Tag Archives: Abodeon

Design Diary: Ladder District Loft by Duncan Hughes

I thought I knew most of the designers in Boston, until I encountered Duncan Hughes. Talented, inventive, and sensitive to clients’ lifestyles and tastes, I met Hughes when I was assigned to write a story about a young couple’s downtown Boston loft, “Unpolished Perfection,” for Boston Home’s Spring 2012 issue. Hughes’ work, as you can see here, is fresh and functional, with a sense of humor, a bit of drama, and more than a touch of the practical. (Unrelated tidbit: Hughes recently re-designed a home for Katherine Heigl in L.A.)

Photography by Eric Roth

A wall of faux boxwood greets visitors when they step off the elevator. It’s a surprise of the after being on the busy city street. The ceiling is painted black to suggest a night sky. The sliding barn-style doors are mahogany doors salvaged from a school in Milton, Mass., painted electric blue. The contractor wasn’t thrilled about painting the beautiful old wood, but Hughes convinced him. Hardware: Barndoorhardware.com; wallpaper: Cole & Sons; stools: Wisteria; coat stand: Abodeon, Cambridge.

The elevator doors are done in chalkboard paint; great for last minute grocery reminders. Hughes helped the couple organize the huge living room space. The homeowner told me, “I never lived anymore where we could fit more than one couch, and it was obvious where it would go. Here, not only is there 20 places to put a couch, you could have more than one!”

Roman shades: Kelly Wearstler ‘Trellis’ for Schumacher; artwork: Yes.Oui.Si, Boston; credenza: Abodeon; gray sofa: Room & Board; brown sofa: The Bright Group, upholstered in leather with mohair seat cushion.

Hughes custom designed the cocktail table, fabricated in Lucite by Altec Plastics in Boston. (Yes, the rug is different in this photo, which I took when I visited for the walk-through and interview.)

Next to the living room is another seating area, inspired by Hughes’ recent African safari. He says, “I was fresh off a safari in Botswana, where we’d gather around a fire with director chairs and a full bar. I wanted that effect here. I didn’t want any matching chairs; I wanted it to feel like people just grabbed what was there and pulled them up to talk.”

The trick to a mix and match chair ensemble? “Getting seat heights about the same height, so nobody feels out of place, and making sure everyone’s feet are on the carpet, even just one foot, so they feel like they’re in the group. “Coffee table and chair on left: vintage 1950s  from Reside, Boston; Womb chair from Addo Novo, Boston; wood chair by Blu Dot; artwork: Yes.Oui.Si, Boston.

The fireplace is gas from Sparks, with no hearth, for maximum simplicity. Hughes says, ” The theme is rustic meets modern with a little industrial sprinkled on top.” The surround is done in salvaged barn wood from Maine. Hughes started out wanting to line it with old railroad ties, for a log cabin feel, but ran into issues with toxicity. He chose each piece of wood very carefully, some with knots, some with old paint, and planned out exactly which sections of each board he would use. Later, the contractor picked them up and promptly sawed them right in half so they’d fit, nearly causing Hughes a heart attack. “I thought he was kidding, but we made it work.”

The sconces on the surround are vintage chrome pieces.

Hughes designed a faux window above the bar. It’s lit with fluorescent strips enhanced with gels purchased at a local performing arts hardware store, to get just the right quality of light that it resembles a window. The vintage chandelier has a bit of a deco feel. The long trestle table was handmade in California by the guy who originally had designed a similar table for Restoration Hardware.

Hughes built in a bar on the back of the entry wall, borrowing space from an oversize coat closet. The couple likes to entertain, so the bar was high on their priority list.

The kitchen was already intact when Hughes was hired, but he did spruce up the old fire doors, and added shelves behind them, creating a shallow space perfect for spice jar storage.

To separate the public and private spaces, Hugh designed the black room divider, fabricated from etched polycarbonate. The cloudy finish allows light through, but obscures the mess of toys and such behind it. The shiny tin panel on the right is a pocket door. The piano sits on an oversize sheepskin rug (six pelts sewn together) from Bowron Sheepskin in New Zealand.

Hughes designed an ingenious reading nook at the foot of the stairs, modeled on the outdoor lawn chairs of his youth. The adjustable back is woven with seat belt fabric. The cushion lifts up for storage. The bookcase is extra deep, and accessible from both sides.

Homeowners Darren and Colette Powell.

Designer Duncan Hughes.

For more about the space, design process, Hughes, and the homeowners, read the full story, “Unpolished Perfection” in Boston Home.

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Get the Look: 34 (Mostly) Modern Sculptures

Bronze sculptures are expensive, modern or new, but there are examples of vintage and contemporary pieces in other mediums, like wood and ceramic, that are well within reach. I love the well-above-my-price-range biomorphic bronze by Antoine Poncet, as well as Kelly Wearstler’s cheeky legs. And the Finnish sheep in smooth black wood is adorable.

