Tag Archives: Boston designers

Design Diary: Scandinavian Style Kitchen Renovation by Helios Design Group

I write a lot of one page design columns for Boston Globe Magazine. This one, published last fall with photos by Jared Kuzia, is one of my favorites. A restaurant industry couple hired Ariel Roth of Boston-based architecture and interior design firm, Helios Design Group, to renovate their kitchen in Jamaica Plain in a simple Scandinavian style, with an eye on the budget.

Roth started by moving the exterior door to the patio (and swapping it out for a full glass version that lets in light) in order to fit cabinetry and a new Wolf range with red knobs on a previously blank wall. Speckled penny tiles from Discover Tile are a fun touch that add a bit of color and interest. Love the inky blue walls? It’s Farrow & Ball Stiffkey Blue. The color allows the cabinets to stand out.

Speaking of kitchen cabinetry, Roth collaborated with local eco-friendly business Boston Building Resources on the cabinetry design, and donated the old cabinets to them for repurposing. The surface of the cabinets are done in simple white laminate, moments of exposed plywood edges, as well as the modern cut-outs in place of hardware, make them interesting. Roth says, “The plywood accents developed as we went along. The homeowners were into it, so at one point had exposed all the edges. Ultimately we pulled back and use plywood edge accents.”

Scandinavian Style Kitchen Renovation Helios Boston

Photo by Jared Kuzia

The homeowners initially fell in love with a $2,000 light fixture, but it just didn’t fit into the budget, so they decided on this acrylic orb. It’s the Bel Occhio 16 pendant lamp by Pablo Designs.

The Compass dining table from CB2 designed by Ceci Thompson  has an engineered wood high-gloss lacquered top and a glossy powder-coated, radial-shaped steel base. The red molded plastic chairs with wood legs are less expensive versions of the Eames fiberglass shell chair by Herman Miller.

While you’re down there, check out the floors. Roth used Avenue 12-by-12 cork tiles from APC Cork. This makes a lot of sense since it’s low maintenance and easy on the feet (they spend a lot of time in here). It also brings in an element of warmth.

Scandinavian Style Kitchen Renovation Helios Boston

Photo by Jared Kuzia

The above photo shows the rest of the sink wall. Roth enlarged the window to let in lots more light. You’ll notice that some of the kitchen cabinets are door-less, specifically in spots that are harder to access. These cubby-style cabinets are lined in charcoal Formica. The countertop is a quartz composite. “It’s a plane of solid grey that looks pretty with the cabinets,” Roth says.

Scandinavian Style Kitchen Renovation Helios Boston

Photo by Jared Kuzia

The photo above shows the other side of the range, and the adjacent wall. The bookcase makes use of a shallow space—an existing chimney is right behind it. They reused their fridge, which is right next to the bookshelf, in case you’re wondering.

Scandinavian Style Kitchen Renovation Helios Boston

Photo by Jared Kuzia

The shallow shelf is perfect for cookbooks, and a makeshift bar.

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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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Sunday Bouquet: Going Dutch

Botanical Still Life Photos By John Ross Of PatchNYC

Photo by Marni Elyse Katz/StyleCarrot

John Ross, Still Life with Dahlia & Lemons 
Calendar hanging in my kitchen featuring
Patch NYC designer John Ross’s
gorgeous botanical still life.

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Covet: Metallic Vegan Leather Patch Moto Leggings

Pull-On Moto Legging Pant With Metallic Leather Patch By A.Ruby

I’ve been wearing my black A.Ruby leggings for about a year, and have since bought another black pair and a pair in grey. The company, based north of Boston, has recently introduced this slightly blingier style that I’ve definitely fallen for—pebble colored pull-on pants with a metallic vegan leather patch at the knee. Still comfy slightly dressed up.

Pull-on Moto Leggings, $120

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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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