A Major Renovation Revealed the Architectural Beauty of This Now-Stunning New Orleans Home

updated Dec 19, 2019

A Major Renovation Revealed the Architectural Beauty of This Now-Stunning New Orleans Home

updated Dec 19, 2019
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Cali Gabrielle and Otis the Boston Terrier
Location: Central City, New Orleans, Louisiana
Size: 1300 square feet
Ownership: Owned 3 years

Cali’s traditional New Orleans shotgun home may be 103 years old, but when she toured it for the first time it, everything about it screamed of the 1970s, down to the faux wood-grain tape on the doors and window frames. When she pushed up a square tile of the dropped ceiling and saw 12-foot ceilings and the original plaster, she knew the house was an architectural gem just waiting to be uncovered. With the help of family and friends, she and her ex-partner embarked on a two-year renovation. They removed vinyl wood paneling to reveal brick chimneys and pulled up linoleum parquet flooring and dirty shag carpeting to find original wide-plank wood floors.

"I would say my style is an eclectic mix. I‘m drawn to an array of interior & architectural styles and like to mix traditional, modern and some trendier pieces," says homeowner Cali Gabrielle.

Cali, who’s the Sales Director at Civic Theatre, modernized the cramped original layout, which included a series of small rooms leading from one to the next, by knocking down two walls. The result is a fluid space that includes a dining room that’s completely open to the kitchen on one side and partially open to the living room on the other. A last-minute decision to expose the joists and vault the ceiling in the back of the house created an airy, sun-drenched oasis for the master bedroom.

The left side of Cali's double shotgun includes a guest bedroom that opens to the living room, and a half bathroom. There is also an in-law suite, accessed from the side of the house (not pictured), that she rents out. Having the rental as a source of income added to the property's initial appeal and is a crucial aspect of the home's affordability.

Now that the house is (mostly) finished, Cali loves hosting Mardi Gras crawfish boils, entertaining friends, and lounging on the couch with Otis. While the renovation was a long and grueling process, Cali is thrilled with the results. “Uncovering the history and charm of this house built in 1916, and watching my designs come to life,” she reflects, “has been incredibly rewarding.” Those visiting New Orleans can experience her style by renting out a guest suite in the home on Airbnb.


The biggest challenge was doing a major renovation on a budget and finding affordable versions of the expensive pieces I fell in love with.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I would say my style is an eclectic mix. I‘m drawn to an array of interior and architectural styles and like to mix traditional, modern, and some trendier pieces. I love thrifting and perusing estate sales/Craigslist to find unique pieces that (hopefully) create a collected and comfortable vibe. 

Late Bloomer by New Orleans-based artist Haley Gablerlavage stands out against Benjamin Moore's striking Newberg Green in the guest bathroom.

Inspiration: My stylish friends’ houses, The Eames House, Paris apartments, New Orleans, Design within Reach, Palm Springs, Brooklyn brownstones, Jean-Michel Frank, The ’70s, Bauhaus, bohemian bungalows, the list goes on…

Favorite Element: All the architectural charm we uncovered under the wood paneling and dropped ceilings during the renovation—especially the chimneys and the original wide plank wood floors that were hiding under parquet, linoleum flooring, and shag carpeting. The exposed ceiling joists in the master are also at the top of the list. Leaving the beams exposed and vaulting the ceiling above was a spur of the moment decision made during renovations.

An abstract painting by Cali Gabrielle in a vintage gilded frame found at estate sale is a focal point in the master bathroom.

Biggest Challenge: An extensive renovation can be difficult because the design possibilities are relatively endless—and pulling the trigger on large/permanent items can be daunting. The biggest challenge was doing a major renovation on a budget and finding affordable versions of the expensive pieces I fell in love with.

Proudest DIY: Sanding and staining the master bedroom floors (white) by hand.

Biggest Indulgence: Honestly, all of this is an indulgence—but it’s very well worth it. Also, my nicer art pieces were definitely an indulgence—it’s a personal goal of mine to buy one investment art piece a year.

This mid-century teak fresco credenza is in mint condition and was a major score from an estate sale in New Orleans.

Best Advice: Commit to larger pieces that are relatively neutral and timeless then layer in vintage, thrifted, and bolder pieces. Don’t buy everything from big box stores. Set a Craigslist alert (can do by keyword) if you are looking for specific pieces—I have found many goodies that way! Also, buy art from your friends!

