chris mottalini

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the louis + lucille armstrong house

The Louis and Lucille Armstrong house is tucked away on an unassuming little street in the working class neighborhood of Corona, Queens.  Louis Armstrong himself needs no introduction and might be the most influential American musician of all-time. 

The Armstrongs moved to 34-56 107th Street in 1943, at the height of Louis’ fame and quickly embraced (and were embraced by) the neighborhood.  Lucille actually grew up in Corona, while Louis (who was from New Orleans) had lived much of his life on tour and in hotels and had no interest in living in a normal house.  However, one day Lucille went and bought a house for them in her old neighborhood and they ended up living there until their deaths (Louis passed away in 1971 and Lucille in 1983).

Since their deaths, the house (which Lucille left to the city of New York and is now landmarked) seems to have been preserved in amber, a time capsule-esque monument to their lives together and to Lucille’s incredibly eccentric flair for interior design.  Almost every room in the house, from the kitchen to Louis’ office to the bathrooms is totally unique and fascinating, especially when taking into consideration how absolutely ordinary the exterior of the house is.

The project has been published in Casa Vogue, T Magazine and Curbed