Podcast, Ep. 96: architect Lee Ledbetter

Architect Lee Ledbetter on his New Orleans terrace

We loved sitting down with this week’s guest, New Orleans architect Lee Ledbetter. There were so many amazing takeaways from this episode, from lessons in historic preservation, how contemporary architect is influenced by historical architecture, why his firm tackles interior design in addition to architecture, and what Lee’s dream house is like!

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Triumphs about homemade essential oil cleaners, black fences, and Ballard clearance shopping spree.
  • Trials regarding car port mishaps, dead grass and formal yet kid proof dining rooms.
  • Lee’s inspiration behind his book The Art of Place, and how this book showcases his ability to incorporate the historic with modern and chic.
  • Lee’s background in both interior design and architecture, and why he himself loves working with both other decorators and landscape architectures.
  • How the furniture sketches in Lee’s initial plans serve to get an idea on how the room will best work and function.
  • That there is no wrong or right when it comes to what goes in the room, and it’s most important that the room serves its purpose for how the individuals live and entertain.
  • Lee’s renovations and adaptations of historic New Orleans homes, and how he blends contemporary design mixed with the reverence to the original structure.
  • The English Cottage kitchen of his brother and sister in law that Karen is very jealous of! Why the room feels more like a sitting room than a kitchen.
  • Some interesting facts about his modern home making it to the first on a New Orleans Historic Home list, and what exactly it is about New Orleans that Lee loves so much.
  • How he organizes his library.
  • It’s okay to downgrade if you don’t have a need for more rooms. Lee only has one room in his own dream home!
  • His take on open spaces, and why there is luxury to height, volume, and open lighting.
  • Advice for someone building a home from the ground up.

Decorating Dilemmas:


I have been listening to your podcast for quite some time and enjoy learning about decorating! I am re-doing a family room and I finally purchased my first Ballard design pieces! I LOVE my Ballard Designs sofa, rug and coffee table. I need ideas on what final additional items to add to this room. I know I need a table between the sofas (round or square?) and some lighting (floor lamps?) I have recessed lights in the ceiling. Thank you for your advice!


You don’t have to do a floor lamp, instead Lee would try to find a tall round table like an English Reproduction Antique. If your budget allows for pattern drapery, a printed one would add some height to the room, but it is not a necessity right away. Adding a pair of vertical prints on each side would reinforce the window. The view outside the window is so green and pretty, that using color to unite the spaces would look beautiful. Chartreuse is one that plays great with your existing neutral palette.

Please do send us some “after” photos, we can never get enough!

Show Notes:

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes so you never miss an episode. You can always check back here to see new episodes, but if you subscribe, it’ll automatically download to your phone.

Happy Decorating!

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Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.