Most people would have run from this New Orleans home in its previous state. The shotgun double house, a type of home with two narrow units that share a central wall, had been cut up into three smaller units and none were up to code. But interior stylist and curriculum designer Alyssa Owens saw potential. "I was immediately drawn to the tall ceilings, wooden floors, exposed brick fireplaces — architectural features characteristic of many old New Orleans homes," says Owens. She embarked on a gut renovation to bring the building to two units, carving out an extra bedroom and bathroom on the side where she lives with her partner, Alex Matthews. She turned the opposite apartment, now a one bedroom, into a rental unit.
Owens tried to salvage as many of the home's original architectural details as she could while still making the space work for modern residents. Traditionally the kitchen is in the rear of a shotgun home, but Owens moved it toward the front and put the bedrooms in the back for privacy. After eight months of construction, the front of the house is now a lively spot for entertaining and the back is a quiet retreat with bedrooms and a study. "As is the case with many renovations, it went slower than I would have liked," she says. "The home ended up being well worth the wait."