Home Tour: Inside An Authentic Creole Cottage

THE DOSSIER: NAME: Butler Burdine. TRADE: Advertising executive. VIBE: Historic colors with European antiques. ABODE: Authentic Creole center-hall cottage in New Orleans' Garden District.

Colonized by the French in 1718 (and virtually untouched by modern developments since), New Orleans is a treasure chest of historical homes. That said, finding a property in the city that's untampered by contemporary updates is a feat. It was important to advertising exec Butler Burdine to purchase a home that maintained its original integrity, with no renovations. Ten years ago, he and partner Patrick Harper found just that in a Creole center-hall cottage in the Irish Channel, a small neighborhood in the Garden District bordering the Mississippi.

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Built in 1840 by German immigrants, the 2,650-square-foot, one-bedroom, one-bath home was in its native state, with four rooms total. After updating plumbing and wiring, the duo sought to create an authentic interior that would make its original owners proud. Burdine selected a paint palette of spicy ochre, coral, and refreshing sage green. "They're colors I gravitate to," he says, "but they're also historically correct for the period," a time when colorful interiors were fashionable.

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Burdine looked to friend and antiquarian Don Didier of Didier Inc. for advice on sourcing his eclectic mix of furniture and artwork, which includes everything from a jacquard French settee to a worn farmhouse table to a moody David Harouni painting. A 1928 Detroit Jewel stove found at auction "will last forever," and also provides heat to the rear of the home. Burdine also shopped at in Atlanta, as well as on New Orleans' Magazine Street, a celebrated thoroughfare for antiques. Family heirlooms, including his grandfather's mahogany armoire and quilt squares sewn by his grandmother (which he had framed), also made it into the collection.

header3 It's clear that Burdine has an aptitude for design. An experienced marketer at full-service agency Noble Mouse, he says he thinks visually: "I'm a frustrated creative. I'm not an art director, but I know what looks good." Burdine calls his aesthetic "rustic and full of mystique, just like New Orleans," yet declares his goal is truly to restore the home correctly. "It's a never-ending project." As Burdine's friend Didier sagely told him: "We're only stewards of these old houses. We're not owners."

real-deal

Muscle Man Painting Greek Key Patterned Rug Daybed Don Didier
1850's American Empire Sofa Stove King Painting in Kitchen

shop-look

Paisley Jaipur High Back Wing Chair, $1595, Ashford Stripes #JP0103, $64, Vintage Stratford Dog, $195,
Gilber Timer, $30, Cheetah Ottoman, $1200, Overseas Adjustable Height Console Lamp, $525,
Antique Louis Philippe Sideboard, $3295, The Original Warehouse Gooseneck Light, $177, Soloman Bench, $2400,
Photographs: Andrew Arthur