What came first, the artwork or the furnishings? At the home of Emily and Mario Madero in Algiers Point, the flawless melding of the two makes it impossible to say.

“I’ve been collecting and trading art for decades, so it was my natural instinct to start hanging art whether there was furniture there or not,” Mario Madero said. “We started with white walls and everything developed organically.”

The couple — plus daughters Elia, 9, and Devi, 8 — have lived in the Delaronde Street house near the Algiers Courthouse for five years and gradually have made it their own.

“We completely redid the kitchen and added the glass-fronted cabinets against the inner wall,” said Emily Madero, whom her husband credits with providing the home’s design sense.

“We opened up the rear of the house with a double-glass door that lead into the backyard, so that there’s a visual connection to it,” she said. “Upstairs, we turned a narrow space next to our bedroom into an office with built-in bookcases that reach up to the ceiling.

Madera residence 42 January 11,2021

 Mario, Devi, Elia and Emily Madero stand on the upstairs balcony of their Algiers Point home.

“Outside, we did a complete makeover of the shed and turned it into a guest cottage. And after we added the swimming pool about two years ago, the cottage also serves as the pool house.”

Madera residence 28 January 11,2021

The pool house, built into a shed, can also accommodate house guests.

Neither is a Crescent City native, but their passion for all things New Orleans manifests itself in their lines of work, as well as in their home.

Emily Madero, from Maine, came here in 1998 to attend Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business. She worked with local wallpaper company Flavor Paper before it moved operations to Brooklyn, New York, and ran the Idea Village before joining French Quarter Festivals Inc. in 2017 as CEO and president.

Mario Madero, from upstate New York, was drawn to the city in 1999 by the vibrant music culture and almost immediately began collecting art by local and regional artists. Before that, his collection had skewed toward photography and one-of-a-kind works by internationally known glass artists.

Their home decor expresses both of the partners’ interests, which include historic architecture, design, music, paintings, photography … and parakeets. 

Madera residence 40 January 11,2021

An open plan with warm wooden floors, natural light and bright art is the center of the home.

“We started with just two, but it turns out they were a boy and a girl,” said Emily Madero. “Now we have six.”

The house adheres to the floor plan of a double gallery home, with an entry and stair on the left and a double parlor, separated by pocket doors, on the right. Architectural details include mantels, tall baseboards, high ceilings, and intricately carved newell posts on the stair. Tall windows in the front parlor downstairs and in the couple’s bedroom upstairs allow access to the galleries

The front parlor features boldly striped black-and-white upholstered chairs; a leather sofa and chairs; and a bird cage for Rainbow and Snowflake, the parakeet parents. The second parlor is “the disco room.”

Madera residence 5 January 11,2021

Black and white chairs make a bold statement in the front room.

“It’s a name that just stuck,” said Emily Madero. “It’s where the girls take piano lessons, and it’s meant to be a fun space.”

And it is. A curved, mustard-color sofa with bright fuchsia pillows gives it pizazz.

The family room features a large sectional sofa, and a long dining table in the adjacent room serves as a place for gatherings of friends and family, as well as a spot to do schoolwork during the pandemic.

And art is everywhere: An absurdist painting by Miranda Lake shows two zebras in a boxing ring in the middle of the sea; a painting by Piki Mendizabal depicts a crumbling masonry building in the water outside the flood wall; large scale photos by Michelle Elmore show mouths full of gold teeth. The piece de resistance is an immense canvas by B-Mike, Lionel Milton and Rontherin Ratliff, that supplies an undeniably edgy vibe to the Maderos’ home.

Furnishings range in character from a vintage to midcentury modern and contemporary. All have been curated by Emily Madero just as carefully as the art collection has been curated by Mario Madero.

His focus is on Black artists who either started out in New Orleans or still paint here. “The point of the collection is to highlight the works of these artists, who deserve to be recognized.”

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