Such is the case with Nadine Blake. After arriving in New Orleans we made our way to the French Quarter for an afternoon of shopping, touring, cafe' au lait and beignets. One of our first stops, as highly recommended by Quinn and Michael, was the delightful shop owned by Nadine Blake. All of the accolades were true, her shop is a treasure trove and we clicked instantly.
Prior to moving to New Orleans, Nadine and her husband Simon lived in New York (a friend and neighbor of Amanda Nisbet - small world). After taking a few interior design classes in New York, Nadine's work caught the eye of Alexa Hampton. After an interview with Mark Hampton LLC, Nadine joined the firm. "Working with Alexa was wonderful, I immediately felt as if I were home. We are still friends to this day," says Nadine.
It's easy to see why they are still friends. Nadine is not only a genial host, she is a great storyteller with an infectious smile. I especially loved hearing her reminisce about the pink 'office' phone that once belonged to her grandmother.
On Sunday Nadine and her husband Simon invited me, Chris, Quinn and Michael for Pimms on the balcony of their beautiful French Quarter home, before heading off to Galatoire's for dinner. During cocktails the conversation turned to the amazing apartment belonging to Thomas Jayne. I lamented the fact that I was to email Thomas when I traveled to New Orleans for a tour of his apartment, but sadly I forgot. During my last conversation with Thomas he mentioned that a friend held his key. As it turned out, Nadine is that friend!!
After a quick phone call to Thomas, arrangements were made to stop by the apartment after dinner. The apartment was purchased two months before Hurricane Katrina. Thankfully, being eight feet above sea level there was no flooding. The wall paper in the dining room is beyond fabulous! And we were lucky to have Nadine as a tour guide.
I hope you enjoy the photos of Nadine's home and her answers as much as I enjoyed writing this post.
What inspires your creativity and designs?
Art; travel; fashion; movies; nature ... I could go on and on.
Which talent would you most like to possess?
It would be awfully fun to deliver witty ripostes `a la Winston (Churchill), Dorothy (Parker), and Oscar (Wilde) but I'd settle for better short-term memory.
What is your most prized possession?
I'm extremely fickle. Today it's a Polaroid SX-70 camera and a few remaining boxes of film.
Who is your hero of fiction?
When I was young I was obsessed with the glamorous, girl sleuth Nancy Drew. Presently, I'm in admiration of the level-headed Mma Ramotswe of The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. And no doubt I'll find the dithering Miss Marple positively charming in my later years.
What is the one thing in life you cannot live without?
To paraphrase John Lennon, all I need is love.
Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
It's a toss-up between Desmond Guinness and Daphne Guinness.
What books are currently on your bedside table?
The Bolter by Frances Osborne; The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Diana Cooper; Sacred Monsters, Sacred Masters by John Richardson.
What is your favorite luxury in life?
Subscriptions to foreign magazines and the time to pore over them.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I have managed to surround myself with a coterie of very good people (both friends and family). They inspire me, challenge me, cheer me up and calm me down - they're cheaper than therapy.
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Brits and grits.
Past or present who has most influenced your direction in life?
My husband, Simon. Every day I aspire toward his creativity and his kindness.
Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day?
Elvis Costello, at home, with pots of tea followed by bottles of red wine.
1036 Royal St
New Orleans, LA 70116-2704
1036 Royal St
New Orleans, LA 70116-2704
*So many have asked about the pet pillows, just give Nadine a call for more details, she is a doll!
Profile by Ronda Carman/Photos by Christopher Carman