THE DOSSIER: NAME: Martine Chaisson. TRADE: Gallery owner and artistic director. VIBE: Continental pied-à-terre with a French accent. ABODE: One-bedroom apartment, Warehouse District, New Orleans.
She represents on-the-verge artists you'll soon be seeing everywhere--so it's no surprise that Martine Chaisson makes her home in New Orleans' artsy Warehouse District. The much-talked-about neighborhood has a laser-focus on all things style-based: forward-thinking boutiques, art spaces, and high-concept restaurants that send food editors into fits, all set amongst the charm of French Creole architecture. Chaisson's home, a refined one-bedroom space situated above the eponymous emerging art gallery she opened almost three years ago, thoughtfully reflects her neighborhood's modern sensibilities, regard for history, and always vibrant, please-get-us-on-the-list-now social scene.
BORN AGAIN After Hurricane Katrina hit the city in 2005, Chaisson and her family--New Orleans natives determined not to leave--decided to purchase the building that now houses her gallery and flat. They renovated the former sheet-metal shop to its original 1853 glory as a Bible House (a gathering place for Christian studies), revealing divine details like crown molding, plaster ceiling medallions, and sky-high baseboards. For her living space on the second floor, Chaisson collaborated with the team who designed her first apartment, longtime friend John Fernandez and his partner Jennifer True of Fernadez & True Interiors in Atlanta. "Because Martine is who she is, we got to have fun with the space--it didn't have to be full of antiques simply because of its bones," explains Fernandez. "It was an opportunity to take on a young and modern perspective."
SPLIT PERSONALITY Chaisson's self-proclaimed girly side naturally found its way into the design--particularly in the apartment's cozy-luxe bedroom. "I like things with a little bit of luxury," she says. Soft touches like silk and ostrich feather Dransfield & Ross pillows, a faux chinchilla Tourance fur throw, and velvet Anna French wallpaper indulge her feminine side. But the lines of the space remain tremendously clean: "You definitely see feminine elements incorporated, but details like the deep-brown mink colors used throughout and the lines of the Kravet sectional sofa in the living room are very masculine and very tailored," says Fernandez.
MOVING TRIBUTE The intimate space--and Chaisson's Big Easy-inspired penchant for throwing a party or two--requires that her furnishings be flexible enough to shift around when company drops in. "I can entertain easily. Everything is very movable," she says. The small dining table is frequently transferred to the center of the living room, and a lightweight Bertoia Diamond Lounge Chair is always at the ready for relocation around the flat. And the Art Deco bar cart--a vintage score designed by French Modernism icon Jacques Adnet--was created specifically to spring into action, bien sûr. "It's New Orleans," Chaisson says with a grin. "Cocktail hour happens."
|Petite Jazz Sectional
Dennis & Leen
|Flute Small Table
|Vintage Bar Cart by Jacques Adnet
|Velvet Jacquard Flock Wallpaper #AT10101