"It's the little things that make a house a home," says interior designer Grace Kaynor, who partnered with local film location manager Virginia McCollam to open Sotre (3933 Magazine Street, 504-304-9475; www.sotrenola.com) last November. Furniture, lighting, tablewares, accessories, linens, fragrances and other items are part of the carefully selected inventory arranged in separate rooms like a model home.
Unfulfilled by a career in law, Kaynor obtained a master's degree in History of Decorative Arts from the Cooper-Hewitt in New York City, interned at the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and worked at the Brooklyn Museum and the Magazine Antiques. After Hurricane Katrina, she went to design school to merge her knowledge of the past with her passion for design. As a natural complement to her design work for clients, she decided to offer a collection of her favorite finds under one roof.
"I always look for things that are well-crafted and designed," she says, emphasizing that good design does not always mean a high price. "I thought I could have a store to showcase my ideas, and why not do it like a showhouse?"
Inspired by designers like Todd Alexander Romano and the late Albert Hadley, she infused the double shotgun with color. "When you learn how, you can mix color and pattern and it will sing without jarring," she says.
Sotre carries items unique to Magazine Street, and much of the shop's inventory is by women and locals. Furniture by Bungalow5, linens by Julia B., home fragrances by S.M. Novella, handmade jewelry lines by Paz Sintes and De Petra, pottery by Doni Clarke, art by Paule Marrot, notecards by Claudia Lynch, serving pieces by Canvas Home, exclusive playing cards by Alexa Pulitzer and jewelry and decorative wares made with alligator teeth by Avery Island's Ginja Moseley are among its wares.