Category Archives: Design Diary

Design Diary: Christmas Scheme by Marc Langlois

Boston-based interior designer Marc Langlois created this Christmas scheme for a family in Wellesley, which was published in the Boston Globe Magazine last month.

Neutral Christmas Tree Decor Marc Langlois

Photo by Michael J. Lee

Langlois runs fresh greenery throughout the house, and even coordinates the wrapping paper with the overall design scheme. The theme, starry night, is done in a tone-on-tone palette of gold, silver, and white. Langlois collects ornaments at craft fairs throughout the year, and uses twinkling white lights. The tree, a fancy fake one from Frontgate, is actually pre-strung with the lights.

Mac Langlois Living Room

Photo by Michael J. Lee

M E R R Y   C H R I S T M A S

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Design Diary: Fat Orange Cat Studio’s Moody Den by Wolf In Sheep Design

The last time we looked at the genius of Boston interior designer Alina Wolhardt, principal of Wolf In Sheep Design, it was to spotlight Joanne Chang’s Flour Bakery in Harvard Square.

Last year in the Boston Globe column “Room to Love,” I wrote about this moody den that Wolhardt designed for Li Ward, the Boston pet and wedding photographer behind Fat Orange Cat Studio, and her husband Dan, photographed by Joyelle West.

Ward first met Wolhardt when she photographed Wolhardt’s rescue dog for the book Rescue Pets of Boston. Then, she photographed Wolhardt’s other dog at her house, where she had created a cozy man cave in a windowless room. Ward hired Wolhardt to do the same for her—a dark little sanctuary where she and her husband could hang out for  cocktails and an afternoon read. They dubbed it the opium den.

Wolhardt says, “It took a year to complete this small room but we didn’t want to just force pieces purchased online from various mass-merchandise stores. I really wanted each piece was curated very carefully and that most pieces had history. When trying to create an Old World feel, you can’t force it.”

Moody Den by Alina Wolhardt of Wolf In Sheep Design Boston

The dark wall paint color is Benjamin Moore Gray 2121-10. Wolhardt says, “We designed their bedroom to be very light and airy so we wanted to create a ying yang type of thing where one side of this floor is white and the other side to be the opposite.”

Wolhardt went monochrome on the ceiling too, but in a wallpaper, ROMO Rocks in Metallic Eggplant, which has some sparkle to it. “It’s dark gray with some gold undertone sheen, so when the surface light is on, it creates a nice glow,” Wolhardt says.

That fabulous  light is the Soleil pendant by Suzanne Kasler forCirca lighting in antique brass, chosen to create a night sky-like feeling. The gold plays off the ornate gilt frames around the space.

“The idea for this room was to create an Old World, almost Victorian feeling with mixed styles, like the room had been curated over years,” Wolhardt says. The blue velvet settee is a Hollywood Regency style, sourced from an Etsy shop. Wolhardt directed the shop owner to refinish the frame in high gloss black. The cat’s name is Bingley.

The coffee table is made from the top of Ward’s childhood desk, trimmed with church railings salvaged by local Boston-based woodworker Nick Doriss of Doriss Design Workshoppe. Doriss also helped them hang a massive live-edge wood headboard that was originally a dining tabletop from Mohr McPherson. They repurposed that table base for the coffee table base here.

The heavy, carved dresser, from Ward’s parents, had been in their bedroom, but when Wolhardt spotted it she immediately asked to move it into the cave. She says, “We didn’t need to do anything to it. Even the mirror on this piece had an antiqued finish to it, which was perfect.”

Moody Den by Alina Wolhardt of Wolf In Sheep Design Boston

The artwork is a mix of pieces Ward already owned (antiquing is a hobby), coupled with pieces they found together at Brimfield. Wolhardt says, “We wanted to arrange the pieces like a gallery wall so that she can continue to add artwork as she finds more pieces down the road.”

The floor lamp base is a vintage piece with a new lacey lampshade made by Vintage Shades.

Moody Den by Alina Wolhardt of Wolf In Sheep Design Boston

They found the marble top of the  side table at Brimfield and purchased the legs from another antique store. “Each piece has a nice little history to it,” Wolhardt says.

To make the room feel nice and cozy brought in many layers and textures. The jewel tone velvets on the upholstered pieces make it feel luxurious. The Cisco chair is custom upholstered in emerald green velvet, a nice contrast to the dark gray walls. Wolhardt says, ”

Wolhardt says, “Our mood board had jewel images as well as mussels. Mussels have dark gray shells in nice blue/green shades. I am always inspired by nature, and try to incorporate that into my designs.”

