THE DOSSIER: NAME: Bryan Batt TRADE: Actor (Mad Men, touring one-man-show Batt on a Hot Tin Roof, forthcoming films Twelve Years A Slave, Parkland, and The Last of Robin Hood), author of Big Easy Style, and co-owner with partner Tom Cianfichi of New Orleans design boutique Hazelnut. VIBE: Old Hollywood meets The Big Easy. ABODE: Historic two-story renovated corner store in uptown New Orleans, LA.
When Bryan Batt and his longtime partner, Tom Cianfichi, moved into their West Indies-style cottage in spring 2010, the couple came with ample belongings: souvenirs from their 24-year relationship together, complete with family heirlooms and statement pieces cultivated as co-owners of New Orleans' Magazine Street design boutique Hazelnut. But, in the ultimate karmic act of southern hospitality, their house had a few welcome gifts to offer in return: an 18th-century walnut armoire with a built-in bar, an Italian chandelier from local antiques shop Tara Shaw, and, crucially, lush landscaping that helped to dictate the central room's decor. "The first thing we did was take the drapes off the living room windows," Batt explains. "We discovered it had this tree house kind of feel--when you open the French doors you're right at the level of the palm and magnolia trees--so we let that define things, opting to keep it open and monochromatic to complement the space."
MEN AT WORK With its sturdy wood floorboards, brass hardware and clean lines, the house's architecture has a masculine bent that the couple seeks to echo throughout. "I appreciate feminine things, it's just that a big pink taffeta bow isn't me," explains Batt, who has, in his words, "butched-up" plenty of traditionally ladylike elements. Two cases in point: the curvaceous Louis XV chairs inherited from Batt's mother are reupholstered in Christopher Farr's Downey flocked and a leather trim, while the Schumacher Charee Silk Stripe dining room curtains, despite being silk taffeta, communicate a dapper sensibility thanks to their textured pattern. "It's almost like a men's shirting stripe in fine gray and off-white," Batt points out.
SEEING RED Though Batt is obviously fond of the spotlight (his two SAG Awards from his stint on Mad Men as art director Sal Romano--bookends to the couple's cookbooks--attest that the feeling is mutual), it's former actor-director Cianfichi who relishes the attention in the kitchen. "Because everyone always ends up there he wanted to have a place where an audience could sit while he was cooking," Batt explains of the room's settee, a custom design by Cianfichi. The room strikes a cheery tone by leveraging pops of red, from the assortment of Le Creuset pots and pans, to the over-dyed patchwork rug picked up at Paris design show Maison & Objet, to the abstract painting by good friend Bryan Burkey.
DRAMATIC LICENSE Given the couple's taste for theatricality, the house is overflowing with whimsical conversation pieces: a Sumatran wedding headdress anoints a pair of iron console tables designed by Cianfichi, a poppy Snow White-inspired painting by artist Blake Boyd takes pride of place in the living room, and a turn-of-the-century bulldog pull-toy stands guard in the bedroom. "Your eye will never lie to you," says Batt of his guiding decorating principal. "If you see something that speaks to you and you can swing it, don't question. I don't regret anything that I've ever bought, only the things that slipped away."
|French Antique Chandelier
|Console Table & Rug
|Steel Dining Chair
|Antique Wood Trunk
Karla Katz Antiques
|Italian Hotel Bed Linens
|"Downey" Salon Chair Upholstery
|"Ikat" #NCF3840/02 Upholstery
on Dining Chair, Kravet
My Fabric Connection
|"Charee" #60920 Curtain
Upholstery on Pair of Living Room Chairs
Osborne & Little
Photographs: Andrew Arthur