Designer Spotlight

Designer Spotlight: Lee Ledbetter

Lee Ledbetter, award-winning architect, designer and not to mention fellow Louisianian, has deeply inspired us with his new book, The Art of Place: Architecture and Interiors, published earlier this year by Rizzoli.  His work as an architect defies the notion of “style” as he embraces the individual character of each of his projects, which range from historic preservation to contemporary construction.

But what has caught our eye is his seamless use of antique furniture and accessories throughout his typically very contemporary interiors. Ledbetter truly exemplifies the Firesides ethos of “Antiques in the Modern World.”

Lake Pontchartrain Project, Photograph by Jason Schmidt for House & Garden

“In my hometown [Monroe, Louisiana], it is very common for homes to be passed down from generation to generation,” Ledbetter reflects on some of the earlier influences on his work. “You realize, then, that there is a sense of reverence that you must uphold for this character of the home itself.”

His sense of respect for the structure of a home is evident in his book as he describes a 1829 Greek Revival New Orleans project as “a house that gathers inspiration from the past while wholeheartedly embracing the present.” It’s safe to say that it might be our favorite property published in The Art of Place. He continues that the home’s “judiciously selected 18th and 19th century antiques tether the home to its historic past,” which pop before the crisp, white walls and among sleek, contemporary furnishings.

Bayou Desiard Project, Photograph by Michael Luppino for Traditional Home
Esplanade Avenue Project, Photograph by Pieter Estersohn for Architectural Digest

As antique collectors ourselves, we are drawn to Ledbetter’s interiors for his seamless approach to mixing period-specific furniture. Even in his own residence, a quintessentially Mid-Century Modern home in New Orleans, he utilizes furniture across a span of vintage, antique and custom in a method that resembles art form.

“Dining room chairs are a particularly favorite place to bring in a juxtaposition of style,” he states. “And a fabulous 18th century crystal chandelier can have great impact in a modern interior.”

Ledbetter also has a talent for designing not only around art but for art.  He even points out that the title of his book could be inverted to “The Place of Art” and still almost perfectly describe his work.  We view art as an absolute essential layer to a home, and one can learn a lot from his design choices around art as detailed in the book.

There is much to learn inside the pages of The Art of Place, and we feel that Lee Ledbetter’s approach to design truly resonates with our vision as a business.  A home is to tell a story of the people who dwell within it.  Antiques can effortlessly contribute to that story by delivering history and patina, contrast and color.  There is a place for antiques in every home, and the vintage lovers within us here at Fireside recognize the beauty in the thoughtful mix of furnishings and art in Lee Ledbetter’s designs.

Portrait by Henrik A. Knudsen, Jr. for Architectural Digest; Riverbend Project, Photograph by Mark Roskams
Lake Pontchartrain Project, Photograph by Jason Schmidt for House & Garden
Bayou Desiard Project, Photograph by Michael Luppino for Traditional Home

“It’s long been one of the topics of interior design—whether the discipline is an art form or a craft. Fortunately, that debate is answered here. FYI: Interior design is decidedly an art form, especially when practiced by Lee Ledbetter.” —MILIEU MAGAZINE