Layering the rugs adds to the overall womb-like effect. The rug on the bottom is a gold, distressed dyed antique rug and the top is a red and blue antique rug.

A distressed blue and coral vintage rug from Seed to Stem in Worcester is layered atop a large Oriental style rug from Anthropologie.

Moody Den by Alina Wolhardt of Wolf In Sheep Design Boston

The black and white photograph is from homeowner Li Ward’s “Ghost Bride” series. “She did a whole series of this woman in a wedding gown, photographed in a cemetery. When I saw the series on her website, I knew it would be perfect for this room.”

Photos by Joyelle West Photography

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Design Diary: Waban Victorian by Robin M. Anderson

I profiled this Victorian home in the Waban village of Newton decorated by designer/blogger Robin M. Anderson in the September issue of Boston Common magazine. The article was one page, but I have plenty of room here to take you on a wider tour, with additional photos and links to some of the pieces Robin used (some of which are StyleCarrot partners). Photography by Sabrina Cole Quinn.

Robin M. Anderson Project In Boston Common Magazine

The 4,500-plus square-foot house belongs to Robin’s friends, who enlisted her help with furnishings in the foyer, formal dining room, and great room once  Nancie Chamberlain and Laurel Laliberte of Chamberlain & Laliberte Design Associates had wrapped up renovations.

Robin M. Anderson Waban Victorian Foyer

The family mainly uses the mud room, but visitors enter through this foyer. Robin chose a hand-turned wood pedestal table from Restoration Hardware to anchor the center of the space.

Robin M. Anderson Waban Victorian foyer

A Ben and Aja Blanc Half Moon Mirror with handspun silk, mohair, and wool fringe hangs over the refurbished fireplace. Candlesticks are from The Line.

Robin M. Anderson Waban Victorian Entry Console

Opposite, black and white photograph, “Mist Mounain 2” by Kate Schermerhorn hangs over West Elm burl console on a metal base with polished nickel finish. The atmospheric photo pictures a Costa Rican mountain top, which Robin jokes she chose in order to leave her mark, since she and her husband own a home in Costa Rica.

Robin M. Anderson Waban Dining Room

The formal dining room opens on the left of the entry. Robin designed around the Phillip Jeffries Rivets wallpaper which has actual silver rivets on the elephant manila hemp, and Heracleum II chandelier by Bertjan Pot for Moooi, both of which the homeowner had already chosen with Chamberlain & Laliberte. Robin aimed to keep the room light since it is a small space, infuse some glamour, and make sure it felt young and comfortable enough for kids could be included in meals there. “I wanted a throwback feel of old school dinner parties,” she says.

The antique mirror is a nod to original elements of a historic home. Robin used personal tidbits on the mantle including a family crest, a drawing of Canada that show where the homeowners are from, and an illustration of the original house that Robin commissioned from an Etsy artist based on an 1800s drawing from the town records department.

Robin M. Anderson Waban Dining Room Sideboard

An Aero marble dining table from Restoration Hardware is surrounded by blue velvet upholstered Gage dining chairs from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. A Biddew Norie textile from Senegal framed in Lucite hangs above a Maxim Panel sideboard from RH Modern. Jonathan Adler pottery and sculptural brass Globo table lamp are fun accents.

Robin M. Anderson Waban Dining Room Bar Cart

The hand-knotted Serena & Lily Niles rug has a pattern that hides fallen food, which is useful with little kids. The custom roman shades are made from Eskayel fabric and the 1930s French Trolley bar cart is from RH Modern. Hanging on the back wall is “Namibian Landscape Dusk” limited edition photo by Australian artist Kara Rosenlund.

Robin M. Anderson Waban Great Room

The family spends most of the time in the great room. The house originally ended at the header, but they added an addition onto the back, making it a much more family-friendly space. The RH Cloud sofa is upholstered in an indoor/outdoor Perennials textured linen weave. The “Mediterranean”seascape is by , LA based photographer Max Wanger and the cloud-like limited edition print “Dreams” by Miami-based Jonathan Brooks from Minted hangs above it. They painted the window trim black in this room to match the kitchen cabinetry.

