Tag Archives: Boston designers

Design Diary: Girl’s Study by Erin Gates

Elements of Style blogger and interior designer Erin Gates designed this lovely work space for a nine-year-old girl  in Newton, Mass. Gates decorated most of the rooms in the family’s house, which are featured in her book, but recently went back to update this room. I wrote about it in a StyleWatch column for the Boston Globe Magazine, published this past Sunday. More decor details and sourcing links (some of which are StyleCarrot partners) included here. The beautiful photos are by Boston-based photographer Sarah Winchester.


The goal was to create a space sweet enough for a young girl, but modern enough that guests would feel comfortable there (and so she wouldn’t quickly outgrow it). The starting point was the existing purple/grey wall color Benjamin Moore Coastline. The color was a perfect match for the large scale, Arts & Crafts influenced Farrow & Ball Lotus wallpaper, which the client had had her eye on for some time.

A tufted grey velvet daybed from Restoration Hardware Baby & Child anchors the room. She points out, “A daybed is comfortable for reading and doesn’t take up as much room as a bed with a headboard.” (I also like this more streamlined grey velvet daybed from World Market.)

Rather than opting for more obvious silver-toned accents, Gates used gold tones for contrast. Visual Comfort’s French Library wall lamps in antique brass from Circa Lighting provide plenty of reading light and cord covers eliminated the need to hire an electrician to hard wire them.


They found inexpensive butterfly prints, which were under $20 each, on Etsy, which Gates custom framed in gold metal frames. Gates says, “We looked for art in purple tones that we could layer on top of the wallpaper, and these have a nice, girly feel.”

Gates mixed three different pillow patterns against the dramatic pattern of the wallpaper. The European squares are a painterly geometric ikat and the smaller geometric is by Pindler & Pindler. The pairing of these prints provide a nice combination of softness and structure. Kelly Wearstler “Sea Urchin” fabric by Groundworks from Lee Jofa adds an organic element to the mix, while providing some texture.”The secret to mixing,” Gates says, “is to use a monochromatic color palette and play with scale.”


An inexpensive gold side table echoes the finish of the brass sconces. In choosing a table height to work with the swooped arm of the daybed, Gates advises it be somewhere in the middle of the high and low point for ease of use as a nightstand and side table.


It was important that a desk provide enough room for more than one person, so Gates positioned the white lacquer Parsons table from West Elm perpendicular to the wall. The hammered brass table lamp and the gold frame around the linen-covered pinboard from Pavona Interiors on Etsy ties in with the gold accents on the other side of the room.

Gates opted for a grey velvet side chair instead of a rolling desk chair since it would function better on the carpet. The homeowner already owned the purple pagoda pillow from the Happy Chic by Jonathan Adler collection at JCPenney.


The tall and narrow metal bookshelf on casters from CB2 is the perfect dimension for the space between the windows, leaving a bit of breathing room on each side so the curtains don’t bunch up behind it. The family already owned the Eames rocker.

Makkas Drapery Workroom in Framingham, Mass.made the custom ivory and gray linen curtains. (They made the pillow covers too.)  “Custom drapes look so much more finished, so I always advise going custom if it’s in the budget,” says Gates. She opted for a Parisian pleat, which is the only one she uses, preferring the clean lines that are less fussy look than a traditional pleat, which fans out at the top.

Gates hung the curtain rods as high as possible, right under the crown molding, to add height, which is important in rooms with eight- or nine-foot ceilings. As for the length, she says, “I like them to just kiss the floor. Puddled drapes just collect dust.”

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S H O P the P O S T

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Shop draperies at Serena & Lily >


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Designer Spotlight: Samantha Faye Jewelry

Samantha Freedman, a Newton girl whose family is in the  jewelry business (Downtown Crossing Boston diamond shop Freedman Jewelers is her dad’s), actually started out as a corporate lawyer before pursuing design. And even then, she did it on her lunch hour. I profiled Samantha (“Sweetest Charms”) in the Boston Globe Magazine earlier this month.


Samantha’s first charm was a clothing hanger. After people bought them right off her neck, she designed five more fashion-inspired pieces which comprise the Closet Collection: a button, a zipper, a key, a knot, a pair of lips, and a bow. All seven are still in production, and the bow has since become one of her biggest sellers. She does all her pieces in sterling silver, gold plate, and rose gold plate.



Boston Globe Magazine January 6, 2013
photos in the magazine by Dan Watkins

 After the closet came the Menagerie Collection, which today includes 20 different adorable animal charms, all available in large and small sizes. She started making the animals and matching mini mes when her friends started having kids, thinking they’d be cute mommy/daughter accessories. (She makes charm bracelets too.) They were a hit, but with an even broader audience. Sorority sisters, and all sorts of ladies loved them.




