Bradley’s Post-Katrina Resurrected Shotgun

published Feb 11, 2016
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(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Name: Bradley Sabin and his dogs, Cooper and Romeo
Location: Mid-City — New Orleans, Louisiana
Size: 720 square feet
Years lived in: 8 years; Owned

Artist Bradley Sabin may live alone, but he is always in the company of friends. His 720-square-foot shotgun home, located in Mid-City New Orleans, is filled with artwork. “The art is very personal,” he explains. “I’m surrounded by things people I know made, so I feel like I’m with my friends.” The ceramist jokes that he refers to his dishes by the names of the people who made them.

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Bradley, assistant director for Arthur Roger Gallery, has been bartering and buying art for over 20 years. “I’m a pretty voracious collector,” he admits. Working in galleries for the past 15 years has given him access to art and objects most people don’t get to see. Although his half of the duplex is packed with a wealth of paintings, beloved objects, ceramics, and sculptures of various mediums, his home still manages to feel very tidy.

Bradley bought the shotgun double with his friend Libra in June 2006. The two met when they worked together at the Contemporary Arts Center. The friends joked for years about buying a house together; they both dreamed of owning a home, but couldn’t afford to do it on their own. When the real estate market took a hit after Hurricane Katrina, the friends saw it as an opportunity to find a property and decided to go for it. The pair looked at over 40 properties, but when they finally found their home, they knew right away it was the one. The house had flooded with two feet of water and was in need of extensive renovations, but the duo was undaunted. “It was just right,” Bradley says. “This was exactly the neighborhood we wanted to be in.” In fact, the house was just blocks away from where they had each lived before the storm.

Bradley and Libra did much of the 16-month renovation themselves. They gutted, reframed, and restudded the house, refinished the floors, rearranged the floor plan and painted the interior. They hired professionals for the drywall, plumbing, and electricity. They had the house raised 10 feet, making room for a studio on one side and a one-car garage on the other. The art studio is Bradley’s favorite aspect of the home. He spends nights and weekends making ceramic sculptures that he uses to create elaborate art installations.

The friends made a commitment to salvaging and reusing everything they could from the original structure. They built lumber racks in the backyard for the wood and carefully deconstructed bricks from four nonworking fireplaces. “The backyard was a lumber yard for almost four years,” says Bradley. After carefully chipping away at mortar for years, they reused the bricks to build a back patio and walkway. They created a shrine to St. Francis of Assisi—the patron saint of pets—using a clawfoot tub original to the home. Bradley used salvaged wood for the bathroom floor, an accent wall in the living room, and throughout the kitchen. They used part of the tin roof from a demolished shed as siding for the ceramics studio and garage.

Bradley took full ownership of the duplex two years ago when Libra met the man she would later marry and moved out. He now has a tenant living on the other side, and the house continues to evolve. He fulfilled a lifelong wish when he installed a lap pool two years ago. “Ever since I was little, I dreamed of having a pool.” Sundays are open to friends who want to stop by for a swim. He appreciates that he gets to enjoy the company of friends without ever being too far from the studio. “It has worked out exactly as I hoped it would,” he says. “All the little bits of time add up for productivity.”

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: A collection of things I love

Inspiration: Artwork and nature

Favorite Element: Having my studio in the house

Biggest Challenge: Renovating very shortly after Katrina

What Friends Say: Can’t believe you pulled this off!

Biggest Embarrassment: None

Proudest DIY: Renovating very shortly after Katrina

Biggest Indulgence: Pool!

Best Advice: Buy what you love; love what you buy.

Dream Sources: Strangely enough, I really don’t have any. My life and travels take me to exciting places and show me cool stuff. I guess the dream (re)source would be the money to buy the things I find!