Cali found a pair of original 1970s Wassily chairs by setting an alert on Craigslist. "I have found many goodies that way!," she says.

Best Home Secret: Go to as many estate sales as you can!



  • Living Room, Kitchen, Dining Room, Bedroom: Behr- Polar Bear
  • Guest Room: Farrow & Ball- Light Blue
  • Guest half bath: Benjamin Moore- Newberg Green
  • Kitchen island: Benjamin Moore- Newberg Green
  • Master bath (color blocked wall) Farrow & Ball- Pink Ground


  • Axel sofa— West Elm
  • Coffee Table — Vintage/ Side of the road in Bywater, New Orleans
  • Lunar Ivory Vase – CB2
  • Wassily Chair (original, 70s): Vintage/ Craigslist
  • Rug: Vintage/ Ebay
  • Green Velvet & Wood chairs: Vintage (have had these since college!)
  • Washed Linen Cushion Cover: H&M
  • Martini Side table (White): West Elm
  • White hands dish: Vintage
  • Vintage Burl wood side table: Etsy/ Little Shop Many Things
  • Layered Book End Planter: West Elm
  • Marble lamp: Craigslist
  • Abalone Shell Dry-Laquer Box: Yoshio Okada / Les Puces de Saint-Ouen (Paris Flea)
  • Planter: Home Depot
  • Gold oval mirror- Vintage – River Road Flea Market (New Orleans)
  • Pol Bury Galerie Maeght Lithograph- Vintage- Chairish
  • Bentwood chair: Vintage
  • Black Marble Nesting table – West Elm (discontinued)
  • Stepped Form Ceramic vase (blue) – West Elm
  • Gold Lizard Candelabra: Vintage/ Les Puces de Saint-Ouen (Paris Flea)
  • Mantis Swivel Wall Sconce Black: CB2
  • Original Nude Line Drawings: Jessica Strong @jessica.strong.design
  • Wood braided Stool: Vintage/ Jefferson Flea (New Orleans)
The vintage farmhouse table is a “museum loan” from Cali's good pal Stacy, who purchased it from the Roots TV show set decoration sale.


  • Modern Gold Pendant Light – YOKA Modern/ Amazon (discontinued)
  • Vintage portrait, female – Vintage/ Chelsea Flea (NYC)
  • Abstract canvas with gold leaf (over mantle) – painted by Cali Gabrielle
  • Large white asymmetrical vase – CB2 (discontinued)
  • Pure white ceramic egg – West Elm
  • Glass Knot – West Elm
  • Farm House Table – Vintage/ “Museum Loan” from my good pal Stacy, who purchased it from the Roots TV show set decoration sale
  • Brass and gold taper candle holders- Vintage
  • Hoffmann dining chairs – Vintage/ Craigslist
  • Persian Rug: Vintage/ Chelsea Flea Market (NY) rug vendor: @marksarapi777
  • Phillpe Starck reproduction chair – Wayfair
  • Black and white photograph of Los Angeles in the early 1950 taken my grandfather (very cherished item)
  • Floating Acrylic Frame – Amazon
  • Hiline Sconce, Black – Human Home
  • Mid Century Teak Fresco Credenza – Vintage/ Estate Sale (New Orleans)
  • Original female nude, charcoal “Neva”- Brianna George
  • Green Marble taper candle holders – CB2 (discontinued)
  • His/Hers/Ours pitcher set – Vintage
  • Black ceramic vase – Magda Made
  • Mirror and brass tray – Vintage
  • Assorted bar accessories – Vintage


  • Hay Print – Richard Coleman
  • Vintage Shoe display/ wine rack – Estate sale (New Orleans)
  • Assorted Cookware – Le Crueset
  • Underneath 2 Seriograph, Wener Pfeiffer – Vintage / Estate Sale (Vashon Island) – Similar
  • Hermetic Storage Jars with retro labels – Vintage/ The Conran Store (NYC)
  • Hands print in gold frame – Jenny Sharaf
  • Pink Depression glasses & Star martini glasses – Vintage/ Estate Sale (New Orleans)
  • Utility Kitchen Canisters – West Elm
  • GE Solid State FM/AM Radio – Vintage/ Renaissance Interiors (New Orleans)
  • Stepped Form Ceramic Vase, Aqua Ice – West Elm
  • Large canvas, cream and navy – painted by Cali Gabrielle
  • Persian Rug – Vintage/ Estate Sale (New Orleans)