If the large and small lobsters aren’t telltale signs, the Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket island charms, plus the anchor, making up the Islands Collection, gives Samantha away as a New England girl.


Samantha’s newest collection Modern Classic, includes nature-inspired shapes, good luck charms, and other whimsical silhouettes. Again, all available big and small in three finishes.




Samantha behind-the-scenes at the Globe shoot at Succara on Beacon Hill, the showroom that represents her line.



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Design Diary: Lisa Kreiling’s Gorgeous Townhouse

I first saw the work of Boston-based designer Lisa Kreiling of LTK Interiors almost two years ago at a South End Urban Showhouse organized by Ricardo Rodriguez. I was beyond thrilled when Rachel Slade, editor of Boston Home, assigned me a full feature (cover story, no less), about the four-story, 2,200-square-footSouth End townhouse Lisa shares with her husband and his two kids. Her former boss, Jeffrey Katz, did the architecture and Cheryl Katz and Kevin Musumano from the studio helped with some design choices. You can read the full piece, “City Slick”, but first, look my spread below. (Images, as indicated by Maine photographer Trent Bell. Others par moi.)


 s u m m e r   2 0 1 2


photo by Trent Bell
The living room is an eclectic chic mix of old (sofa), vintage (chairs), inexpensive (coffee table), and treasured travel finds (rug). The wood floors were dark when they bought it, but they stained them another two or three coats, darker still.


Nude watercolor by Marie Schlect, the mom of a stylist Lisa worked for in New York years ago. She had it framed at A Street in the South End. Lisa uses Boston-based Joaquim Schmidt to hang her artwork.


photo by Trent Bell
The chandelier, which is hung in the corner, super low, is from Charles Spada in the Boston Design Center.


photo by Trent Bell
The red velvet sofa was her husband’s “from forever ago.” Oddly, her parents had an identical one when she was growing up! The line drawing is by Cocteau, purchased in Paris. It took them forever to decide where to hang it.


photo by Trent Bell
A sea urchin lamp from Mohr & McPherson in the South End becomes a natural design object. She calls it her “pet.”


photo by Trent Bell
The framed drawing, by architect Jeffrey Katz, was a wedding gift.


A World’s Away bar cart, purchased at Hudson in the South End, is tucked in the corner. She jokes that the art over it is very manly—two boxers and a bullfighter.


photo by Trent Bell
OK, design lovers, name that chandelier. Yup, from Workstead in Brooklyn. The table is Danish modern from her mom, and she bought the vintage chairs years ago from Abodeon in Cambridge.  The upholstery is vinyl, so she drapes sheepskin over them, and jokes that she buys a new one every time she goes to IKEA. The mirror was a street find from when she lived in NYC and the buddha is from Red River Trading in the South End. Look at the entry at the right. Love the bue walls!


The abstract artwork is by her husband’s friend, Gary Koepke.


One of the reasons Lisa fell in love with the house was the old cracked skylight with chicken wire glass. Sadly, the glass needed to be replaced.


photo by Trent Bell
Lisa arranged postcards, photos, and kids’ artwork on the second floor landing.


photo by Trent Bell
Her stepdaughter’s bedroom has a bright Marimekko comforter and IKEA pendant.


A shot of the gir’s desk and Shepard Fairey poster. I didn’t take a photo of the boy’s room, since he was home sick from school that day.


The kids bath.


Another work by North Fork painter Marie Schlect hangs on the fourth floor landing.


photo by Trent Bell
Two vintage dressers stand back to back in the closet/dressing room. She bought the mirror online from Wisteria. The linen Roman shades add a touch of softness.


The master bedroom has bookshelves expertly tucked into the corner.


The master bath is done in 12×24 Dolemite tile with a very milky honed finish. The floor tiles are slate, some honed, some not. They added a skylight to the space, which she says, “Changes your life.”


photo by Trent Bell
The kitchen is on the ground level, which they gutted. She always knew she’d do her kitchen in white subway tile with black grout. The floor is painted with Farrow & Ball deck paint in “Arsenic.” The Kubus farm table is from Lekker, and the Thonet chairs are actually cheapie plastic.


The kitchen leads out to the garden area. They blew out the back wall, replacing it with windows, painted in black. Notice that the baseboards throughout the house are also black, on the recommendation of her former associate Kevin Musumano. (Sorry my computer is in the photo!)


The outside space, covered in pea stone. Uplighting makes it feel like a room at night.

ltk-kitchen-back wall

The open floating shelves displays white pottery, inspired by Cheryl Katz’s collection of Astier de Villatte pieces. Peek around the corner and notice the wall with the clock—it’s painted with blackboard paint (also Kevin’s rec) to give the space a defined end point. The Rohle faucet was a splurge.