Robin M. Anderson Waban Kitchen

Chamberlain & Laliberte designed the kitchen, but Robin found the leather and walnut Bacco by Omar De Biaggio counter stools from DWR, which is what prompted the homeowner, whose original inclination was to go more contemporary, to ask for help with the rest of the house.  Robin knew that organic materials would warm up the room. The homeowner chose the Modern Agnes pendants with gold interiors by AERIN for Visual Comfort.

Robin M. Anderson Waban Breakfast Table

When the table that the homeowner originally ordered didn’t quite work, Robin found this one, the Crate & Barrel Monarch walnut dining table. “It’s very durable which is important since they eat all their meals here,” she says. The black Tucker chairs from Serena & Lily, an iteration of a classic Windsor, play off the black cabinetry and window frames. Robin framed Eskayel wallpaper to add playful pattern on either side of the window above the sideboard.

Robin M. Anderson Waban Great Room

The addition has a cathedral ceiling with a skylight, complete the Beaux Arts style 72-inch Cannele chandelier in burnished brass from Restoration Hardware, which echoes the high round window. The Seville chair in camel leather from Room & Board is inspired by the iconic Barcelona chair designed by Mies van der Rohe. Although the homeowner isn’t a fan of color, Robin loves it, especially navy, so she snuck in some moody navy Eskayel pillows.

The homeowner loves everything Robin did. She says, “I wanted everything underdone, which I think is tough to do and still feel pulled together. Robin does it very well.”

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Design Diary: An Airy Kennebunkport Beach Retreat

I wrote about this airy Kennebunkport summer home on Goose Rocks Beach for the Boston Globe Magazine‘s Summer Living issue, published Sunday, June 18, 2017. Rob Whitten of Portland, Maine-based Whitten Architects designed the house and Nicki Bongiorno of Spaces Kennebunkport did the interiors. Photos by Trent Bell. (Some affiliate links included to help you source pieces you might love.)

Modern Beach House In Kennebunkport Maine

The interior is beachy and fresh with clean lines, done in a palette of sand, sea foam, and blues. The pearlized glass backsplash adds a touch of color, without stealing the spotlight from the view. “We tried to keep things blended, so nothing would stand out,” Bongiorno says.

View Of Atlantic Ocean From Maine Beach House

The starting point was to maximize views of the Atlantic Ocean. The hand block printed throw pillow covers are Kyoto by Serena & Lily.

Mudroom WIth Grey Tile And A View In Kennebunkport

Textured tiles by Walter Zanger runs from the front entry  back to the mudroom, in an effort to keep water and sand from straying onto the wood floors in the main living spaces. Shiplap painted in Benjamin Moore White Dove runs throughout.

Modern But Comfortable New England Beach House Living Room

Low-slung RH Modern sectionals are upholstered in Perennials indoor/outdoor fabrics, as are  the cushions on the built-in benches. The fireplace surround is bluestone.

Beach House Dining Room With Oak Table And Turquoise Chandelier

The oak dining table is RH Modern and the chairs are Janus et Cie indoor/outdoor, a perfect blend of modern lines, family friendly function, and comfort. The pair of Mini Diva glass disc pendants by Regina Andrews are the wife’s favorite part of the decor.

Bunk Room In Beach House Kennebunkport Maine

A nautical-style bedroom has two sets of built-in bunk beds trimmed with edge-grain fir with a clear finish.

Game Room With Ping Pong Table

Under the eaves of the table tennis cum, Whitten added built-in trundle beds. Those drawers aren’t for socks, they hold mattresses! The glossy white West Elm console tables with blue acrylic adjustable swivel stools are great for arts & crafts projects on rainy days.

Serene Bedroom WIth Ocean View In Maine

The master bedroom is an oasis that’s all about the ocean. I love the Seema Krish “Mahalaxmi” pillows, block-printed and embroidered by hand in India. (You can read about my visit to Krish’s former Boston studio here.) The soft blue Pine Cone Hill chambray duvet is cozy and doesn’t distract from the view. The raffia dresser is by Serena & Lily.

Neutral Clean Line Bathroom In Maine

The neutral master bath echoes look of the sandy beach. The custom floating oak vanity is topped with an Athens silver cream marble slab. The polished stainless steel Dorenbracht faucets have simple curves, as do the  RH polished chrome sconces. The taupey wall tile is also marble.