  • Original female nude line drawings- Brianna George
  • Calder Original Exhibition Print – Vintage – Similar
  • Hera Side Table – West Elm
  • Ceramic Bud Vase – West Elm
  • Wassily Chair (original, 70s) – Vintage/ Craigslist
  • Lynea Lamp 40” – Human Home
  • Small cowhide rug – Ebay
  • Bedding – stone washed linen (ivory)
  • Cushion Cover with Tassels (yellow) – H&M
  • Moroccan Pom Pom blanket – Etsy
  • 70s coverlet – Vintage/ Estate Sale (New Orleans)
  • Bentwood chair “bedside tables” – Vintage/ Side of the road in Bywater, New Orleans
  • Marble & Black table lamp – West Elm (discontinued)
  • Gold pharmacy floor lamp – Vintage/ Red White & Blue Thrift (New Orleans)
  • Frida Kahlo photograph and carved wood frame – Vintage/ Estate sale (New Orleans)
  • Dresser – Vintage/ Jefferson Flea Market (New Orleans)
  • Glass head sculpture – Vintage/ Jefferson Flea Market (New Orleans)
  • Gold Mirror – Vintage, Renaissance Interiors (New Orleans)
  • Late 19th century Walnut & Brass tray – Vintage/ Les Puces de Saint-Ouen (Paris Flea)
  • Planter – Home Depot
The hallway leading to the master suite is lined with vintage rugs from Chelsea Flea in New York City. The pendant light, Balance Lamp, is from Etsy.


  • Vintage Rugs – Chelsea Flea (NYC) rug vendor: @marksarapi777
  • Cork coffee table – Ikea (discontinued)
  • Abo Randers Danish Lamp, Blue – Vintage/ Etsy, vendor: NewOrleansForYo
  • Metro Delay Print – BADCC/ Society 6
  • Unfeigned print – Carlos ARL
  • Duke Print – Camilla Perkins / Print Club London
  • Fiesta ware disc pitcher – Vintage
  • Pendant Light – Balance Lamp/ Etsy
  • Small blue sculptural piece – Robert Moreland


  • Metal and glass cabinet – Nadeau
  • Round Black Mirror, large – Amazon
  • Raw Brass Industrial Wall Sconces – Illuminate Vintage/ Etsy
  • Tortoise Shell tray – Sunday Shop
  • Turkish Hand Towel – Loomed/ Sunday Shop
  • Abstract art – painted by Cali Gabrielle, Vintage gilded frame found at estate sale
  • Original nude Line Drawing – Jessica Strong @jessica.strong.design
  • Rug – Vintage/ Chelsea Flea Market (NY) rug vendor: @marksarapi777
  • Purple bud vase – Vintage (found under house during construction)
  • Art Deco molded glass dish – Vintage / Les Puces de Saint-Ouen (Paris Flea)
An old darkroom door from Cali's alma mater Loyola University is not only charming, but a big space-saver used as a barn door in this small guest bedroom.


  • Become Your Dream Art piece – De La Vega
    De La Vega chalked his uplifting messages on the streets of Manhattan frequently during my childhood. My mom cut this particular piece off of the back of a junked couch on the street in NYC; it is very cherished.
  • Peacock Chair – Vintage
  • New Mexico Original Photograph – Vintage
  • Burl wood Armoire – Vintage/ Craigslist
  • Large glass vases – World Market
  • Persian Rug – Vintage
  • Hoffmann Armchair – Vintage/ Craigslist
  • Marble candle holders – Vintage
  • Bella Table Lamp (blue) – West Elm
  • Vanity table – Orwa Designs/ Etsy (custom order)
  • Large canvas art – Painted by Cali Gabrielle
  • Lynea Lamp 40” White: Human Home
  • Planter – Home Depot


  • Late Bloomer Print – Haley Gablerlavage
  • Gold Sconce – Vintage/ Estate Sale (New Orleans)
  • Decorative Wall Mirror (black) – Target
  • Terracotta Vase – Target (discontinued)
  • Small Persian rug – Vintage/ Chelsea Flea (NY) rug vendor: @marksarapi777
  • Brass patina table mirror – vintage
  • Cactus tray – Little Flea New Orleans

Thanks, Cali and Otis!

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