Portraits of Lisa’s two stepchildren.


The walls of the downstairs powder room are lined with walnut flooring. The ceiling is gold and the sconces from Urban Electric.


Local carpenter Andrew Trainer built the shelving into the exposed brick wall. The window seat is topped with a custom linen covered French mattress, another splurge. She covered the ottoman with a piece of Madeline Weinrib carpet that was left over from a client. The leather chair is from Anthropologie and the sconces from Restoration Hardware. The rug was purchased in Morocco on their honeymoon.


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Design Diary: Jeff Osborne’s South End Loft

I’ve been meaning to highlight interior designer Jeff Osborne’s South End condo for a while now. I originally wrote about it, “Living With Less, for the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine.  Why now? I have just hired Jeff and his partner, interior designer Amanda Hark, to renovate the main floor of our Boston condo. Their newly created firm is called Hark + Osborne ). I am so excited.

Jeff’s Boston loft isn’t large, but he makes great use of the space. And  he has an amazing eye, mixing old and new, high and low. He had to do some serious editing to make it work. He gave all his old furniture to his brother in order to be able to get the look he wanted. The overall aesthetic is clean and modern and very tailored, but there are plenty of vintage pieces for character and texture.

Photo by Josh Kuchinsky

In the main living space, the television blends right in with the art. The ebony, bamboo-topped coffee table by Gervasoni from Showroom in Boston has simple lines, with an Asian feel. The rug is Italian, made from linen and wool. The sofa, upholstered in linen, is Flexform, from Showroom. Showoroom owner Doug Gates is his close friend.

Photo by Josh Kuchinsky

The vintage Louis Vuitton trunk was a gift from Osborne’s parents. The painting of man on left is a self-portrait by Cyrille Conan from a local Boston art gallery. The smaller piece on the right was painted by his grandfather. It’s a cottage on Ballston Beach on Cape Cod, that has since washed away. Underneath, on the white lacquer Poliform shelf, is a whaling-ship propeller that he found at a Boston antiques show.

The smaller ceramic bowl on the far left is by Tim Christiansen, purchased from The Society of Arts & Crafts on Newbury Street. (Christiansen and Osoborne went to boarding school together.) The larger one is from Norway from his parents, who collect ceramics and art.  “They have fantastic taste,” he says, “They downplay it, but it’s been a huge influence on my work.” Both bowls sit on wood blocks from West Elm.

The artwork is hard to see here. The vertical is a drawing of a nose that he bought when he studied abroad in Florence; it’s a local contemporary artist but in an antique French frame that he bought it from a store called Flair. Next to it is a print from Paris of hats flying off people’s heads by Charlotte Reine.

On the bottom shelf are Chinese bronze animal bells from Intarwut in Cambridge.

Two aluminum frame full-length mirrors from IKEA are propped up behind the Flexform stainless steel and rope folding chairs.

Photo by Josh Kuchinsky

The bed is beyond the main living space, in a south-facing, floor-ceiling-windowed nook. The bed (high) is upholstered in white leather and covered in gray houndstooth linens. The nightstands (low) are from West Elm. The industrial-style lamps are from Casa Design in SoWa. The chair in the foreground, upholstered in striped chenille, is Flexform.

A trio of postcards depicting Greek ruins were discovered in a junk shop in Provincetown.

Photo by  Josh Kuchinsky

The kitchen is standard issue from the building. The wrapped countertop is bisque-colored speckled Caesarstone, the appliances are Viking, and the cabinetry Wenge wood. Osborne added the three silvery pendant light fixtures from Casa Design over the bar. And note the Alessi juicer next to the bowl of oranges.

The entry is lined with family photos and artwork.

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Designer Spotlight: Seema Krish

Inspiration board.

Seema’s studio.

It’s true, I blogged about Seema Krish last summer after interviewing her for “Designing Women” in Stuff Magazine. But although we had a long phone conversation, we had never met. She invited me to The Buttery for tea last week, and after devouring a carrot cupcake with cream cheese frosting (all me, not her), we walked to her studio at 46 Waltham (and ran into Jill Goldberg of Hudson with her beautiful new baby Dylan).

After introducing me around to some stationary designers – it’s like a college dorm in there, very fun – Seema showed me her newest work. In addition to continuing production on her debut collection, “Bombay Bliss”, she is introducing a new line of 46 textiles to Seema Krish Collection. Her work is absolutely stunning. The photos don’t do it justice. The colors are gorgeous, and on top of the block printing – by hand, so not perfect, thus utterly charming – are hand stitched details, like French knots, cross stitched “X”s, dotted lines, subtle mirrored pieces, appliqué, etc.

Bombay Bliss pillows

New designs – drawings with stitching

Browsing through a David Hicks book.

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