A Cozy New Orleans Rental Feels Like a Tropical Tree House, Thanks in Part to an Envy-Inducing Back Porch

published Aug 24, 2020

A Cozy New Orleans Rental Feels Like a Tropical Tree House, Thanks in Part to an Envy-Inducing Back Porch

published Aug 24, 2020
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Name: Daphne Pastard, and Midge the Kitten
Location: Garden District New Orleans
Size: 950 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, renting

It’s the architecture and the surrounding nature that inspired graphic designer Daphne Pastard when it came to filling her Garden District rental apartment. “The building itself is almost 100 years old (with original floors) and I have the entire third floor,” she says. “None of the windows up here face the street and neither of the houses next door have a third floor so this place feels like a private tropical tree house complete with banana trees outside of my bedroom window. I wanted to bring some of that tropical feeling inside with the mixed woods, cane and rattan, plants, and small details like a banana skirt Josephine Baker print.”

“It was really important to have a space that felt all my own,” she admits. “I’m so happy that I have this place to come back to after fighting for Black lives and facing the biggest public health crisis in modern history. This space is very inspired by Black art and culture, fashion, and similar to my childhood home, it’s about 80% thrifted. The plants and the lighting make the space feel alive. I don’t entertain much, (I’m serious about the private oasis vibe), but when I do it’s long nights on the screened-in porch with a few lanterns on, or homemade pasta eaten on the couch.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Inspiration: I live alone so I wanted the space to feel full. There’s texture, color, plants, and noises from the cat.

Favorite Element: My back porch. Especially with working from home, my back porch has become my office, my dining room table, and an enviable zoom background. It’s the perfect spot for catching sunsets and truly unwinding. It feels like the treehouse I always wanted as a kid.

Biggest Challenge: My biggest challenge with the space was the kitchen. The apartment has virtually no cabinets. I found a rusty bakers rack and restored it for what I thought would be a temporary solution, but I ended up loving it. I love displaying my dishes and switching them up with different plants or vintage kitchen ware.

Proudest DIY: My proudest DIY would have to be the art—specifically the piece over my bed. It’s a devil handing out the infamous orange New Orleans parking ticket. This might be a coincidence, but I’ve gotten way fewer tickets since I hung it over my bed.

Biggest Indulgence: Thrifting! Before I was a graphic designer I spent some time as a set dresser and buyer in the film industry. Part of my job was finding the perfect piece to set the mood of a scene. It made me an excellent thrift shopper (and I ended up keeping a few good pieces.)  

Best Advice: “I have to get up early to score a twenty dollar mid-century side table at this estate sale,” is a perfectly fine excuse to leave social gatherings. 

What’s your best home secret? Rearrange, repurpose, and break rules. The butchers block has been used as a bar cart, a tall table with stools, extra kitchen storage, and now holds my record player. Nothing in my apartment is brand new but gives something a new purpose. Also try a fun bed sheet color. I find the red warm and energizing in the morning.


  • If not mentioned below the item is vintage/thrifted. This includes dishes, vases, pillows, coffee tables, butchers block, side tables/nightstands. And anything else.


  • Couch – CB2 (very old)
  • Couch Blanket ­– Similar
  • Round Shelf– Target
  • Arm Chair – Blely
  • TV stand – Amazon
  • Be a Loud Proud Voice print – Voice Against
  • Record player – Crosley
  • Fan on wall – Party favor from crashing Solange’s birthday party a few years ago


  • Black chairs – Amazon
  • Table – Amazon
  • Fan – Bought at Jazz Fest


Thanks Daphne!

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