(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Interior: Benjamin Moore Carrington Beige HC-93
  • Exterior walls: Yew Green 2025-20
  • Exterior accents: Benjamin Moore Zinnia 305, Blue Spruce 1637
  • All interior wood surfaces: lumber deconstructed from the original structure
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Porch and deck design: Steven Scott of Edgard, Louisiana
  • Metal door screen: Shae Freeman of New Orleans
  • Chairs: thrift shop in Naples, FL
  • Small table: thrift shop in Naples, FL
  • Three ceramic sculptures (from left): Bradley Sabin, Pamela Pemberton, Candy Depew (trade)
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Table: antique store in Ohio
  • Lamps: Winifred Ross
  • Dried sea plant skeleton: shell shop in Florida
  • Pair of sconces: Elizabeth Howie
  • Paintings: Benjamin Seaman of NYC
  • Sculpture: Katherine Blacklock of Providence, RI
  • $1,000,000 briefcase sculpture: Srdjan Loncar via Arthur Roger Gallery
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Harvest table: trade in Traverse City, MI
  • Lamps on wall: thrift shop in Traverse City, MI
  • Safe: family piece
  • Coffee table: thrift store in Frankfort, MI
  • Hohner Harmonica display: auction in Orange, CA—coolest country auction I’ve ever seen!
  • Wrought iron and mirror side table: container sale from France in Baton Rouge
  • Lamp on side table: garage sale
  • Lampshade: Winifred Ross
  • Chair: thrift store in Milwaukee
  • Sofa: thrift store in Traverse City, MI
  • Pillows: IKEA
  • Harry Bertoia chair: thrift store in Chicago
  • Antique baker’s rack: antique store in New Orleans
  • Glass plumbing on top shelf: industrial Pyrex
  • Green desk: garage sale in Traverse City, MI
  • Hat: Mardi Gras
  • Weaving on wall above green desk: Bradley Sabin
  • Painting above baker’s rack: Nat Lakin
  • Sculptures on right wall before kitchen: Candy Depew
  • Artwork over front door: Jim Richard
  • Painting on back wall: Karoline Schleh via Callan Contemporary
  • Cigar band construction on left wall: Troy Dugas via Arthur Roger Gallery
  • Sculpture in niche: Bradley Sabin
  • Painting in niche: Michael Willmon via Arthur Roger Gallery
  • Sculpture on back wall: David Borgerding via Callan Contemporary
  • Horse sculpture: Adelaide Paul of Philadelphia
  • Running Ladder sculpture: Allison Smith of NYC
  • Ceramic sculptures on shelves: assorted artists
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Light fixture: container sale from France
  • Oak table: family piece
  • Red stool: reproduction of vintage stool
  • Countertops: I made them using slices of Petoskey stones and resin. The stone is only found in very specific areas of Northern Michigan where I grew up.
  • 1876 Federal Revival mirror: bought from friend
  • Paper and wire sculpture on wooden wall: Allison Smith
  • Ceramic sculpture on wooden wall: Dana Chapman
  • Landscape painting: Denise Bowman-Falk
  • Figurative ceramic sculpture: Michalene Walsh
  • Shelves: ceramics by various artists, Fiestaware collection
  • Grouping of art on left wooden wall: ceramic sculpture by Bradley Sabin; Karoline Schleh; horse by Lesley Dill (Arthur Roger Gallery); face by Gina Philips; two collages by Douglas Bourgeois (Arthur Roger Gallery); red ink drawing by Grant Hyunga
  • Grouping of art over table: figure by M Walsh; painting in antique frame by Jacqueline Bishop (Arthur Roger Gallery); leaf paintings by Sybille Perretti (Callan Contemporary); George Dureau photograph (Arthur Roger Gallery); Denise Bowman-Falk; Octopus photo by David Halliday (Arthur Roger Galley); Karoline Schleh; box construction by Audra Kohout.
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Dresser: Heywood Wakefield, traded for art
  • Underwear painting: Don Masse
  • Pair of smoke drawings: Karoline Schleh
  • Robert Mapplethorpe photograph: George Dureau
  • Embroidered tooth: Gina Philips
  • Watercolor: Carol Leake
  • Shirt construction: Bradley Sabin
  • Other art on wall: Bradley Sabin, Allison Smith
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Dresser: from family
  • Sink: IKEA
  • Bathtub: vintage
  • Floors: made from walls of original bathroom
  • Warhol wallpaper: thrift store in Chicago
  • Lamp: Winifred Ross
  • Framed print: Luis Cruz Azaceta via Arthur Roger Gallery
  • Sculpture: Candy Depew
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Floor: slate
  • Curtains: vintage fabric bought at a Chicago flea market
  • Sculpture on deck: Pamela Pemberton
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Light: Home Depot
  • Glass arm: Mitchell Gaudet of New Orleans
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Swimming pool design: Bradley Sabin
  • Swimming pool construction: Pleasure Pools of Mandeville, LA
  • Metal chairs: found in trash after Katrina
  • Table base: found in our yard when we bought the house and mowed the first time!
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Push car: family piece
  • Table: country auction in Orange, CA
  • Vintage metal chairs: estate sale in Traverse City, MI
  • Tobacco drying basket: antique shop in Maine
  • Chair sculpture: Allison Smith
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Toy car: New Orleans garage sale
  • Tiles: ceramic glaze test tiles
  • Poodle painting: Matthew Hance of New Orleans
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Bradley Sabin’s Mid-City New Orleans home was raised 10 feet after Hurricane Katrina. (Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

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Thanks, Bradley!