An Adorable 1830s Creole Cottage in New Orleans

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Name: Kelly Ransom and her dog Omelet
Location: Faubourg Marigny; New Orleans, Louisiana
Size: 1,400 square feet
Years lived in: 2.5 years; Owned

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Kelly’s 1830s cottage, located on a quiet residential street in the Marigny, has the kind of charm for which New Orleans homes are known. Light blue shutters open to reveal four sets of French doors and classic wrought ironwork. The whole front of the house opens onto the sidewalk, blurring the line between inside and out, while the back of the house has French doors that open to a lush, serene courtyard. One of Kelly’s favorite things about her home is the feeling of connectedness to the outside. “Houses were made to breathe,” she says.

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

The house wasn’t always like this. When Kelly purchased it in 2013, the now-airy, light-filled living room was divided into two small rooms. The guest bedroom had a wall of dull wood panels, and the kitchen had heavy, dark cabinets that made the already small room feel even more cramped.

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Today the house is cheerful and bright. Except for the bold wallpaper—which features a lovely floral design—in a hallway, the walls, countertops, and many of the furnishings are white. Kelly introduces color to the space through an impressive collection of original artwork and prints by artists Amanda Talley and Hayley Gaberlavage. In addition to being her good friends, these design-savvy women, along with Hayley’s husband Ben Massey, are Kelly’s go-to sources for design inspiration and advice.

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

On a recent weekday morning, jazz is playing on the radio and a gentle breeze wafts into the spacious living room. Sitting on a vintage blue velvet sofa with her bulldog, Omelet, at her feet, Kelly, an Arkansas-native, recounts her first visit to New Orleans in 2007. She came to attend a wedding and fell in love with the city. “I just kind of knew I needed to live here,” she says.

Nine years later, Kelly, an attorney, is still captivated by the music, people, and sense of community in the Crescent City. Living in a vibrant neighborhood bordering the French Quarter allows her to take advantage of these things. When the workweek is done, she has little need for a car, as some of the city’s best restaurants and music venues are just steps away. And with many of her friends living in the neighborhood, it’s not unusual for someone to stop by and stay for dinner or a drink.

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Eclectic, Modern, Mid-century, Vintage

Inspiration: The culture, people, style, music, and architecture of New Orleans and South Louisiana and my friends with great taste: New Orleans artists Amanda Tally and Hayley Gaberlavage, and Hayley’s husband and architect Ben Massey.

Favorite Element: Light in front room and in kitchen

Biggest Challenge: Lack of storage space

What Friends Say: They comment on the natural light and the open and airy front room.

Biggest Embarrassment: Floors and light fixture in the master bathroom that I don’t use

Proudest DIY: Backyard makeover

Biggest Indulgence: Marble kitchen countertops

Best Advice: Ask for your friends’ advice!

Dream Sources: Sterling Provision, YLighting, Design Within Reach, my grandmother’s house—but, honestly, if I had all of the money in the world, I would travel and try to find thrift store, estate sale, and flea market treasures.

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The whole front of the house opens onto the sidewalk, blurring the line between inside and out. (Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)



  • Walls: two different shades of white (not sure of exact color or brand)


  • Blue velvet sofa and chair: Sterling Provision
  • Coffee table: Sterling Provision
  • Mirrored desk: I picked it out as a kid in Little Rock, Arkansas.
  • Dog bed: Southern Creed/Rebecca Thomason, who designs great fabrics
  • Lamps: Angels in Opelika, Alabama
  • Stacking side tables: World Market
  • Brass planters: Goodwill
  • Paper lanterns: World Market
  • Painting behind sofa: Amanda Tally
  • Portrait painting: Friedman by Hayley Gaberlavage
  • Portrait print: print of a painting by Hayley Gaberlavage based on a photo of my father and his parents


  • Dining table: made by Ben Massey with barge board from the front room, which was two rooms before renovation
  • Light fixture: Tom Dixon
  • Dresser: Renaissance Antiques in Metairie, Louisiana
  • Lamp: Angel’s in Opelika, Alabama
  • Mirror: now-closed antique store on Magazine St. in New Orleans around 2010
  • Rug: vintage kilim via One Kings Lane
  • Chairs: my parents’ first set of dining table chairs, painted black
  • Bike: Craigslist


  • Countertops: white marble
  • Light fixture: Tom Dixon
  • Bar/hutch: purchased at random store in Little Rock, Arkansas, about 10 years ago for $30
  • Mirrored windows on top of hutch: I found two old window frames and had a glass shop install mirrors instead of glass
  • Painting of three leopards: purchased for $3.50 at estate sale in New Orleans around 2009, signed by Friedrichs (I don’t know who this is but wish I did)


  • Sputnik chandelier: Jonathan Adler
  • Platform bed: West Elm
  • Pillows: West Elm
  • Bedspread: Urban Outfitters
  • Dresser: my childhood bedroom furniture that was also my mother’s as a child
  • Rug: hand-me-down from a friend
  • Four prints above mantel: found in my grandmother’s garage
  • Abstract painting: Hayley Gaberlavage


  • White desk/vanity: my childhood bedroom furniture that was also my mother’s as a child
  • Desk chair: Goodwill in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Textile draped on chair: One Kings Lane
  • Hide rug: Costco
  • Side table: my childhood bedroom furniture that was also my mother’s as a child
  • Lamp: Angel’s in Opelika, Alabama
  • Small pillow: West Elm
  • Bedding: I bought the duvet cover in a mall when I was in college at Rhodes in Memphis, TN.
  • Painting: Amanda Talley
  • Watercolor on desk: Hayley Gaberlavage, a gift from the artist


  • Light fixture: West Elm
  • Blue mirror: bought for $15 at a now-closed store in New Orleans, repainted
  • Small radio: Tivoli via Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Small glass tables: Renaissance Antiques in New Orleans
  • Print above towel rack: Hayley Gaberlavage
  • Two prints beside window: Hayley Gaberlavage


  • Wallpaper: Spruce in New Orleans
  • White bench: my childhood bedroom furniture that was also my mother’s as a child

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Thanks, Kelly!