A Stylish New Orleans Rental Apartment Has High Ceilings, Tons of Art, and a Masterful Mix of Patterns
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Athlete and social media strategist Whitney Mitchell got lucky in finding this spacious two-bedroom apartment in New Orleans’ Lower Garden District. “A friend from a running club invited me to her place for a quick goodbye as she was transitioning on to find a home in a new city. When I made my way over, I fell in love with her apartment — envying her 12-foot windows and diffused light (the direct opposite of my longtime cave in the Bywater),” explains Whitney. “I’d been chatting with Rachel, (now, my roommate) who was living out-of-state, plotting to find a two-bedroom for a fresh start to place a period on what had been a wild-ass year for the both of us (2016… we all remember). In some kismet way, a listing for a two-bedroom literally upstairs from the 12-foot windows I couldn’t stop thinking about was placed on the market for rent. Rachel and I had only been looking for an apartment for two weeks (lord knows how long that process can actually take — so we were on the lucky side when all of this started to shake). I told the showing agent that we wanted the apartment immediately after entering the doors for the first time — and it was ours.”
Whitney says that their building was once a small school, but it now houses six apartments with enviable architectural details like those in Whitney’s unit — tall ceilings, exposed brick, and more. Whitney says her home’s location feels like a getaway, but still “in the mix” thanks to being within walking distance of stores, work, and more. She doesn’t even need a car to get around!
Living and working in New Orleans since 2007, Whitney (who is originally from Staten Island) refers to herself as an athlete who “has found purpose in strategic marketing within the worlds of non-profits, government, and for-profit brands.” She says, “Currently, I’m the Director of Social Media Strategy at FSC Interactive and a freelance creative with focused work on the Black experience within outdoor spaces and contemporary living. Much of that work connects community to brand products and resources. On top of those things, prior to COVID-19, I taught indoor cycling classes three nights a week — I can’t tell you how much I miss it.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: As the last of eight children — six sisters and one brother — I’ve learned to find inspiration and influence in the smallest of details (children’s drawings, forgotten playing cards, etc.) and anything that has had several lifetimes. My spirit is stuck in the ’70s — I find my future in the past. To put this all simply, I’m Contemporary Funk.
Inspiration: Think Sly and the Family Stone and Fela Kuti — rich bold colors with a tailored approach to mixxy. No matter how exciting the music (or textured fabric) there’s still an uncanny tranquility present.
Favorite Element: I love my living room. In every apartment I’ve had since I’ve been on my own, my living room is put together before anything else. I live to make space that feels open while still cozy. Everyone knows when you come to my spaces, we’re talking or dancing. There’s no TV distraction.
Biggest Challenge: The ceilings are high as hell — which feels nice until you try to fill the space. So much of my plotting has had to involve height that I didn’t have before and probably won’t find after. So, spending intentionally on things that won’t be excess whenever I leave has been a focus.
Biggest Indulgence: My biggest splurge — that wasn’t something that I exactly needed to make this space livable — is my big, beautiful Cubs the Poet (Chris Davenport) painting “Smooth Mami Chill.” Chris created this piece in real life, in my living room — it was an interactive experience driven by conversation and question. Everything about it reminds me of the time — the music that was playing, the food we ate, and the laughs we shared. It took three days, and I’d do it all again.
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? There’s no dining room; the front space is one big happy living room, full of seating for loungers of all kinds — high, low, and on the ground. If you want people to talk — you’ve got to give them space.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? If you want people to chill, it needs to smell good. My favorite on-oing buy for the apartment is Wildberry’s Big Daddy sticks of incense. And, Sorry! – the board game. If you’ve come over, you’ve played at least twice.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Think up. What will lift your eyes and the spirits of the people you entertain?
If you’re host to personalities in your space, how will you make them feel seen? Show them reflections of them; photos aren’t the only way; display their gifts to you or the notes they’ve written to you.
Textures and color complements create a cozy cohesion — do not be afraid of those prints.
All effort will feel abundant.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Buy from living artists.
Nothing is ugly — you’re just putting it in the wrong spot.
- “Side by Side 2018” Mother and Daughter Prints — Mariana Sheppard
- “The Feels” Embroidery Art — Create The Culture on Etsy
- “Lineage” — Shadrieka on Etsy
- Murray’s Hair Dressing Pomade & Hotcomb — Fruishun
- “The Fish Tank at the Japanese Restaurant – 10:49pm” — Caroline Kaufman
- “Queen” — Ashley Lorraine Photography
- Sven Sofa — Article
- Vintage Bent Rattan End — Iron and Walnut Vintage on Etsy
- 26” Origami Planter — West Elm
- Ema Low Credenza — Urban Outfitters
- Sad Boy with Flower Print — Justin Shiels
- 6’ “Chill Mami Smooth” Painting — CubsthePoet
- NOLA — Douglas Miles
- Blue Steelcase Chair — Merchant House
- Cyan and royal blue poof pillows — Merchant House
- Rattan End Table — Thrifted
- Green tufted headboard — World Market
- Linen duvet cover and bedskirt — Len.ok Linen on Etsy
- Amira Carved Wood Nightstand — Urban Outfitters
- Gold Wire Loop Vanity — Urban Outfitters
- Wire Loop Vanity Stool — Urban Outfitters
- “Moon Marked & Touched By The Sun” canvas pennant — Rayo and Honey
- Blue steelcase chair — Merchant House
- Fishbone cactus — Fait NOLA
- Ceramic hanging basket — Fait NOLA
- Gold metal globe floor lamp — Target
- 2-step bookshelf — Thrifted
- Wood and gold frame desk — World Market
This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.
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