A New Orleans couple’s fine-tuned midcentury modern house is a prime example of the genre
At a Glance
SQUARE FOOTAGE 2,080
ARCHITECT Original — Bill Calongne of Lawrence and Saunders, later renovation by previous owner — Cordula Roser Gray.
INTERIOR DESIGN (OF RECENT RENOVATIONS) Betsey Hazard, House of Hazard Interiors.
OUTSTANDING FEATURES Original walnut paneling, master suite with original built-in cabinetry, luxury finishes, abundance of windows, energy efficiency, new landscaping, original oculus skylight.
Working on this house has a backstory,” says interior designer Betsey Hazard, of the midcentury modern house she helped renovate for owners Jessie and Beau Haynes. “I had a blog about the Creole cottage that my husband and I renovated, and Jessie used to follow me. We kind of knew each other and talked through Instagram. When I went out on my own, she contacted me about doing the bedroom and bathroom.”
The Hayneses had been in the already swoon-worthy house for several years when they reached out to Hazard. The previous owner had renovated portions of the property, and the Hayneses had continued the updates, renewing everything from windows and electrical wiring to air conditioning and the roof in order to preserve it for years to come. They’d restored the original wood paneling and installed new cork floors like those that had been there when the house was built.
“We really do believe ourselves to be stewards of the house,” says Jessie Haynes. “We love it so much and knew it needed a lot of tender loving care.”
Hazard took her cues from the iconic architecture of the house, designed in 1957 by Bill Calongne of Lawrence and Saunders Architects, and from the lifestyle of the clients. The couple — she’s managing director of The Helis Foundation and he’s an attorney — have two young sons and wanted to make the most of its 2,080 square feet.
“We did what was appropriate for the house and also reflects their personality and lets my aesthetic come through,” says Hazard, who likens the architecture of the house to that of a boat, in that it cleverly maximizes the space with sleek built-in storage.
Hazard’s design gutted the master bath, recreated the original skylight, which had been covered by plastic, and called for using walnut panels (inspired by those elsewhere in the house) in the bath. A chinoiserie wallpaper with a midcentury vibe was a natural choice for the feature wall of the master bedroom. Hazard combined navy and lavender bedding to complement the wallpaper and carried the same rich blue of the paper into the master closet and the bath.
“We wanted it to feel like a suite,” she says.
Because the bathroom is so small, designer and owners made the decision to splurge on the marble floor and luxury finishes with a ‘60s feel from Waterworks.
“You can spend more because you don’t need as much,” says Hazard of the small but efficient floorplan that now lives larger with two sinks and an expanded shower.
Hazard helped refresh some of the furnishings in the house with playful ideas that draw on the couple’s love of art. An estate sale sofa at the top of the upstairs landing, for example, was reinvigorated with a graphic Kravat fabric that reminded Hazard of a Kravet painting.
“We tried to buy as much as we could locally and have it recovered because of supply delays,” she says.
More recently, Hazard worked with the clients to redecorate the guest room, now centered around a custom-built wall-to-wall upholstered headboard with floating metal sconces. Her brother, carpenter Andrew Nixon of Andrew Nixon Millworks, crafted the headboard as well as the new skylight and the wood paneling in the bathroom.
“The project was about honoring the past but it’s also more contemporary,” says Hazard, noting that some materials are more advanced than those originally used in midcentury houses. “It was fun creatively.”
Last year, the Hayneses’ intentional respect for the house was rewarded when the son of the family that built the house paid a visit with his wife.
“It was a delightful experience,” says Jessie Haynes. “It provided so much joy and answered so many questions. Our piano is right where their piano was.”