As far as design maxims go, “surround yourself with things you love” is pretty much the only rule that we believe must always be followed. When discussing her new home, it’s clear that adhering to this principle has worked well for TSG New Orleans editor Taylor Morgan—though her abode is an example of the idea with a twist: Morgan chose to enlist local businesses she loves to create the perfect new personal environment, starting with designer Shaun Smith of Shaun Smith Home.
Rose Pave from Dunn & Sonnier // Pink pillow: Gerrie Bremermann signature pillow from Bremermann Designs // Slipcover: Alison Seeger Custom Slipcovers (TSG Savannah) // Orange, white, and gold boxes from Source.
Following a year of contemplating a real estate move, Morgan found the perfect apartment on Audubon Park. Craving a new interior aesthetic, she decided to start with a clean slate in terms of furnishings. When she moved in, she bought a bed and a sofa, brought two chairs she’d inherited from her great-grandmother, and figured she’d fill the space over time. In mid-October, Smith, a high school friend of Morgan’s with whom she’d reconnected after TSG New Orleans Vol. 1 launched, came over to visit…and discovered that Morgan hadn’t added much to her spare surroundings.
Smith, a sought-after designer who manages his own store on Magazine Street in addition to working on high-profile design projects, offered to help Morgan turn her house into a home. She gave him a photo for inspiration—a room done almost completely in whites and creams except for a few touches of pink by renowned New Orleans designer Gerrie Bremermann, Smith’s Magazine Street shop neighbor and mentor, and a family friend of Morgan’s—a list, a deadline of December 4 (when Morgan planned on hosting friends for a Christmas/housewarming party), permission to purchase one “splurge item” from Bremermann’s store, and one special request: to source items locally whenever possible.
Six weeks later, on December 4th, Smith arrived at Morgan’s house and sent her away, instructing her to come back at 6. Morgan spent the day running errands for the party, then returned home. “Shaun opened the door and asked, ‘Are you ready for your new life?’”
The Bremermann-inspired palette was beautifully executed. At their earlier meeting, Morgan had told Smith that at another point in her life she would’ve chosen bold, bright colors, but at that moment in time she was currently drawn to calm, peaceful hues. “I love it,” Morgan says. “And pink and white is trending!” Another pleasant surprise was how Smith had incorporated Morgan’s existing pieces. Although he’d brought in most of the big items, he put an unexpected twist on the few things she had, by having her great-grandmother’s chairs recovered in a dreamy light pink fabric and using a Queen Mary statue Morgan had received as a gift just days earlier as a centerpiece. “Now it’s my prayer angel,” Morgan says.
Bar cart from Kathy Slater // Pineapple from Dunn & Sonnier // Wishbone from Eclectic Home // Demilume from Tara Shaw // Coffee table books: House Proud by Sara Essex Bradley, Linens by Jane Scott Hodges // Candle on pedestal: Jonathan Adler “Champagne” from Hattie Sparks
A natural storyteller, Morgan wanted to know the history behind all of Smith’s finds, but he resisted, hinting that she’d appreciate them more if he didn’t tell all of his secrets—just as she appreciated his work even more because he’d spared her the anxiety and stress of decision-making. Instead, he’d completely followed his vision without any interference, which allowed him to deliver his best work. “That’s why you hire an expert, someone you trust,” Morgan explains. “Removing me from the process, and therefore the pressure, was the best gift.” Still, her apartment is filled with stories. The 1,100-square-foot space holds items from every business that has participated in TSG New Orleans, and each one holds a personal memory and reminder of a connection with clients who have become friends. All together, these local finds create a beautiful home, but they also form a narrative. “I look around,” Morgan says, “And I think, ‘this is the story of a volume.'”
Left: Editor Taylor Morgan’s office, which was designed by her. Right: Bookshelf styled by Shaun Smith, which includes: Lucite American flag from Bremermann Designs // Small blue painting on top shelf by Alexis Walter // Elephant bookends from Source. // Sercy from Jade
Photos by Sara Essex Bradley.