A New Orleans Shotgun Has an Interior Inspired by the City, and a Backyard Inspired by Mexico

published Dec 1, 2020

A New Orleans Shotgun Has an Interior Inspired by the City, and a Backyard Inspired by Mexico

published Dec 1, 2020
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Name: KV Harper, principal and founder of Kex Design + Build, with Patrick, and our dog LadyBird
Location: : 7th Ward — New Orleans, Louisiana
Size: 1500 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years, owned

It takes skills, vision, and know-how to renovate homes within different budget ranges—and even more talent to make it so you can’t tell the difference—but that’s exactly why KV Harper, principal and founder of Kex Design + Build, is so good at what she does. She’s worked on projects in Amsterdam, Brooklyn, and New Orleans with high-end finishes but has renovated homes on tighter budgets, as well. What all the projects have in common is a respect for historic restoration, a mix of modern elements, and a focus on sustainable and inclusive design. “Our mission is to design residential and commercial properties that bring communities together, while maintaining the social and cultural fabric that foster connection,” reads Kex Design + Build’s website.

The home she designed for herself and her partner Patrick (along with their dog Ladybird) is a showcase of many of her design philosophies and more. Located in New Orleans’ 7th Ward neighborhood, the house is a traditional double that they kept in a two-unit configuration. “Our home is a shotgun with a camelback, which means it has an upstairs. We have a lot of space to move around—especially important now with Covid.”

Along with doing a lot of the work herself and keeping to a modest budget, another impressive feature of the renovation is how much sustainable or reclaimed wood she was able to incorporate—like reclaimed wood for the trim and countertops and sustainable new growth pine for the floors.

Most impressive of all is how the whole home feels so lived in, authentic, and rich with detail along with being beautiful aesthetically. “I love that there are all these objects in the home that are pieces to a larger story,” explains KV. “Although we’re surrounded by historical objects it doesn’t feel like a museum.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: My style really depends on the space. For historic homes, I try to respect the history of the space and let that lead the way in design.

Inspiration: I’m inspired by places. Especially places that tell a larger story about history, art, or culture. Inspiration for the house: New Orleans. And for the backyard: Todos Santos, Mexico and Marfa, Texas.

Favorite Element: Backyard mural. I worked with local artist, Tyla Maiden to commission a mural on the fence. In keeping with the Mexico theme, I wanted to create something you would find on the side of a colorful taco truck. But I also wanted to make it specific to New Orleans. With that in mind we decided to pay tribute Barrow’s Catfish, one of the oldest Black owned restaurants in New Orleans. Before Katrina it was called Barrow’s Shady Inn Restaurant and Bar. And that’s where the Shady Inn comes from. The drinks on the mural also originated in New Orleans. Tyla did a great job bringing my vision to life.

Biggest Challenge: Shotgun homes traditionally have no storage space. I’m not sure I’ve overcome it but we’ve learned to live with the mess here and there.

Proudest DIY: I did the stencil outside. I’m not a DIY’er at ALL. But I got it done, alone (thanks Covid).

Biggest Indulgence: The TV. I went without a TV in the space for two years.

Best Advice: Take your time. I tell my clients to have an idea of what items you want new and what items you want to be vintage or secondhand. That way when you’re shopping you won’t get distracted by buying things you don’t need or won’t work in your space.



  • Fence —  Sherwin Williams Exuberant Pink SW 6840
  • Living room   —    Sherwin Williams Anchors Aweigh SW 9179
  • Bedroom 2 — Sherwin Williams  Anchors Aweigh SW 9179


  • Piano — eBay
  • Entry bench — World Market – no longer available
  • Chair — Amazon – no longer available
  • Lamp —  Blush Fela Wall Pendant by Justina Blakeney – No longer available



  • Dining Table — Custom made by KEX Design + Build
  • Cutting boards — World Market
  • Cabinets — Paint Sherwin Williams Anchors Aweigh SW 9179



  • Print — Kerry James Marshall
  • Bedding — Jungalow, unavailable


Thanks KV and Patrick!

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