Sarah & Jeremy’s Quirky ’70s-Inspired New Orleans Apartment

published May 27, 2015
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(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Name: Sarah Smith & Jeremy Ballard
Location: Carrollton; New Orleans, Louisiana
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 7 years; Rented

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When Sarah and Jeremy met in Savannah, Georgia, they bonded over a shared love of collecting vintage toys, oddball objects and natural specimens. She was studying painting at Savannah College of Art and Design and he was a glassblower working at a new studio in town. Their dates consisted of hunting for treasures in thrift stores and junk shops. They have the same idea of what constitutes a good find: “the creepier, the funkier, the better,” says Jeremy. They spent hours combing long stretches of road outside of town in search of insects they incorporated in their art. “A bug can die and it stays totally perfect,” Sarah explains, “I love butterfly and dragon wings for their delicate and lacy beauty.”

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This door opens to the stairs that lead to Sarah & Jeremy’s apartment. (Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Thirteen years later, the New Orleans apartment Sarah and Jeremy share with their two young children reflects the nostalgic yearnings that brought them together as young artists. The walls are decorated with the beloved objects they’ve gathered and inherited – separately and as a couple – throughout the years. Nearly all of their furnishings are vintage. The couple prefers to salvage and refurbish pieces rather than buying something new. “In the days before big box manufacturing, things were made with more thought; things were made to last,” Sarah explains. Jeremy enjoys tinkering with electronics and bringing them back to life. A collection of vintage radios decorate the hallway outside of the kids’ room and a larger one is now a side table in the dining room. He has incorporated his handblown glass into the space – as door knobs, drawer pulls, chandelier embellishments – in every room.

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Judging from June’s growing collection of nesting dolls and silver dollars – both annual gifts from her grandfather, also a collector – and Louis’ love of vintage windup toys, the kids take after their parents. Jeremy says he always had them in mind – even before they were born – as he acquired things. “I was a romantic in the way that I was thinking about my kids,” he says. Wondering whether June and Louis will want to inherit their collections some day, Sarah muses, “I think it’s really interesting now, raising kids in a house with everything from previous decades, because of the newness of everything in their generation. I hope that we can instill in them an appreciation of the past.”

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Quirky, whimsical, sentimental

Inspiration: The ’70s , nature, oddball objects, nostalgic yearnings

Favorite Element: Our collections, the passed down family treasures, the things that make the space personal.

Biggest Challenge: Dust and small children

What Friends Say: You have a lot of stuff!

Biggest Embarrassment: The utility room in the back of the house is always a disaster. Its where the clutter ends up. Boxes, kid stuff, pet things. Its always a mess.

Proudest DIY: The glass light fixtures that Jeremy has made are special to us. The chandeliers and door knobs are things we are especially proud of.

Biggest Indulgence: We have such limited space and have so many things already that bringing in anything new is pretty indulgent. We try to be very choosy now

Best Advice: Keep changing. Cull and edit your collections. Try something new.

Dream Sources: Estate sales and flea markets.


(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Living and Dining Room : Glidden : Dusty Miller
  • Kitchen : Valspar : Paprika
  • Kids’ room and Hallway : Valspar : Sunwash Resort
  • Bathroom: Valspar : Powder Blue #1
  • Bedroom : Olympic : Crescendo
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Chandelier : found and rehabed by Jeremy
  • Giant mirror : inherited from grandfather
  • Paintings : by Sarah
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Sofa : second hand
  • Vintage TV console : found on the street, gutted, and refinished.
  • Lamps : thrift stores
  • Side tables : found on street
  • Display cabinet and coffee table : Jere’s antiques in Savannah, GA.
  • Art : family photos, flea market finds
  • Mantel: cast glass and blown glass by Jeremy and collected natural items.
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Table : Jere’s Antiques in Savannah, GA
  • Antique international radio : found object, refinished and legs added.
  • Pachincko machine : 70’s era acquired overseas by Jeremy’s father.
  • Chandelier: antique base; crystals made by Jeremy
  • Large painting : by Sarah
  • Vintage portraits : found on street
  • Antique humidor : Magazine Antique Mall in New Orleans
  • Curtains : made by Sarah
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Table : flea market
  • Chair : thrift store
  • Curtains: handmade
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Virgin Mary display case : flea market
  • Marys : accumulated over years
  • Dresser : Jere’s Antiques in Savannah, GA
  • Bedspread : Urban Outfitters
  • Curtains : made by Sarah
  • Antique chairs : found and thrift
  • Lamp : antique with handblown shade by Jeremy
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Chandelier and shower curtain : Urban Outfitters
  • Display case and vintage toys : Flea market
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Vintage bend rattan furniture : from great aunt
  • Chair swing : thrift store
  • Dollhouse : found on street
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Bed : Ikea
  • Display case, trunk, and dresser : River Road Flea Market
  • Light fixtures : Ceiling fan light shade and vintage chandelier by Jeremy
  • mirror : thrift store rehab
  • Art : painting by Jeremy
  • Art : assemblage by Nate Carroll
  • Toys : Collected by Sarah & Jeremy mostly from Thrift Stores over the course of many years
  • Blue birds on walls: thrift store (they were originally gold)
(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)


  • Antique pendant light : inherited from Sarah’s grandfather
  • Vintage radios : accumulated from flea markets

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Thanks, Sarah & Jeremy!