Modern Girls Bedroom In Turquoise With Swing

The couple’s seven-year-old daughter wanted a bedroom inspired by seaglass. The turquoise bed and turquoise-fronted nightstand are from Room & Board. It’s a queen size, with a twin-size trundle underneath so adult guests can sleep there. Yes, that’s the Melati hanging chair from Anthropologie, which happens to be on sale right now.

Beach House Boys Room With Ocean View And Lobster Theme

The nine-year-old boy’s requested a lobsters and buoys inspired bedroom. Those are real buoys hung above the bed.

Green & Blue Beach House Guest Bedroom

The guest room bed and nightstand are from Room & Board. An aqua Serena & Lily Pickstitch Matelassé quilt covers the bed.

Seaglass Inspired Beachy Bahroom

The round tiles in the guest bath shower—Glazzio Tile Moonstone Mosaic—were the first thing the homeowners decided on for the house. ir first decision were those round tiles. Seaglass knobs add a beachy touch to the vanity.

Modern House On Goose Rocks Beach In Maine

Whitten insisted on an expansive porch, which he considers the essence of coastal living. The exterior blends classic New England materials (cedar shingles) with contemporary ones (standing-seam metal roof). The homeowners love a contemporary aesthetic, but didn’t want to the house to stand out.

Landscape architect Emma Kelly collaborated with Whitten, adding ample storage under the porch. Lush plantings and a fire pit finish the property perfectly.

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Design Diary: Teen Blogger Gets a Makeover

I profiled the bedroom makeover of local teen influencer Alexa Curtis in the January 29th issue of the Boston Globe Magazine.

Curtis, who’s 19 and writes the affordable-lifestyle blog A Life in the Fashion Lane, came to her 500-square-foot North End one-bedroom apartment basically empty-handed, save for clothing and photos. Luckily she met designer Jenna-Lyn Croteau at the South End Open Market, who agreed to take on the project for a budget of less than $1,000.

Croteau, who’s 22, is a student at Boston Architectural College and the founder of the furniture restoration and design firm, Recycle Refinish Reuse. (She also assists the fabulously talented Alina Wolhardt of Wolf In Sheep Design, who just designed the new Flour Bakery.)

Jenna created Alexa’s white and gold look with a little money, lots of DIY finesse, and a handful of freebies Alexa was able to score in exchange for exposure on her blog.

Teen Blogger Alexa Curtis' Apartment Makeover - Bedroom

Photo by Samara Vise for the Boston Globe

 

Alexa loves to display photos of her friends. Jenna clipped Polaroids of Alexa’s travels around Europe, including the Cannes Film Festival, to three rows of linen string above the campaign style nightstand. There are more snapshots tucked into a holder on the other wall, next to four enlarged photos in frames bought on clearance from HomeGoods that Jenna painted white. The Soho cityscape above the bed is from Minted, by Austin-based photographer Kaitlin Rebesco.

Jenna transformed aa 50-cent vase from the Salvation Army with gold spray paint. Croteau made a wall-hung headboard from plywood, foam, and quilted fabric. She even made the covered buttons. She has her own table saw, jigsaw, sander, and drill in her home workshop.

Ethan Allen supplied the bedding and throw pillows. (White bedding was a must since Alexa use the bed as a background for photographing outfits.) The diamond-pattern throw is from Walmart, and the Moroccan-style rug from Wayfair.

The tufted leatherette chair with nailhead trim was a splurge that Jenna found on Craigslist for $100; definitely their biggest purchase. Room & Board provided the black sheepskin pillow. The curtains are from Ikea; the rods were already there when Alexa moved in.

Teen Blogger Alexa Curtis' Apartment Makeover - Work Space

Photo by Samara Vise for the Boston Globe

Jenna set up Alexa’s workspace on the other side of the bedroom. Responding to one of Alexa’s inspiration photos, Jenna made the desk by placing the top of an old trunk on the legs from two stools. A piece of found glass lets Curtis display snapshots underneath.

The Herman Miller fiberglass desk chair was a roadside find that was orange and very scratched up until Alexa primed and spray painted the seat white and the legs gold.

Jenna spotted the sparkly gold @ symbol at T.J.Maxx, which became the starting point for the art wall, which includes a print from Alexa’s dad and a pineapple print from Minted.

Alexa purchased the tall, mirrored chest from Overstock. Jenna revamped the dark metal honeycomb frame of an $8 mirror from the Salvation Army with white paint.

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