Monday, January 16, 2012

Getting back into the game in Big Easy Style!

This year I resolved to get back into the game on more fronts than just one.  As I ease back into work post-baby I decided to review some of my favorite books that I got as gifts from Santa this year.

I am a painter by training and trade but those who know me well know that books, interior design, New Orleans and watching Mad Men are among my favorite hobbies.  Lucky me that I received big, easy STYLE: Creating Rooms You Love to Live In by Bryan Batt, all four favs rolled into one book!  I own lots and lots of books directly and indirectly related to painting, surfaces, interior design, architecture...the list goes on and this book is in my top ten favorite books and I'll tell you why!

Bryan Batt is not only an actor and the author and creative mind behind this beauty but he is also the owner of the New Orleans store Hazelnut.  This store is known not only for it's famous owners(Batt and partner Tom Cianfichi) and charming gifts but also for it's custom made New Orleans toile(in the form of fabric by the yard and gift items) designed by Bryan Batt and Sonia O'Mara.  The toile features beautiful drawings of the St. Louis Cathedral, a street car driving by St. Charles Avenue, a French Quarter balcony, a river boat floating down the Mississippi River and a peek into a French Quarter courtyard.  This toile is the endpaper and makes a great first impression to a book stuffed full of beautiful and unexpected details.

Not only does Batt point out to the reader all of the unique resources and designers New Orleans has to offer but his main purpose for writing the book is taking risks and acquiring confidence in "feathering" your own nest.  He says, " How we decorate the spaces we live in is an opportunity for us to express our individuality, and when there is synergy between a home's great style and it's owner's personal flair, it is nothing short of divine."

As an aesthetic person my favorite points in the book were not to be afraid of color, the creative process of design, creating your own personal collections, mixology, and making space for real functional living.  On every single page Batt offers how New Orleans and his experiences growing up here and visiting various homes has shaped  and inspired his tastes. I must say I feel the same way, New Orleans has everything to do with my interest and love of anything painted.

This book is really a must for those who enjoy these types of books.  New Orleans is known for its grand mansions of a very specific and very formal style and it is also known for its secret french quarter hideaways.  This book shows a completely different side of the city's interiors.  Most of the interiors shown reflect the personal style of some of the New Orleans' great creatives.  It is really fun to flip through and get a not so serious view of the insides of some of these quirky, old buildings that we love down here.  I have included a few of my favorite pictures from the book.

This is the home of Sally and Richard Edrington, interior design: MMR Interiors.  If you follow Melissa's work, this home has been all over the blog-osphere, and for good reason!  In a land where "greige" is the norm this home is completely saturated in color and pattern, very true to the client's personality and indicative of Melissa's work.

This is the home of Gretchen Howard, fellow decorative painter and local artist.  This hue is amazing, and completely unexpected.  I also love the mix of objects on top of this dresser as well as the wonderful "nest" by Khaki Foley.

 I love the sun bleached tortoise shell and gilded Klismos chair, a nice surprise before you head into what seems to be a very formal dining room.

This is Bryan Batt and Tom Cianfichi's New Orleans home.  Wonderful colors and textures: old, new, shiny, matte, natural and man made..all in one room and working very well together.  The thing I like most of about these two rooms is that they don't take themselves too seriously.

Bryan and Tom's home. Again, brave use of color, very functional and not too serious.

Whatever their style is, I feel like all of my clients love "crust"!  I love the color of the crust on both this desk and chair.  The collection on the walls is reverse gilded art glass made by Laurel Wilder available at Hazelnut.

Wonderful painted piece!  I included this because it is a great idea for an otherwise mundane piece of furniture.  This style of furniture seems to pop up often in resale shops and could be saved with a fun tortoise finish.

Love the colors and finishes here.

How clever?  This panel came from Karla Katz's shop and was repurposed into a mantle.

This is the mural from Bryan Batt's childhood home.  Painted by Elizabeth Hadden.

All photos by Kerri McCaffety and then scanned by me, I know they are not perfect, sorry.  The book is available through Crown Publishing, go run and and get it today!


  1. Well!
    I think you wrote this post for me and I thank you!

    While "greige" looks so pretty, it's just not me and it is so refreshing to see color. I just ordered the book. I know what I'll be doing Thursday night....

  2. Hey Annie, I LOVE your blog. Thanks for tuning in. Agreed, I like the way greige looks but my life is too messy for it unfortunately! Color and pattern seem to hide the spills that life brings;) I hope you enjoy the book!

  3. OMG, E.Lee!!! Do you know how many copies I bought of this book while I was there? I have a signed one, too! What a great book! I particularly loved the large Mardi Gras flowers against the strong color. Way me. I'm hoping to do my own post soon and will most certainly reference your gorgeous one. Hope to see you in April!

    1. Hey Regina, I am glad you liked it. It is sincerely one of my favorite books. I actually got 2 copies one from my uncle, one from my parents...they know me well! Yes, let's connect in April. Are you coming for the SOG stuff? I just got the email about the volunteer project.

  4. Great post! Fabulous book. Check out to see her other beautiful toile patterns of New York City and The Hamptons!