Name: Joy Wilson, aka Joy the Baker
Location: Bywater — New Orleans, Louisiana
Size: 1,700 square feet
Years lived in: 1.5 years, owned
“New Orleans, you beast. You wild, unpredictable, crazy fun, wholly overwhelming place. New Orleans isn’t just a city… it’s a spirit and culture. It’s a lady and a trouble-maker. It’s palpable and irresistible, and will not be ignored. New Orleans, you excite me. New Orleans, I’m hungry. New Orleans, I love you.” These are the words of blogger and cookbook author Joy Wilson, written in a 2015 post on her popular food blog Joy the Baker.
Joy left her native California to make New Orleans her home in 2014 after a visit for the annual Jazz & Heritage Festival left her longing for more of the Crescent City. “I found myself wanting to be here. I just like the quality of life and the people. It feels good,” she says.
She spent her first two years in New Orleans living in a small French Quarter apartment with a balcony overlooking Royal Street. “Life was an adventure everyday,” she says. She purchased her current home, a 1900s double shotgun in the Bywater neighborhood, a year and a half ago while it was in the midst of a renovation. This allowed her to have input on some of the finishes. Having spent most of her adult life living in apartments less than 800 square feet, she says the 1700 square foot home “feels luxurious.”
The social areas — the dining room, kitchen, and living room — fill one open side of the house, while two bedrooms, an office, and two bathrooms line the other. The wide open gathering space is Joy’s favorite element of her home. “Everyone can find a place to be comfortable without feeling separate,” she says.
On the sunny September day of this photo shoot, Joy is in the kitchen baking pumpkin pecan scones. The smell of melting butter and brown sugar and the gentle clatter of a baker busy measuring and mixing fill the air. It’s an unusually busy day; packages containing cookbooks and materials for an upcoming photo shoot keep arriving. Joy cheerily greets each deliveryman with a smile and offers him a cold drink for the road. “I have Mexican Coke!” she says persuasively.
Other than her genuine nature and innate likability, the secret to Joy’s success might be that she is disciplined with her time. She starts each day with a simple breakfast: a kefir smoothie with frozen fruit or scrambled eggs made with leftovers and a tortilla. Her daily routine includes shopping for groceries (her favorite store is Rouses Market) and testing 1-2 recipes for her blog and personal cookbooks while listening to podcasts (her favorite is My Favorite Murder). When asked what makes a great recipe, she says, “It has to feel easy. If I’m going to have trouble with it, then someone else will have trouble with it.” Once a month, her photographer/assistant joins her for for an intense three days of cooking and shooting. They make 5-6 recipes a day, listen to Sia, and crank out enough content for a month. “They’re the kind of days when your legs hurt at the end,” she says.
Although she savors the time she gets to spend alone, Joy’s intention has always been to use her large kitchen and dining room to teach classes and workshops. “It’s really amazing how many people I can gather around the marble countertop,” she says, of her home, which she calls the Bakehouse. “I’ve hosted holiday pie baking workshops, classes where we all write Drake lyrics on top of layer cakes, paper flower-making workshops, and bakesales. This winter I’m looking forward to cookie-baking workshops, fresh pasta-making classes. Really the best part is that we get to learn new things, make new friends, and leave with full bellies.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Modern Eclectic
Inspiration: I really love color and I think I’m always inspired by creating spaces of color that feel fun and bold but also have room to breathe.
Favorite Element: My favorite element of this house is the wide open space in the main room. I’ve never lived in a house with this much open space and it feels really wonderful to have friends over and be able to make a big mess gathered around the main kitchen island.
Biggest Challenge: Being new in the space, I feel like it just takes time to build layers of love and memories in the vibe of the house and tangibly in terms of art and trinkets. More than a challenge, it’s something I’m looking forward to building up in this space.
What Friends Say: Well, it always smells like either bread or cookies in here, and that’s what my friends are most excited about.
Biggest Embarrassment: I didn’t show you the inside of my pantry. It’s very far from an organized dream, but it’s also just real life and a work in progress.
Proudest DIY: I’m working hard at covering my living room wall with crepe paper flowers I’m learning to make. It’s a garden in progress and really satisfying every time I get to add a new batch of flowers to the wall.
Biggest Indulgence: My dining room table was my biggest indulgence in the house. I love that it’s from a single, old tree, and that I can gather a bunch of friends around it. I’ll have this table forever and ever, amen.
Best Advice: Splurge on a dining room table and chairs that people will want to sit in for hours.
Dream Sources: Any antique store between New Orleans and Birmingham, Alabama. I also love Terrain stores up in Pennsylvania.
The entry is simple a antique wood framed mirror with a Target wood shelf beneath it. The green trunk under the mirror and shelf was the trunk on my grandfather’s Model T car.
Live Edge Sinker Cypress Slab Table — Goodwood Nola
Large wood ladder — Goodwood Nola
Rug is a giant brightly colored number — Wayfair
Dolcetto Parsons Burlap Chairs — Wayfair
Pendant Lights — Hayneedle
Gallery wall is comprised of family pieces, antique store finds that have been reframed, a clock from Target, and a few prints from Minted
Axel Leather Sofa — West Elm
Terrace Coffee Table — West Elm
Navy Chairs — Sunday Shop
Pillows — Home Goods
French Wine Bottle Riddling Rack — Pottery Barn
Round Cutout Accent Table — Target
Metal Gold Floor Lamp — Target
KITCHEN AND BAR
Kitchen stools: Target, something similar here
Kitchen pendant lights: Target Crosby Collection Pendant Lights
Salvaged Wood Floating Shelves — Goodwood Nola
Black Stainless Steel Appliances — KitchenAid
Vintage B&W photos — A gift from my friend Suzanne. I love the picture of Royal Street because that was the first street I lived on when I moved to New Orleans.
OFFICE SITTING ROOM
Paint — Sherwin Williams Smoky Salmon
Diamond Motif Poof — West Elm
Eddy Sectional — West Elm
Saffron Apothecary TV Stand — Wayfair
Samuel Arm Chair — Joss & Main
Off- White Josephine Desk — World Market
Pink Marble Side Table — estate sale
Art — estate sales and antique stores
Soma Queen Headboard — Lulu & Georgia
Concrete Table Lamps similar here at — Lulu & Georgia
Campbell Bar Cart — Lulu & Georgia
Art — estate sale
Mirror — garage sale
Side tables and Pillows — Home Goods
Quilted White Blanket — something similar here
Photo Wall Collage — Print Studio
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