When KiKi and Mike Nixon bought their home in 2000, they could see great potential in both the neighborhood, Treme, and the old Victorian house. Although the house, built in 1905, had been converted along the way into four apartments, glimpses of its original elegance enticed the couple to embark on an extensive renovation, one that restored the residence back to a single family home. They added a beautiful pool to the large backyard and an artist’s studio for KiKi. The home now functions in the sophisticated yet relaxed way that suits the Nixons perfectly.
Once the structural work was completed, KiKi was ready to furnish and decorate the house. As someone who loves design and many styles, she looked to Shaun Smith and Betsey Nixon Hazard of Shaun Smith Home to “reign it in,” as they fondly call it. The firm’s aesthetic is collected and tailored with modern elements living seamlessly with antiques. It was exactly what the Nixons wanted.
With seven grandchildren and a love of entertaining, everything had to be as comfortable and useful as it was pretty and chic. As Shaun explains, “KiKi is a great friend as well as a client, so she trusted me completely. It was so much fun! She didn’t even want a design presentation. We actually kicked them out of the house for several days while we installed everything. She had no idea what she was walking into, but she was absolutely thrilled.”
The entire interior received a fresh coat of Benjamin Moore’s Decorators White: satin finish for the walls and semi-gloss for all trim. “It’s one of our go-to whites for when a space gets abundant natural light. Art looks great on it,” explains Betsey. For drapery, they used a Kravet linen and wool fabric that falls beautifully from simple rings. The original floors, narrow oak planks in the front of the abode’s more “formal areas” and wide pine boards for the back of the house, were all given the same soft caramel finish. This clean and sparkling backdrop, one of the design firm’s signatures, is perfect for a stylish array of eclectic furniture, lighting, and art. The end result is a masterful mix of honey hues, gold leaf, warm wood and yummy textiles.
A spectacular chandelier that KiKi found at ABC Carpet and Home in New York is drop dead gorgeous in the dining room. With sunshine pouring in, Shaun continued the bright and open look with a 1960s lucite and glass dining table, ebony lacquered chairs found at an estate sale, and an antique mirror from his Magazine Street shop. For accessories, Shaun prefers to go bold, hence the statement-making wall hanging — a painted panel he found at Wirthmore Antiques—and fun bust of Beethoven that he scored at a junk shop. A vintage slipper chair covered in Schumacher’s granny-chic Pyne Hollyhock fabric plays nice with the modern shiny white console from Malachite Home. The adjacent sitting room is KiKi’s favorite spot for reading and lounging after dinner. Anchored by an 18th c Italian marble top table from Shaun’s shop and a second fireplace (both original to the house), the rooms work effortlessly together.
KiKi helmed the kitchen renovation. What was once a back porch is now a bistro-inspired adorable kitchen right off of a large family room. The stainless drawers are actually tool chests from Lowe’s and the cabinets are repurposed old shutters. A crystal chandelier moved from one of the original front rooms, a dramatic giltwood mirror found at Dop Antiques and a thick slab of honed marble on the counter bring loads of patina and bling. But the pièce de résistance? The charming penny tile floor.
Whether mixing a pair of Panton white sculptural chairs with a Provençal tablecloth or dressing an antique settee in a strong Pierre Frey graphic print, there is so much to love in this beautifully decorated home. The palette is crisp and warm, the decor layered and uncluttered; it strikes a wonderful balance of comfortable and chic. Happy clients make happy designers.
This story was featured in the Fall 2019 Issue of Adore Magazine.