Big, Easy

Oh hi! I’m Paige Wassel. WAS the Newsletter is your weekly dose of design inspiration, where les bons temps rouler.

We’re spending time in the Crescent City this week. With so much else to do here, you may find yourself distracted by beignets, Bourbon Street, and live jazz. But if you can tear yourself away from the French Quarter, you’re going to uncover a treasure trove of design because the cities with the most ghosts always have amazing thrifting. This week, here’s the best of what New Orleans has to offer:

These items probably aren’t haunted, but I make no guarantees.


I’ve partnered with to highlight real estate listings I love in various cities across the country. This week, I’m taking my cue from Tennessee Williams who said, “America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.” As a Yankee who’s never lived below the Mason-Dixon Line, I’m taken by how different the vibe is down in NOLA. (FYI, if a Southerner calls you a Yankee, it’s not a compliment.) Anyway, here’s what I love about a few aspirational places that I imagine all of us would be happy to call home.

First up, let’s check out 6020 Garfield Street:

There’s a lot to love in this MCM marvel, designed by the former Dean of the Tulane School of Architecture. While the property is almost 60 years old, so many of the design elements still feel fresh and modern. The beamed ceilings are perfection, as are all the built-ins and the brickwork. Yes, the kitchen finishes could use some updates, but in terms of space and storage, it would be a phenomenal blank slate.

I have to highlight the way they’ve married the outside and interior spaces, which is thanks to Robert Royston, who’s considered one of the forefathers of landscape architecture. The ancient oak trees in front and back are a centerpiece of his design. Looks like a home sale is pending here, and if anyone messes with the classical design elements inside or out, the ghost most likely to haunt this place is me.

Next up, here’s 1640 Palmer Ave:

If you’re into traditional architecture, this one is an absolute unit. The leaded glass is to die for and the massive columned archway into the sitting room took my breath away. The step-down area to the powder room on the first floor is exquisite. Also, I love all the bedroom fireplaces and the bathroom tiling. Less isn’t always more. Sometimes more is more.

This is the kind of home you’d really want to spend time in, as there’s so much detail to absorb in every room. And then there’s the Moroccan feel they brought to the outdoor space—are you in Louisiana or a souk in Marrakech? Who can tell, and please bring me another Sazerac.

Last, let’s peek inside this beauty at 3515 Saint Charles Ave:

There’s aspirational and then there’s aspirational. This English Regency style historic home, built in 1932, is the later. Will you need a roommate—or ten—to afford this place? Yes, but it will be worth it. First, the one-city-block property is walled on all sides. When you enter the grounds, you’re greeted by traditional English knot gardens and enough outdoor space to entertain everyone you know. The screened porch with the arched brickwork is like nothing I’ve ever seen.

Once inside, every single fixture and detail is looking fire, Pookie. The chandeliers, the paneling, the dentil molding, all of it painstakingly preserved. Every fabric and antique rug is exquisite. But who cares about the rest of the house when there’s a majestic fireplace across from the soaking tub?

They say that New Orleans is one of the most haunted cities because the dead refuse to rest as there’s no solid ground. That’s one possibility. The more likely possibility is that ghosts have impeccable taste and there’s no reason for them to go elsewhere.


Benjamin Moore: Landscape

Finish: Flat

Room Light Level: Any