Urban Upcycling


Magazine Street is home to eco-friendly design.

SpacesUrbanRecyclingLovers of one-of-a-kind design take note: Spruce Interiors, a home design studio and showroom, offers pieces you won’t find elsewhere. “Most of the products that we carry, I just find from reading blogs or magazines, or going to artist markets, or talking directly to artists,” says Spruce owner and designer Nomita Joshi-Gupta. “I haven’t really done the market thing that most retailers might.”

Spruce opened in 2008, offering environmentally friendly home goods and custom design services. More recently, the store has begun carrying upcycled furniture made by Louisiana artisans and builders.

Materials include bargeboard (a historic New Orleans building material), fallen trees and discarded plywood. “They’re all great furniture designers,” Joshi-Gupta says of these local producers. “A lot of great talent, you know?”

The store’s floor is packed with furnishings and objects that support sustainable systems and delight the eye, and what’s on the walls is just as fantastic. Spruce carries over 60 lines of specialty wallpaper and textures, including designs sourced throughout the United States, England and Japan. Clients also can satisfy their high-tech tastes with Flavor Paper: a line of digitally created wall coverings with its fabric headquarters in New Orleans. “For some reason, in the past two years, I’ve seen a huge trend in wallpaper, wall textures and wall art,” Joshi-Gupta says.

As sustainable, eco-friendly home goods have become more commonplace in New Orleans over the past few years, Joshi-Gupta has noticed an increase in both client demand and expectations. “We started off really marketing the eco-friendly part of it, and, in the beginning, people didn’t understand what it was,” she says of Spruce’s “green” focus. “But I think that now, everybody takes it for granted that that’s how it should be. It’s more of a way of life now, but we don’t think about it.”

Spruce also offers interior-design services, ranging from color consultations to single-room or full-house redesigns. Joshi-Gupta, an Allied Member of the American Society of Interior Designers, works hand-in-hand with architects, installers and contractors to ensure that every “Spruced-up” space is picture-perfect. “I have my wallpaper-hangers, my seamstresses, my contractors,” she says. “It’s kind of like an army of people!”

Homeowners who want to take a hands-on approach to decorating can browse Spruce’s wallpaper selection, and even choose from a selection of bedding, drapery and upholstery textiles. “We just started to build up a fabric library,” Joshi-Gupta says. “People always say, ‘Oh, I didn’t know I could just walk in here and buy fabrics.’ … This has become a great resource for people who are DIY, or people who want to decorate on their own.”

This fall, Joshi-Gupta will design the interior of a show house built by Living Homes, a creator of sustainable, modular housing. The house will be on display at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo — the world’s largest gathering dedicated to green building, coming to New Orleans on Oct. 22. “Right now, [the house] is being built,” the designer says of the LEED-certified home. “It’s wonderful to see the whole thing.” sprucenola.com