Halloween (last season)
- Witch Hats — Windy City Novelties
- Spiders/Skeletons/Eyes/Beware Sign — Dollar Tree
- Cutout Bats — Walmart
- Doormat — Michaels (last season)
- Orange C9 Bulbs — Amazon
- Witch Flag — Amazon
- Stackable stools/Plant Stands — Amazon
- Crystal Ball Windchime — Amazon
- Beware: Strange Sights and Sounds Rug — At Home
- Spell Rug — At Home
- Distressed, Large Oriental Rug — Comeaux Furniture (Similar)
- Freestanding Fireplace Stove — Lowe’s (New Version)
- Altar Pieces and Candles — Various botanica stores in New Orleans and across the South
- Magnolia Queen Art Print — Hannah Margaret Illustrations on Society6
- Balcomb Cottage Coaster Painting — Loveless House on Etsy
- Salem Broom Co. Sign — HomeGoods
- The Witch is In/Out Sign — Target
- Antler Girl & Horizontal Stroke Paintings – Original art by Kimberly Nesmith
- Witchy Woman Sign — HomeGoods
- Sheer Curtains — World Market (Similar)
- Shelf Floor Lamp — Target
- Skeletons Artwork — Michaels
Sectional Sofa — Comeaux Furniture
- Coffee Table — Amazon
- Green Velvet Heart Desk Chair — Antique
- Grey Shelving Unit/Bookshelf — IKEA, Expedit (Discontinued)
- Fabric Pumpkin Garland— Michaels
- Tombstones — Michaels
- Pumpkins — Michaels
- Spinet Writing Desk — Antique, The Occasional Wife
- Smith & Corona Typewriter — Vintage family heirloom
- Pumpkin Face Hearth Candle — Warm Glow Candle Company
- Sam Plush Doll from Trick ‘r Treat — Spirit Halloween
- Pumpkin Window Cutouts — Windy City Novelties
Orange Velvet Pillow Covers — Amazon
- Candy Corn Pillow — At Home
- Oogie Boogie Nightmare Before Christmas Pillow — Spirit Halloween
- Wine Throw Blanket — TJ Maxx
- Afghan Throw Blanket — Vintage
- End Table — Homelegance
- Wood Plant Stand — Target
- Small Mirror — Vintage, my mom’s
- Large, Wood-Framed Mirror — Antique
- New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Poster 2020 — Art4Now
- VooDoo in New Orleans Art Print — Mousie
- Blue Flower Painting – Original art by Kimberly Nesmith
- Candelabra, Other Framed Art —Most all are vintage from consignment/antique stores
This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.
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