Tyler & Matthias’ Lofty Cottage

published Dec 10, 2014
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(Image credit: Paul Zansler)

Name: Tyler Antrup and Matthias Helfen
Location: St Roch; New Orleans, Louisiana
Size: 850 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year; Owned

Tyler and Matthias’ cottage, shared by kitty Bruce and pitbull rescue Omie Wise, is hard to miss when coming up their street. The Crayola-esque hues make the house stand out amongst the neighbors, many of which are in pre-renovation state. The St Roch neighborhood is one of deep history, though it may be best known for the local cemetery, which was founded by a German priest in 1867 during the yellow fever epidemic. Wandering through the neighborhood, dumpsters and construction crews signal a turning. The neighborhood is experiencing a rebirth.

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(Image credit: Paul Zansler)

The cottage reads large, but this airy, open feel was not the case when the couple first saw the residence. The house had dark paneling and dropped ceilings throughout, and the kitchen and bath needed upgrading. But the house had a flow unlike most homes that the couple had seen in their hunt. “The rooms were larger and not as square as the typical shotgun-style homes that we had been shown. And the flow was also better than the room-on-room layout of a typical shotgun,” says Tyler. This house has a layout similar to a Creole cottage; two rooms wide by, on one side, two rooms deep. Though the house basically consists of these three main rooms, the space does not feel tight. Each of the rooms are relatively generous in size, and flow well between each other.

After purchasing, layers of bad “renovations” came down to reveal the true character of the structure. The ceilings returned to their original height, and doorways were opened between the living and eat-in kitchen. The poorly-built back porch and bedroom additions were torn down and rebuilt. While keeping the traditional detailing of the simple architecture, the renovated home has an loft-like feel.

Entering the home, the couple’s aesthetic is evident in their easy decorating style. Both are now urban planners, but Tyler spend two years as an architect before making a career switch. The living room and eat-in kitchen open on to each other, yet are visually separated by the existing fireplace. The chevron firebox cover is made of reclaimed lathe from the demoed walls. Sparse mid-century and modern furnishings and bright art reflect a simple, youthful, and fun lifestyle. The accent colors are used with a modicum of restraint; bold but not overpowering (like a favorite accessory—the pair of coveted, decorated heels from Krewe of Muses).

The kitchen, a sunny yellow, is presided over by a huge bird which once graced a 1940s Mardi Gras float. The clean lines of IKEA cabinetry and a concrete counter lend a Shaker simplicity, and open shelving allowed for a traditional display of funky dishware. Quirky artwork sketched on the blackboard backsplash further break from the austerity. A well-stocked bar set up on the sideboard of a vintage dining set from the grandparents nods to a different sort of fun.

Off the kitchen is the bedroom and bath. A map headboard, only a small portion of a larger collection of vintage road maps, is set off by a striking teal wall. In the bath, the gray tones if the vintage-inspired mosaic tiled floor are invigorated by lime hued walls. The shower surround is specially sealed clapboard. Also on the back of the house, off the living room, is the screened porch. Considering the languid south Louisiana weather, the porch often acts as a second living area. The view from here is green and lush. Tyler explained: their rain garden (a pit filled with rocks) filters and slows the seepage of water into the ground rather than letting the water run right into the city’s already-taxed pumping system. The garden manages almost 75% of the water shed from the home’s roof.

Together the couple has resurrected a once cramped cottage to be a modern, bright, and lively home.

(Image credit: Paul Zansler)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Comfortable Contemporary

Inspiration: Color, clean lines, organic textures

Favorite Element: Chevron Fireplace made from repurposed lathe or Operable Transoms

Biggest Challenge: Finishing the exterior painting

What Friends Say: : Cute, comfortable, calm

Biggest Embarrassment: General unfinished state of some things. The floors in the kitchen need refinished, I need to install a hood over the range, finish painting the outside, new window above the back door, and concrete in the backyard, endless!

Proudest DIY: Assembling the IKEA kitchen or the hanging bike racks

Biggest Indulgence: Art, lots of little pieces of art from paint by numbers to custom pieces, also taxedermy.

Best Advice: Don’t need everything to be done at once, live with the little things that can be done later.

Dream Sources: Design within reach, basically any Eames/Mies/Corbusier/Nelson pieces. dream is a Wassily Chair in brown cow skin.

(Image credit: Paul Zansler)

Resources of Note:


  • Paint Colors: Bayside Blue, Summer Squash and Purple Gala / Valspar
  • Lighting Fixture: Lowes, Portfolio
  • House Numbers: Home Depot, The Hillman Group


  • Paint Colors: Pantone Radiant Orchid, (Can’t remember name of the blue)
  • Sofa: West Elm Daybed, not sure model name, discontinued.
  • Arm chairs: Mod side chair from an estate sale, I reupholstered it with the blue fabric. Rocker from IKEA.
  • Coffee Table: Vintage, from an estate sale.
  • Lighting Fixtures: IKEA
  • Art: Cat and Lisa Frankenstein Print by Kiernan Dunn, Drag prints by Chad Sell.


  • Paint Colors: Woodlawn Music Room / Valspar
  • Kitchen Cabinets: IKEA
  • Fittings/Appliances: appliances were gathered from places like Habitat Restore and craigslist. I built the open shelving, brackets from IKEA, I fronted them with the reclaimed lathe from the walls we tore out.
  • Counters: Poured in place concrete
  • Dining Table/Chairs/Sideboard: Set with the sideboard. Vintage, belonged to my great granparents (they had great mod taste).
  • Lighting Fixtures: under cabinet lighting and over sink from IKEA, pendant over sideboard from World Market.
  • Art: The sparrow is an art piece from a 1940’s era Mardi Gras float. There is a stamp on the back and it is attributed to who was at the time a very famous float painter/builder.


  • Paint Colors: Safe Harbor / Olympic
  • Teal Desk: Estate Sale find, it’s actually a Vanity (the middle opens and has a mirror) but I’ve always used it as a desk.
  • White Dresser/Chest of Drawers: IKEA
  • Drafting Table: handmade from the 1940s
  • Nightstand Stools: World Market
  • Maps for Headboard: Collected over the years from estate sales/garage sales. I have hundreds of old road maps.
  • Paper Lantern/Lamp Above Bed: paper lantern is from world market, lamp above the bed is IKEA.
  • Art: Bruce Springsteen Born in the USA, 1st press. ATL, GA and Cane & Hare by So She Sews; Bike New Orleans by Off The Map Art, Beetle in frame from Antique Store, Painting by Lavonia Elberton


  • Paint Colors: Tangy Dill / valspar & & Armor Grey concrete sealer
  • Cabinetry: IKEA
  • Lighting Fixtures: IKEA
  • Shower Curtain: CB2
  • Art: Daddy paint by numbers were a gift from a friend, vintage. Building a Rainbow was a thrift store find. A friend painted the David the Gnome piece.


  • Paint Colors: same as front exterior above.
  • Wicker Furniture: Not sure where it came from, it was a hand me down from my parents.
  • Cafe Set: Same as the wicker furniture.
  • Red Metal Cabinet: Estate sale find, it was white enamel, I painted it the red color.
  • Large Concrete Sink: Vintage from The Green Project. We usually stock beer and stuff in it with ice during barbecues also great for rinsing off vegetables from the garden.
(Image credit: Paul Zansler)

Thanks, Tyler and Matthais (and Bruce and Omie Wise)!

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