As the saying goes, you can take the man out of New Orleans, but you can’t take New Orleans out of the man—or something like that. For Jon Gegenheimer, a financier who is Big Easy by birth and San Francisco by choice, melding the two cities he loves into one space—his 1,200 square-foot, industrial SoMa loft—was a given.
“My style is tied to my upbringing. I grew up in the South, in a community laced with period architecture and a pride in our history, culture, and irreverence for modernity. Once New Orleans is in your heart, it’s there to stay,” Gegenheimer says. “It can be hard to work in a goal-oriented profession in a meritocratic city, so I needed my home to reflect a certain steadiness and escape.”
(Left): A custom dining table has a glass top and legs wrapped in croc-embossed leather. (Right): The media room is filled with Gegenheimer’s collection of concert posters.
He contacted interior designer Scot Meacham Wood to make it happen. The duo shares two important similarities: Both grew up on the south side of the Mason-Dixon Line (Wood was raised in Mississippi) and both have a baronial, to-the-manor-born aesthetic. Gegenheimer gets his from his mother (who had an eye for architectural detail) and his father (who “had little tolerance for aesthetics beyond the classically European”). Wood, whose penchant for tartan is nearly a trademark, developed his style while watching Brideshead Revisited as a teenager, and sealed the deal after 13 years in creative services at Ralph Lauren. Theirs was a professional match made in design heaven.
In the bedroom, Trove’s Fuoco wallpaper is based on a photo of a Venice opera house—“Someone is always watching, so it’s a bit naughty,” says Meacham
“Our design goals for this project were simple and straightforward,” says Wood. “We were to create a lush space with all of the classic elements—rich leathers, handsome suiting fabrics, highly lacquered wood finishes, and a ping of polished chrome.”
But Wood discovered that while his client’s tastes might skew stately, they are far from retiring. “Typically, when you are showing things to a new client, you might include some edgy choices to see where their limits are,” he says. “I could never find limits with Jon.” The result is a space where a pair of doors covered with purple crocodile-embossed leather and studded with chrome nailhead trim cohabit with Downton Abbey-worthy damask curtains.
Images of Japanese matchbox labels adorn the upholstery of a sofa stationed under a painting that hints of royalty.
But it’s not all pre-Ash Wednesday carnival here—the interior reflects the darker side of Crescent City in noir hues, heavy fabrics, and edgy modern art. “New Orleans’ history is a fairly violent one, from voodoo spirits to organized crime,” says Gegenheimer. “It would be dishonest not to admit that my aesthetic undoubtedly flows from these darker corners of our past.”
This article was published in 7x7's April issue. Click here to subscribe.