Taylor and Martin Pospisil were getting just a little bit frantic. Their baby was due in a matter of weeks, and they had hoped to buy a house and move in before she arrived.
“It was early in 2014, and the market was going crazy,” Taylor Pospisil said. “We had put in bids on three houses already and missed out on all of them.”
But then they got a tip: The owner of a handsome Greek Revival house in the Irish Channel was getting ready to put the house on the market, and they had the inside track.
“It was perfect,” said Martin. “It’s close to Taylor’s parents’ house in the Garden District and just a block from Magazine Street. We knew it would work for us.”
Next weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, March 28 and 29, the couple will open the doors of their new home for the Preservation Resource Center’s Shotgun House Tour, a self-guided tour of seven homes in the channel.
“We’re so pleased to be able to help out the PRC,” said Taylor Pospisil. “My father is pretty well-known there.”
Well-known may be an understatement. Larry Schmidt, now the director of the Beauregard-Keyes House on Chartres Street in the French Quarter, was an early and passionate preservationist who served as the PRC’s first director in the 1970s. In addition to imbuing Taylor Pospisil with an appreciation for historic buildings, Schmidt has a second passion that has been a huge help to Martin and Taylor once they finally secured a home: interior design.
“I like to say that my parents’ basement is like a department store,” said Taylor. “It’s filled with lamps and mirrors and candlesticks — all perfectly organized so you can choose what you want to make a certain look.”
The Pospisil house on Ninth Street has benefited from the contents of the “department store” as well as her father’s esthetic acumen.
“I came home one day and my father was here with (architect and designer) John Chrestia,” said Taylor. “They had eight paint chips with them that all looked like white to me, and they wanted to know which one I liked best!”
Before long, Martin and Taylor developed the ability to distinguish one white from another, and, with the help of Chrestia and Taylor Pospisil’s dad, chose paint colors for the exterior and the interior.
“We decided to paint everything, trim and walls, the same color to make the space feel lighter and more spacious,” Martin said.
The strategy worked beautifully. The front rooms of the home are separated only by a chimney; no partition walls limit the flow of light. Three floor-to-ceiling windows on the front wall allow daylight to flood the front rooms, making the furnishings — many selected with Schmidt’s assistance — stand out against the white background. With a vaulted ceiling and sight lines that extend all the way to the roof, the volume feels immense.
A dining area occupies the space on one side of the chimney, a living room the other. The dining room centers on a whitewashed Duncan Phyfe dining table and gondola chairs recently purchased at auction. A colorful painting by Amanda Talley — the first artwork the couple purchased together — cues the accent colors for the decor. In the living room, an off-white sofa contrasts with a dramatic blue-green velvet, oversized pouf which serves both as an ottoman and a low table.
Lamps, figurines and artwork by Wayne Amedee all create a lighthearted but sophisticated feel. According to Taylor, her father still rearranges the furniture whenever he visits.
Although the house had been renovated and the second floor added before Martin and Taylor purchased it, they made a few key changes to the floor plan.
Because they love to entertain with dinner parties, they quickly realized that a kitchen without a pantry wouldn’t work and therefore converted a surplus powder room into a pantry. They also extended a hallway to capture “the blue room” — so-called for its monochromatic color scheme — from the rental unit.
Outfitted with a bar and built in bookcases, it’s a spot for dinner guests to gather while making a drink. They also added a side door to improve access to the rear garden and freshened the finishes and appliances in the kitchen.
Furnishings and décor came once the reconfiguration was complete.
“I think the baby’s room might be my favorite room in the house,” said Taylor Pospisil.
The nursery created for little Olivia Rose is a delight. Decorated in pink, green and white, it features a flowered rug and comfy white chair. Taylor turned an old bureau into a changing table by painting it white and adding pink glass knobs.
Exuberant bird fabric frames the window, and artwork by Martin Pospisil’s mother hangs on the wall. A polka-dotted elephant mask above Olivia’s bed makes a fun and unexpected addition to the decor.
“I painted it for her,” said Martin Pospisil. “It was my first foray into art.”
Originally from the Czech Republic, Martin Pospisil came to the United States in 2000 and to New Orleans in 2010. As an engineer, he has worked on both the Loyola Avenue and North Rampart Street streetcar lines.
“I really love this city — there is no place like it in the United States,” Martin Pospisil said. “I feel good to be working on the streetcar projects and to make a permanent contribution to the city. When Olivia is older, I’ll be able to take her for a ride on one of the streetcar lines and tell her that her father helped build it.”
R. Stephanie Bruno writes about houses and gardens. Contact her at email@example.com