I’ve been begging Lauren Greenberg to let us photograph her Austin home for years — it’s truly one of my favorite renovations, and an unbelievable before-and-after. During my most recent efforts, Lauren, in an attempt to appease me, offered up her New Orleans home instead. I obliged without question, the reasons being: one, beggars can’t be choosers, and two, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind it would be just as photo worthy. I wasn’t wrong. In their shotgun home in New Orleans’ Irish Channel, Lauren and her husband Sean have managed to do what they do best: take inspiration from their surroundings, put their own artistic spin on it, and create a space that’s beautifully designed, but totally relaxed.
Admittedly, I wasn’t a total stranger to the space. I’ve caught many glimpses of it over the years as a backdrop to the kind of raucous revelry that only New Orleans can produce, and that only Instagram Stories allows you to see.
Like any good New Orleanian, Lauren and Sean are serious about having a good time, and never is that truer than during Mardi Gras, when music, tradition and celebration fill the city streets.
Or in the Greenbergs’ case, they walk right through the front door, and make themselves at home. It’s a beautiful homage to a city bursting with history, and a place we hope to visit soon. Read on for all the soulful details, and to get the inside scoop on the project that Lauren and Sean plan to reveal next.
Those floors! And doors! And high ceilings! Tell us about your home.
I had been watching New Orleans real estate for a few years and this single shotgun house one block off Magazine Street caught my eye. It was over 100 years old in fairly good condition (by New Orleans’ standards) and perfectly situated between Uptown and the Garden District within walking distance to some of our favorite spots. It felt almost too good to be true! We moved in September of 2017 and split our time between here and Austin. This town isn’t super Airbnb friendly and we wanted to respect the neighborhood so instead of listing it on a home share site, we rent it out to friends and family when we’re not here.
We want on that list. What’s your favorite way to spend time at home?
Honestly, we spend more time away from home when we’re in town since it’s such a social place – there’s always a party, a dinner or parade to attend! But I love coming home from an early morning walk with Ludo, turning on WWOZ radio and sipping coffee in the living room.
How did New Orleans play into your design inspiration?
It’s hard not to be inspired by this city. Its steeped in rich history and so culturally diverse there is originality in its architecture, food, music and art. The carefree vibe makes it’s easier to be playful and bold in design. I also found myself naturally drawn to shades of green surrounded by all the lush, tropical vegetation.
So, shotgun style homes — so charming, but so tricky. How did that present design challenges?
The overall layout is unique. A traditional shotgun requires you to walk through all of the rooms to reach the back of the house which might sometimes mean walking through the master bedroom. Our house features a unique side entrance off of a hallway which made the floor plan a little tricky to navigate. Somehow, we managed to collect some very unusual pieces like these petite bamboo side chairs we found in Atlanta’s Chinatown and a very shallow tiki-style bar that seemed to fit the space very naturally.
What was the overall inspiration for this house?
Sean and I go on a few antiquing trips per year and almost everything in this house was found on one of those trips. My inspiration was a combination of funky Caribbean-esque pieces like our rattan buffet paired with Old World elegance like marble lamps and velvet side chairs.
Yes! We are definitely picking up on those Carribean vibes.
It sounds like you collect a lot of inspiration (and pieces!) from your travels. Do you have any favorite design resources?
I use Pinterest to create mood boards for any project. AD, Apartamento, Roman & Williams, World of Interiors, Coveteur home tours, and T Magazine too.
How about any favorite places to shop?
Above, The Greenbergs’ dining room is painted in Farrow and Ball’s Breakfast Room Green.
You’re not an interiors designer by trade, but you have such an eye for it! Do you have one go-to design tip to share with home decorators?
Fill your home with things you love, especially art.
Who are your dream house guests?
We love hosting friends who have never been here. It gives us an excuse to do fun, touristy things and indulge in all the food!
What’s your favorite spot in the house? (I know mine.)
Our bedroom. I love the dark, moody walls (painted in Farrow and Ball Inchyra Blue) and our canopy bed. On nice days, we open the shutters and prop open the window facing onto the street. Neighbors are chatting on their porches, bikes are constantly whirring by or the marching band practices at the nearby school… you feel so connected to the city.
We especially love following along on your New Orleans adventures this time of year. What does Mardi Gras look like at your house?
Glitter, rhinestones, glue guns, more glitter. Oh, and king cake!
Fill in the blank: A well-designed home should _______. reflect the personality of its owner.
Tell us more about what you do at Work in Progress.
Work in Progress is a boutique digital agency we founded around six years ago. We build e-comm sites and digital marketing strategies for retail brands. I launched an online gallery of the same name to represent a few emerging artists whose work I admire. My husband and I are actually in the process of opening our own retail concept in Austin called Maufrais. The space will include coffee and kolaches, a custom Stetson hat bar, antiques, housewares and an event space/gallery on South Congress.
We are counting down the days until Maufrais’s opening! You always have such amazing art. Tell us about the different pieces in your home.
They all have great stories! We have several pieces from Leroy Miranda Jr. (below), a native New Orleanian whose work I discovered in a restaurant in the Bywater a few years ago and sculptures from Barcelona artist Diego Cabezas (both artists whom I represent). A friend of ours introduced us to a Brazilian folk artist named Rodrigo Pecci who was living in New Orleans when we bought the house. His painting on a salvaged dining room table top hangs in our living room and was one of the first things we moved in. We also have a Butch Anthony piece in our bedroom that aptly says ‘Ain’t No Rest for the Weary’ and a large painting of ‘Olivia’ on an unstretched canvas by artist Miguel Rangel. ‘Olivia’ instantly reminded me of voodoo priestess Marie Laveau despite having found her in Austin. She’s my Texas Voodoo Queen.
Describe your home in 5 words or less:
charming, quirky, cozy, carefree, drafty