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.
Photo by Samara Vise for the Boston Globe
shop the look
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.
Photo by Samara Vise for the Boston Globe
shop the look
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.
I put together a page of naked wedding cakes for the Boston Globe Magazine Weddings issue last month that I think turned out beautifully. So many local vendors sent me images of their gorgeous cakes, so I wanted to share the overflow here. I love the look of these restrained confections, though I admit, to me, the frosting is the best part when it comes to eating.
Amy Spirito Photography
Chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream and dusted with confectioner’s sugar by Flour(ish) Bake Shoppe, Beverly, Mass. Decorated with fresh apricots, blackberries, raspberries and greenery.
Henry + Mac
Coconut cake with strawberries and rhubarb by Mayflour Confections, Rockport, Mass. Flowers from Marc Hall Design.
Torted apple spice cake and caramel cream filling by Delicious Desserts, East Falmouth, Mass. Decorated with fresh succulents by Courtney’s Floral Creations and placed on a custom made rustic wood box. Decor and planning by Pink Polka Dot Events; wedding at Bourne Farm.
Dylan M. Howell Photography
Funfetti cake by Mayflour Confections, Rockport, Mass. Flowers by Boston Pollen; party design by Lauren S. Wells.
Kelly Dillon Photography
Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting by Mayflour Confections, Rockport, Mass. Decorated with herbs and greens by Petal Floral. Wedding design by MStarr Design.
Katie Noble Photo
Cake by Greggory’s Pastry Shop, Hadley, Mass.
Cake by Sweet Indulgences, Cranston Rhode Island.
Deborah Zoe Photography
Lemon yellow pound cake with blackberry puree and lavender buttercream filling and vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream frosting by Jenny’s Wedding Cakes. Decorated with fresh blueberries, spray roses, ivy, sweet pea, spirea, and ranunculus by Les Fleurs.
Kelly Dillon Photography
Cake by Peppers Artful Events, Northborough, Mass. Decorated with flowers by Becca Olcott.
Melissa Robotti Photography
Chocolate cake with white buttercream frosting and caramel drizzle by Katie Made Bakery, Portland, Maine. Decorated with French macaroons and fresh flowers by Emily Carter Floral Designs. Event design and planning by L.Brook Events.
Kate Arabatzis/Oh Miss Kate
Vanilla cake with the cardamom whipped cream filling, cream cheese frosting, and chocolate ganache drizzle by Oh Miss Kate.
Sour cream pound cake filled with fresh raspberries, tart lemon mousse with lemon buttercream frosting by Cakes to Remember. Decorated with fresh strawberries, raspberries, flowers, succulents, and sugar leaves.
Hello Love Photography
Marble cake with mocha buttercream by Mayflour Confections, Rockport, Mass. Decorated with fresh flowers and figs.
Lens CAP Productions
Funfetti cake with buttercream frosting by Russell Morin Catering & Events, Attleboro, Mass.
Sabrina Baloun Photography
Gold cake with chocolate mouse and fresh raspberry filling and vanilla buttercream icing by Party Favors, Brookline, Mass. Decorated with fresh flowers and topper by Alexis Mattox Design from Party Favors.
Amy Spirito Photography
Vanilla almond cake with raspberry filling and vanilla buttercream frosting and decorated with fresh wildflowers byFlour(ish) Bake Shoppe,Beverly, Mass.
Sarah Jayne Photography
Chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream frosting by The French Sisters Bakery, Littleton, New Hampshire. Decorated with a fresh garden roses and ranunculus by Apotheca Flower Shoppe. Planning by All the Fuss Events.
For one of last summer’s Boston Globe Magazine home issues, I wrote about a family friendly house in Scraggy Neck on the Cape with all sorts of fun, beachy features, including a bunk room and a kids bathroom with an oversize trough sink. In addition to its extra large size (I think there are five kids, plus plenty of cousins) and cobalt color, the mom loved that the trough sink hasn’t any counters to muss up.
Trough sinks have an industrial feel often associated with schools or art studios. They’re heavy duty, normally mounted to the wall, though some have legs. I think they’re historically made of cast iron, but I’m sure modern models are also fabricated in other materials. Trough sinks are deep and can be extra-long, accommodating two or even three faucet sets, which make them especially good for kids bathrooms. Of course trough sinks make great utility sinks in a laundry room or mud room too.
Here are 24 bathrooms with trough sinks in all a variety of colors (a red trough sink, a chartreuse trough sink, trough sinks in various shades of blue) as well as an abundance of black trough sinks. Some are indeed in kids’ bathrooms, others are in bathrooms with old time-y, industrial chic, Brooklyn-y vibe.
