The wide range of colors in this Ashley Longshore painting made it easy to design around, says interior designer Cole Baker. The abstract work on the adjacent wall is by artist Meredith Pardue and was sourced through Ann Connelly Fine Art. The pink Oriental rug was the brainchild of Baker and his rug dealer in Houston; they bleached an existing rug and added pink dye to create a custom look without the long lead time. Photos by Chad Chenier

When Lexie and Mike Polito stepped out of their New York City cab on a cold night in January of 2018, they were met with a rainbow. The window displays of Bergdorf Goodman that line iconic Fifth Avenue had been transformed, displaying the bright works of New Orleans artist Ashley Longshore. The couple, along with friends Katia Mangham and Kim Wampold as well as celebrities like Blake Lively and Christian Siriano, were there to celebrate the colorful collaboration between Longshore and the store, which marked the first of its kind for a solo female artist. 

 

“The opening party for Ashley’s installation at Bergdorf was where we found the Audrey Hepburn painting,” Lexie recalls of the large canvas that now hangs in her home’s main living area, just outside of the foyer. “It’s fun and it’s colorful—it’s what I look for in art, really. For me, art is something that should make you happy, and Ashley’s work does that.”

 

The blooming piece, which was the backdrop for a friendly photo-op between Longshore and Lively at the Bergdorf opening party, is just one of several Longshore works that hang throughout the Polito house, helping to establish the lighthearted yet luxe vibe that pervades. There’s Veuve Clicquot bottles on a pink backdrop, each bearing an important date for Mike and Lexie, and a Frank Sinatra commission over the formal living room fireplace which was a special request of Mike. They form centerpieces in the newly renovated spaces that have been completely reimagined at the hands of Bossier City-based interior designer Cole Baker over the last few years.

Since Lexie doesn’t like brown, a black stain was chosen for the home’s oak floors. Brass details on the floor of this formal living room give a luxe look in lieu of a rug, while a variation of textures in the upholstery brings warmth. A rainbow Meredith Pardue painting from Ann Connelly Fine Art hangs opposite the fireplace.

“When we were going through the process and interviewing different designers, Cole immediately got that I wanted glam and something totally different,” Lexie explains, “and he’s not afraid of color, which Mike and I love.”

 

“A lot of what Mike and Lexie wanted was what I personally love,” Baker says. “But I want my clients’ houses to look like them, not like me. Lexie is fun, vibrant and bubbly, and that’s what I wanted to convey with the design.”

 

Working with architect Mike Sullivan, the goal was to overhaul the traditional interior—with its exposed brick and cypress cabinets—and create something one of a kind, pulling inspiration from Art Deco and old Hollywood homes and hotels.

“We wanted this to be unlike anything else you typically see in Baton Rouge,” Baker notes. “And that meant going ultra-custom and thinking outside the box.”

©MEREDITH PARDUE 2024

©MEREDITH PARDUE 2024

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