S H O P P I N G
‘Crystal Angel’ by Martti Rytkönen for Orrefors, $125 at Unica.
C. Jere Sputnik in Polished Chrome, $99 at Jonathan Adler.
Porcelain Skull by Nymphenburg, $439 at Unica.
Brass Knot, $1,495 at Kelly Wearstler.
‘Totemic Dreams’ with Bronze and Shino Glaze by Victoria Shaw.
‘Pointing Figure’ by Bernard Meadows, 1967, $10,000-$15,000, Sotheby’s
Bronze Legs, $1,495 at Kelly Wearstler.
Black Wood Ram by Aarikka Finland, approx. $615 at Aarikka.
Teak Fish Sculpture by Mike Morgenroth,1979, $24 at Abodeon.
Smolten Mirror by Cmmnwlth, $4,000 at Matter.
Vitra Miniature Wiggle Chair by Frank Gehry, 1972, $130 at MoMA Store.
‘Construction of My Heart’  in Alabaster, $4,500 at Arlene Angard.
Green Laminated Milled Acrylic by Phillip Low, $750 at Moss.
Puppy Abstract by Eero Aarnio for Magis, $147 at Nova68.
Nobuho Miya Iron Birds, $120 at Abodeon.
Briciole Sculpture/Divider by Paola Navone for Riva 1920 at Unica.
Resin Bottles by Constantin & Laurene Leon Boym, $55 at The Future Perfect.
Unglazed Abstract, 1952 by William August Hoffman, $2,500 at Assemblage.
Sputnik by Tony Duquette, c.1960, at Lamberty, 1st Dibs.
Primary Color Cubist Sculpture by Adolf Odorfer, 1971, $8,000 at design/one.
Biomorphic Bronze by Antoine Poncet, late‘50s, $12,800 at Sam Kaufman.
‘Minhir’ by Hans van De Bovenkamp, 2009, $16,000 at Lon Hamaekers.
Kostick Bronze Star, $160 at Abodeon.
Multicolor Acrylic Shapes by Vasa Mihich, $950-$1850 at Galere, 1st Dibs.
Primitive Style African Sculpture, $800 on eBay.
‘Small Boxes #4’ by Mike Wright at Williams McCall Gallery.
Reclaimed Wood Sculpture, $99.95 at Crate & Barrel.
Black Rib Cage in Porcelain By Celia Nkala for Perception Park.
African Fertility Figures, Sierra Leone, 20th c., $5,400 each at Wyeth.
‘The Alexander,’ Stabile, $75 at Nova68.
Wood ‘Ascension,’ by Autin Wright, 2011, bid $6,500 at Grounds for Sculpture.
Brass Salvador Orb Brass Bibelots on Marble, $225 at Jonathan Adler.
‘Some Cords are Feathers’ Bronze by Romolo del Deo.
‘Tangle’ in Chrome by Richard X. Zawitz, 1981, $35 at MoMA Store.

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Get the Look: Wall Sculptures

So, have you decided you should get a wall sculpture? Can be cheaper than a painting (or not) and certainly are textural. I still haven’t taken one of mine out of the box – you might just want to make an offer on it. There are lots of sources for wall sculptures, both vintage and new . . .

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Shopping Guide

Vintage Starburst Wall Sculpture at SoHo Treasures.

Vintage Torched Brass Wall Sculpture, $950 at PCH Modern.

Mending Fences Wall Sculpture, $69.95 at Wall Decor and Home Accents.

Bonju Wall Sculpture, regularly $360, now $300 at InMod.

Nickel Lightning Flash Wall Sculpture
at Talisman, London, 1st Dibs.

Vintage Starburst Metal Wall Sculpture at Talisman, London, 1st Dibs.

Sheer Indulgence Metal Wall Art, regularly $96, now, $14.50 at Bellacor.

Undersea Irienscence Metal Wall Sculpture, $119.95 at Wall Decor & Home Accents.

Autumnal Bliss Oak Branch Wall Sculpture, $499 at Touch of Class.

Bronze Nails & Amber Glass Wall Sculpture, $5,800 at Michael Contessa, 1st Dibs.

Curtis Jere Maple Leaf Wall Sculpture, $1,800 at Antiques Du Monde, 1st Dibs.

Vintage Color Theory Wall Sculpture, $3,500, Pierre Anthony Galleries, 1st Dibs.

Starburst Mirror, regularly $128, now $59.99 at Urban Outfitters.

Sunburst Stainless Steel & Mirror Wall Sculpture, $45 at West Elm.

Cherry Blossom Wall Sculpture, $28 at Urban Outfitters.

Curtis Jere Raindrop Wall Sculpture, $2,800 at Gustavo Olivieri Antiques, 1st Dibs.

Gingko Leaf Wall Sculpture by Roost, $330 at Velocity Art & Design.

Abstract Steel Wall Sculpture by David Larson on Ebay.

Waffle Wall Art, $199 at InMod.

Vintage Brutalist Brass Wall Sculpture, $145 at Abodeon.

Vintage Starburst Wall Hanging
, $225 at Abodeon.

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Site Spotlight: Abodeon

If you’re design-oriented in Boston, you know Abodeon, a home furnishings shop on Mass. Ave. in Cambridge. It’s filled with treasures, with a mid-century modern and of-the-moment bent, all mixed together. Owner Terri Anderson emailed me last week to say that they’ve finally (finally, finally) got their website up and running, and it’s even ecommerce enabled. Yay! (Not that I plan on buying anything; it’s convenient for sourcing stuff for articles. Really.) She says, “There’s still much more for me to photograph and add, but we’re happy with the initial look and feel.” Here’s a screen shot of the home page, and a sampling of supremely covetable stuff.

abodeon site

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Eva Solo Knife Stand, $135

nobuho_1Nobuho Miya Birds, $98

aaltogreen_2lgAlvar Aalto Green Vase, $95

loop_1Loop Candelabra, $30

chernerchairs_1Cherner Chairs, $475/pair

Late 1950s to early 60s black walnut chairs with black vinyl pads designed in 1958 by Norman Cherner for Plycraft.

AE9051_2lgMassive Spring Coils, $285 each

Late 19th to early 20th century enormous steel spring coils with hand forged ends and a dark patina. Each stands 31″ high and weighs 40 lbs. Exceptional pieces of industrial sculpture.

glovemoldsbrass_1Brass Glove Molds, $85 each

Early 20th century four-fingered glove molds in brass and copper (the skirt on the left glove is steel). In untouched, weathered condition. Graphic examples of American industrial history.

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