New England Design Works kitchen and bath designer Karen Swanson is a master at small house living. She owns this perfect little house in Manchester, Massachusetts which I wrote about for Boston Globe Sunday Magazine “Small Spaces” home issue on June 7, 2015 in an article called “Party of Three,” photographed by James R. Salomon.
Swanson lives in this cedar shingled, 1,200-square-foot home (exactly 600-square feet on the top and 600-square feet on the bottom) with her daughter and son after downsizing from a 3,300-square foot place across town last spring. Swanson bought the house from an older gentleman, and it was kind of a disaster, with racoons under the floor, which was lumpy, but Jim O’Neill of O’Neill Fine Building squared her away.
As a kitchen and bath designer, she is adept at efficiently fitting everything one needs into the available space, which came in pretty handy. Small house living is a snap for Swanson. She says, “There were absolutely no compromises.”
That’s not to say there weren’t challenges to laying out the small house. The front door wouldn’t have closed if the sofa was even an inch longer. She chose the Bantam sofa from DWR not just for its length, but because it isn’t too deep, but it’s still comfortable. The Martini side table in antique brass from West Elm can be moved easily where needed. One of the great things about a smaller home, she says, is that she sees her kids a lot more.
The wall with the mural is the first thing one sees upon entering, so Swanson knew she wanted to make a statement on it. She originally imagined concocting a backlit forest scene based on the one in the restaurant at MoMA, but it proved too tricky. When she spotted this Kenneth James wallpaper mural at local design shop Watters & Brown, and realized the five strips that comprise the mural was the same size as her wall, she decided it was fate. Plus, at $350 she figured she could change it if and when she tired of it.
The oak table is Ethnicraft from Boston design store Lekker and the red chairs are the Sabrina chairs by Casprini purchased from Room & Board.”Red’s my favorite color,” Swanson says, “so they were perfect.” Plus, since they’re so light (they’re actually indoor/outdoor plastic chairs), they’re not difficult to wrangle when she has extra folks for dinner and it’s necessary to move furniture around to accommodate everyone.
The ceramic work artwork is by Next Step Studio, which Swanson discovered at the AD Home Show. Wall mirror from West Elm.
The galley kitchen is only 75-square feet but Swanson has all the storage she needs, and it looks beautiful. Despite the kitchen’s small size, it was wide enough to make the cabinets on one side 30-inches deep (vs. the standard 24-inches deep). This made all the difference, especially for bulky items such as pots and pans, which all fit in one drawer. (Scroll down for the kitchen layout.) The floor-to-ceiling pantry also houses the toaster and microwave. She opted for a full size Wolf oven knowing she’d regret it if she went with a smaller model.
This is the kitchen wall one sees upon entering, and it’s visible from the living room, so it was important that it look good. The lift-up cabinets, which are 18-inches deep, store the food processor, stock pot, slow cooker, and such.The fridge is a 27-inch wide SubZero with two freezer drawers, which she adores. The cabinetry is painted maple and the pulls are from local hardware showroom Raybern.
The first design element Swanson chose for the house were the Walter Zanger glass tiles from Tile Showcase for the backsplash. The countertop is white Silestone. An inset stainless steel troughs holds wine, oil, cutting boards, and sometimes plants.
In order to ensure she’d have ample counter space in her small kitchen, Swanson decided on a two-burner induction cooktop. The stainless steel shelf holds all the everyday dishes and mugs, plus some food storage containers. Both the shelf and trough were fabricated at Weiss Sheet Metal, the same place that fabricated Julia Child’s kitchen now installed at the Smithsonian.
Swanson used a sink with an integrated drain board so that it could be centered on the window ,even though the sink base is not. This allowed her to squeeze an 18-inch dishwasher to the right of the sink.
White pendant light from Rejuvenation. Shelf from West Elm. Artwork from the local Montserrat College sidewalk sale. Polka dot Roman shade made from Scion fabric purchased at The Martin Group in the Boston Design Center.
Orla Kiely wallpaper (also from The Martin Group) covers the master bathroom, which also functions as the first floor powder room. She designed the vanity for optimum storage, taking into consideration the variety of sizes of bathroom items, like soap, deodorant, and Band-Aid boxes. She placed the sink off center in order to maximize counter space.
The right side houses three drawers, each a different depth and the left side is a cabinet made to look like drawers in order to match the other side for a neat, symmetrical appearance.
The master bedroom is on the first floor; sliders open to the deck and backyard.Playing off the citrus hue of recently reupholstered 1940s chairs from local consignment shop Stock Exchange, Swanson used inexpensive yellow polka dot fabric from Calico Corners for the draperies. The Tripod table from West Elm, was previously used in her daughter’s room as a desk. She sometimes works here if the kids are watching television in the living room.
