From Creole cottages to historic mansions to the balconies of the French Quarter, Jenny Vorhoff grew up surrounded by design and by history.
But it wasn’t until she moved to attend the University of Georgia that she truly gained an appreciation for the quirkiness that makes her hometown an architectural masterpiece.
“Finally living somewhere other than New Orleans helped me recognize how the unique architecture and design world in New Orleans operates as part of the fabric of life,” says Vorhoff BFA ’02.
“Growing up, people designed their own homes here. Great taste seems innate in New Orleans.”
So halfway through her freshman year, Vorhoff switched her focus from journalism to the Lamar Dodd School of Art. “And then I think I realized I have been interested in design my whole life.”
She spent a summer at Parsons Institute of Design in New York, and when she graduated, Vorhoff started designing hotels.
In 2006, Vorhoff opened Studio Riga—a nod to her maiden name, Rigamer—aimed at designing homes across the country.
The opportunities in New York were great—a “never-ending” list of potential clients eager to make their houses homes.
“I joke that I went up to New York for two years,” she says. But before she knew it, it was 20 years and four children later. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and both Vorhoff and her husband’s work went fully virtual, the couple called it. The family moved to a small beach town for a year and then started looking south.
“It was time to come home,” she says.
New Orleans welcomed them back this summer—with Hurricane Ida. But Vorhoff has no regrets. Business is still booming. And she still gets to help people make the most of their spaces, now from her childhood hometown.
“In New Orleans, the home has to express personality and quirky is good,” Vorhoff says. “Everyone’s got a voice. So I try really hard to help my clients express that and really lean into those odd-in-a-good-way choices.”