Melanie Turner adds sexy-meets-sophisticated sparkle to a modern townhouse designed to entertain a crowd

Interior designer Melanie Turner was presented with a challenge: take a modern, four-story townhouse steps from the Central Business District of New Orleans and infuse it with more classic sensibilities. On top of that, the home needed to be houseguest- and party-ready.  

Turner met the challenge by helping her client realize a dream—to create an ultimate getaway for his parents, where they could entertain family and friends in the bustle of the city during Mardi Gras and other occasions. “It’s rather like a grown-up fraternity house for seniors,” quips Turner. “There’s a bar on every floor, glass doors at street level that open up completely for parade time, a rooftop pool and lounge space, and a billiards room.”

Turner brought in a gentle palette of blue, sage green and lavender—grounded with ivories—to impart a soft attitude throughout the floors, which are joined by a contemporary glass stairwell. Antique pieces imbue warmth into spaces that might otherwise feel cold; the composition under the stairs on the first floor, for example, includes a trestle table, gilt mirror, balustrade-style lamps and footed chest topped with books. 

“As most homes in New Orleans have antiques, it was natural to include them, even in this setting,” says Turner.  The designer also introduced classic pieces that have a modern edge, such as a klismos chair and Saladino sofa. The decorative accents are spare, which is intentional. 

“I like second homes to be calm, not cluttered, so I use minimal but meaningful accessories. I want our clients to put their bags down and start relaxing immediately.” 

Or in this case, perhaps, ready to make merry. In that vein, the designer used a sectional sofa, club chairs and benches with curved legs to provide plenty of seating options in the living room; there’s also a television viewing area on the top floor with sofas that turn into sleeping options for grandchildren. 

With its open atrium—which all bedrooms connect to via interior windows—and goal to entertain, the townhome’s unique design also gave Turner room to add a little whimsy. Multiple lanterns on brass chains drop dramatically into the atrium at varying heights, with the lowest  hovering above the dining room table. 

“Everything was based on fun,” says Turner.  “And the stage is perfectly prepped for entertaining in great style.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Melanie Turner, Melanie Turner Interiors (404) 250-0134;