The kids bath on the second floor doubles as the laundry room. A fiberglass shower unit was originally wedged under the sloped ceiling. Swanson swapped it for a washer and dryer cleverly concealed by sliding barn-style doors. The oil painting, from local consignment shop Stock Exchange, pictures a pink house on the road to Plum Island in Newburyport, Mass.
The oil-rubbed bronze finish of the new Anderson windows works nicely with the exterior trim, painted Benjamin Moore Gropius Grey, without being an exact match. The landscaping and back deck were already in place, along with creeping hydrangea on the rock ledge. The gravel yard means no lawn to mow. The persimmon front door hints at what’s to come. Swanson says, “I love that the house is subtle on the outside but inside there’s an explosion of color.”
• • •
S H O P the P O S T
Get Karen Swanson’s look from StyleCarrot partners >
Cambridge-based interior designer Heidi Pribell breathed a new and colorful life into a dated, dilapidated, and absolutely dreary multi-family home, transforming it into a thoroughly fantastic single family residence for a family that re-located from out-of-state. I wrote about this colorful makeover in the Boston Globe Magazine “Makeovers” issue in February 2014, shot by one of my favorite local interior photographers (and the first one I worked with in Boston) Eric Roth.
Pribell got her hands on the 3,600 square foot interior once Oldenburg Architecture and contractors Dattilo & Reidy completed the structural work, which included opening up the main living space and improving the flow. Since the family preferred to stick to a tighter budget when it came to furnishings, Pribell knew most of the wow factor would come from color. Pribell says, “I am so passionate about color, I can nearly taste and hear it.”
Pribell’s rich and rosy palette was inspired by a trip she had recently taken to Mexico, most specifically by wildly blooming bougainvillea in its yellow, orange, red, and magenta glory. The trim in the living room is painted in a color Pribell describes as “a hot, cardinal red,” then toned down with an uneven application of glaze. Pribell transformed a closet into a light-filled home office with built-in desk, accessed by French doors.
For furniture, Pribell paired a gray sectional sofa from Crate & Barrel (scattered with store bought pink and orange pillows) with yellow hexagonal side tables from West Elm. A stylized floral black rug grounds the space. All the furniture in the house was newly purchased, with the exception of the two armchairs, which the wife inherited from her great grandmother. Made from dark, polished wood with mustard upholstery, they hardly blended, so Pribell had them painted with several coats of that same hot red paint and glaze, and covered with a fun fabric by Romo.
The columns dividing the living and dining room were original to the house.
For the dining room wall Pribell used sorbet shades of butterscotch and salmon, again inspired by bougainvillia. Pribell says, “As bougainvillia grows and ages, the petals transform from yellow orange to magenta.”
The indoor/outdoor striped rug is perfect for family living. The white dining extension table with curvy legs—the Regency by Calligaris—was purchased at local furniture store City Schemes. Pribell says, “I love the rococo nature of it.” Swirly orange chairs from Indonesia have ikat print cushions about which Pribell says, “I think they’re kind of soulful; and they relate to the Arts & Crafts nature of the home.”
Pribell clustered six mirrors from Global Views above the Asian style sideboard to help bounce light around the room.
Walls were removed for an open layout. The orange Kartell barstools were a splurge, but they loved the color and flexibility they provided, since the kids were different sizes and growing.
The white kitchen was already designed when Pribell came on board. She added funky red lacquer hardware.
The master bedroom was originally two rooms, so they broke down the wall to enlarge it. The vintage light pendant, made from clear fishing line on Lucite, purchased at local modern design shop Abodeon, adds character. A persimmon door leads to a balcony.
The master bathroom walls are covered in large format marble tiles from floor-to-ceiling, thanks to a major sale at Tile Showcase. They added a custom Silestone countertop to a store bought vanity. The floor is done in cotton candy-colored penny tile. Pribell says, “It’s extremely small for a master bathroom, but it has the graciousness of a 5-star hotel.”
On, the first floor, which has essentially the same layout, the color scheme is repeated, providing a perfect atmosphere for the kids who use the space to watch television, do art projects, and practice piano.
The downstairs living room provides the family with another, slightly more casual, hangout spot. The swirly vine rug is by Dash & Albert and the coffee table on casters is the Strind from Ikea. “The downstairs space really caters to the kids,” Pribell says.
The exterior entry doors are persimmon and the porch ceiling is lilac.
Pribell says, “I wanted the home to seem fresh and crisp and have a modernism about it, but not be devoid of character. The homeowner is very theatrical and energetic; this house became an expression of her personality, and I think that’s what delights her most.”
• • •
Recreate the style of this colorful makeover by Heidi Pribell with pieces from StyleCarrot partners.