When Jane Scott Hodges moved back to New Orleans with her husband and teenage children, she wanted to create a happy and fun home and a space where the whole family could entertain and relax.

Here, she describes how she achieved that goal.

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The Greek Revival house was built in 1869 and sits in the heart of New Orleans’s historic Garden District. Exterior painted in Farrow & Ball’s James White.

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“My personal style has evolved — now it’s all about confidence. It’s about not letting anything be too precious to use and enjoy. Because for me, precious means unapproachable, and where’s the fun in that? ” —Jane Scott Hodges

Julia Reed: Talk about a full circle. You started your business, Leontine Linens, in New Orleans, then moved back to your home state of Kentucky, where you restored a formal 19th-century house. Now you’re back in New Orleans, in another 19th-century house, where it seems you’re having even more fun. 

Jane Scott Hodges: Returning to New Orleans marked a period of renewal for me, and I wanted to create a home for my family that would reflect where we are today in age and stage. I wanted a house with spaces to interact with my children, who are now in their teens, and to entertain our friends in a happy, sophisticated way. After living in Kentucky for what I call our nesting period, it was time for a change. That house was more traditional. This one reflects our joy in coming “home” to the city we love, where my husband, Philip, and I met and started our family.

 

Where did you discover your decorator? 

Gwen Driscoll and I have been friends since college. She knows my family and how we live and entertain. She starts with a house and a client in a very personal way. It’s not her own look but what she sees through her lens for the people who live there.

At the other end of the double parlor, a Paramount sofa by Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman is covered in Kerry Joyce’s Diamante. 

Curtains in Schumacher’s Mandarin Silk Stripe with Samuel & Sons trim.

Greek Revival side-hall houses can be so dreadfully dark, but this one feels joyous and light filled. How did you achieve that? 

We opened up the hallway and created a double parlor out of two rooms that were small and cramped. Now we have a huge entertaining space that I adore. It has windows on three sides and is flooded with dreamy natural light.

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A confident mix of antiques, modern pieces, and vivid color jazzes up the stately parlor. A set of antique fauteuils is upholstered in Lee Jofa’s Montespan. Pillows on a Swedish settee are in Scalamandré’s Love Bird. 

Walls in a Hollandlac Brilliant chartreuse by Fine Paints of Europe.

You used striking colors — that fabulous green in the parlor, and amethyst in the dining room. Is that a departure for you? 

After living in a very proper country house with lots of neutrals, we were excited to have a home with plenty of color and richly layered decoration — this house is also wallpapered within an inch of its life! We wanted a jewel box filled with eye candy and things we love, including existing pieces that have traveled with us through all our moves, and new purchases perfectly suited for this spot. We were ready to be fearless. Gwen and I may have pushed Philip on some things, but he was fully supportive and let us run with it.

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Amethyst walls, covered in Ralph Lauren Home’s Ionian Sea Linen, set a romantic mood in the dining room. Antique benches in their original upholstery relax the formality of the antique table, made of pear wood on an iron base. 

Curtains in a Scalamandré taffeta. Vintage lamp from Driscoll Design & Decoration.

It’s not the first time you’ve pushed the envelope. Your bedding rocked the linens world. 

What really launched Leontine Linens, 20 years ago, was the idea of taking a staid concept — the monogram — and infusing it with both bolder scale and refreshing color pairings. When I returned to New Orleans, I think that same philosophy subliminally took over in the decorating. The fact that we have soaring 14-foot-high ceilings also encouraged me to be more daring.

In New Orleans, you often see matchy-matchy interiors with lots of French furniture. You have fauteuils in your living room, but you’ve mixed them with everything from a modern sofa to Swedish chairs. 

Gwen and I both believed that the fun would be in the mix. It was, Why not put acid-yellow satin on your fauteuils? What’s the worst that’s going to happen? We had done the proper house. We were ready to put our creative magic to work.

Paul Costello

Floral fabrics and an Art Deco – motif wallcovering handsomely play off each other in the upstairs study. 

Curtains in Schumacher’s Pyne Hollyhock layered against walls covered in Kelly Wearstler’s Crescent. Custom ottoman upholstered in a Leontine Linens cashmere throw embroidered with the family crest. Vintage barrel chairs covered in Jim Thompson’s Kala. The contemporary bunny painting above the mantel is by Hunt Slonem. 

There are lots of places to hang out — the sunroom on the ground floor and the upstairs study, for starters. Where do you find yourself most often? 

What we love about this house is that we really live in every square inch of it. The double parlor is not too “fancy” to hang in, and the dining room is cozy enough for dinner for two. Teenage boys make a habit of gaming in the sunroom. Rather than creating another bedroom upstairs, we decided we would get more use out of the space as a retreat. It’s where everyone in the family ends up. It’s perfect for an intimate chat or to do homework at the writing table.

I imagine those same family-friendly rooms do double duty as entertaining spaces.

Oh yes! We can have 25 for a buffet dinner on trays in the parlor, a seated meal on the terrace, and the dining room can handle 14. I love the upholstered sofa in there. What’s better than snuggling up with a dinner partner? And we use antique benches to maximize seating.

Paul Costello

You know a few things about creating magical bedrooms for clients. What were your priorities in your own master? 

It’s true — throughout my career I’ve had the gift of going into the loveliest of homes and seeing my clients’ most intimate spaces. Our bedrooms are places to rejuvenate. I wanted to create a sanctuary. In an age when we share and post messages so often, it’s nice to have a few sacred moments.

Hence the soothing palette? 

The rich but still neutral tones in this bedroom allow me some flexibility when making my bed. I love to infuse seasonal moments with different bed selections — and you know I have a few! I think you should change your bedding as you do your outfits, to match a mood or the season. Lavender in spring and terra-cotta in fall — whatever suits your fancy.

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The family’s wirehaired pointing griffons, Cocoa and Dulce, make themselves comfortable in the entry. Millwork painted in Benjamin Moore’s Moonlight White is a crisp contrast to walls in Lee Jofa’s Willow Lake wallcovering.

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The kitchen is a cleanlined, contemporary space, with whitelimed pine floors that pick up the hues of Cole & Son’s Palm wallpaper, which extends to the family room beyond. 

Chairs, Serena & Lily

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Custom-made cabinetry that runs from floor to ceiling in the kitchen was designed with entertaining in mind. The backsplash and counters are done in Calacatta Gold marble. 

Sink fittings, Franke.

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The family room is a riot of pattern, from the custom sectional sofa covered in Schumacher’s Chiang Mai Dragon to the artworks by Alex Beard.

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In the family room, cheerful modernist chairs by CB2 are paired with a rustic 19th-century farm table found at a local antiques shop.

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In a powder room, Cole & Son’s Gondola wallpaper is a whimsical nod to Louisiana’s small wood boats called pirogues. The sink, faucet, and towel ring are all by Kohler. 

Mirrors, Wisteria.

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The arched niche makes the tub feel like a private sanctuary. It is encased by Calacatta Gold marble. 

Tub and sink fittings, Newport Brass.

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Glossy walls, in Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue, and a bench covered in a Ralph Lauren Home plaid strike a masculine note in the son’s room. 

Bedding, Leontine Linens. Curtain fabrics, Kravet and Ralph Lauren Home.

Interview by Julia Reed

Photography by Paul Costello 

via House Beautiful

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