Office La draws on "special magic" of New Orleans for colourful house


The colours of New Orleans’ iconic streetcars informed the decor palette chosen by local studio Office La for this bright pink house.

Office La founder Lauren Hickman Ross is a long-time friend of the clients, who asked her to reimagine a building at the corner of Chartres and Desire streets in New Orleans.

Original penny-hex tiles inside the home were retained and helped to inform the interior colour palette

Opposite Crescent Park on the banks of the Mississippi River, the single-storey structure was formerly a corner store and then a bar before becoming a home.

“Tasked with outfitting a space that is seeping in and of New Orleans, Office La sought to capture a special magic only felt here through colour and light,” said Hickman Ross.

Green partitions and an antique desk in front of a raised dining room
The dining and kitchen area is raised slightly from the lounge and bar

For the interiors, the designer looked to the city for influences — particularly the historic streetcars that criss-cross its

The vehicles, also known as trolleys, are painted swampy green and deep red, and Hickman Ross introduced these hues throughout the house.

View from green kitchen to red-painted window frames
Window trims are painted red, while millwork is green

“These contrasting colours are immediate wins in the eye pleasure game,” Hickman Ross said.

“Further, sunk in a bowl of its own creation, New Orleans also produces fantastic sunsets that colour the humid air with pinks and lavenders against the year round lush green subtropical landscape.”

Kitchen with pale green cabinets and tropical wallpaper
Designer Lauren Hickman Ross looked to the city’s tropical climate and historic streetcars for influences

In the social space, the kitchen and dining area is raised a couple of steps up from the lounge and bar, which includes an oxblood-toned pool table.

Original penny-hex floor tiles patterned in red, yellow and green-gray were retained in this lower area, further adding to the varied colour scheme.

Window trims – including a long pill-shaped aperture – are painted red, while partitions and millwork are green, complementing pale pink walls.

The residence is filled with a mix of cosy, tactile soft furnishings and exposed wood elements, alongside vintage finds and local art.

Dark red bedroom with a hand-drawn mural
Artist RJ Raizk hand-drew murals in each of the bedrooms

“On the walls is a mixed-media drawing by native Roy Ferdinand, as well as works by other artists including Sally Heller, Emilio Sanchez, and Max Seckel to name a few,” Hickman Ross said.

In each bathroom and bedroom, artist RJ Raizk has hand-drawn a unique mural using patterns and colours lifted from the rest of the home.

Bathroom with green, red and pink tiles
The bathroom tiles are green, red and pink

The building’s exterior continues the streetcar red and green as accents, framing expanses of wooden boards painted bright pink.

Equally maximalist interiors in New Orleans can be found at The Chloe Hotel, designed by Sara Ruffin Costello, and Hotel Peter and Paul in a converted 19th-century schoolhouse, convent and church.

The photography is by Alison Gootee.



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