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Design Diary: Color Theory Brings a Suburban House to Life

Boston-based interior designers Brad Dufton and Kendra Amin-Dufton, the husband and wife duo behind Color Theory (of Apartment Therapy Small Cool fame in 2009), recently finished a top-to-bottom project on a house in Winchester, which I wrote about for the Boston Globe Magazine. The story, “Against the Gray,” details the process of and relationship between the designers and clients on their journey in creating a color-filled home. Note that Color Theory did it entirely from retail sources, so if you’re interested, re-creating the look is within easy reach.

Living Room Designed By Color Theory

 Photo by Michael J. Lee

Funnily enough, although the clients wanted color, Brad went with gray paint throughout the house. It makes a great backdrop for the saturated furnishings. Above, in the formal living room, he used a relatively dark shade, Benjamin Moore “Rock Gray.”  Brad says, “Formal spaces benefit from darker colors; it decompresses your energy, makes you want to stay longer for conversation.” This is one of three rooms in the house that he tags as moody.

Indian rug from Mohr & McPherson in Boston;  “Fillmore” sofa from Thrive; barley twist chairs from Zimman’s near Boston, upholstered in “Prospect” ikat by Thom Filicia for Kravet; starburst mirror from Zimman’s; coffee table from Horchow.

Farmily Room Designed By Color Theory

The family room, above and below, is huge. The walls are a lighter gray, Benjamin Moore “Wales Gray.” (By the way, Brad started out as a professional painter; he swears by and only uses Benjamin Moore, preferring its Regal Select line with a matte finish.) They used a three-dimensional, dried black lava stone tile for the fireplace surround. He calls the handmade, Brazilian chevron cowhide rug, from PureRugs, a “god-like” material, saying, “Everything and anything washes out of it.” Chairs from Circle Furniture; trio of acrylic tables from Wayfair.

Farmily Room Designed By Color Theory

A 14-foot-long Flexform sofa from Showroom in Boston dominates the main portion of the family room. Thomas H. Little Upholstery in Southboro, MA crafted the round ottomans and throw pillows. As for the juju hat installation, the client, who is from Congo, had the orange one. Brad and Kendra asked her to bring back “as many as she could carry” went she went to Africa to visit her mom. They admit they had no idea what they’d do with them all, but in a fit of inspiration, they clustered them on the wall

Sunroom Designed By Color Theory

Photo by Michael J. Lee

The sunroom boasts an amazing collection of indoor/outdoor pieces by Paolo Lenti from Montage in Boston. The sofa is actually three individual chairs that can be moved around (or dragged out to the deck). They originally purchased the ensemble for the basement playroom, but in an Aha! moment, Kendra realized they’d be perfect for the sunroom. The indoor/outdoor rug was a steal for $150 at RugsUSA, a welcome addition after the splurge on furniture. Continuing the high/low mix, there’s also a “Martini” side table from West Elm and a trio of cage pendants from CB2.

Lighting Designed by Color Theory

In the stairwell, nine brass and stainless steel pendants with rope cords and Thomas Edison filament bulbs by Lunabella, purchased at Zimman’s. We hear the electrician was none too pleased to have to hang them all.

Lighting Designed by Color Theory

Bedroom Designed by Color Theory
Photo by Michael J. Lee

The master bedroom is done in a glamorous scheme of black and magenta, with Benjamin Moore “Rock Gray” on the walls. The bed, which the clients first saw in an apartment they rented in Paris, is B&B Italia by Max Aalto, purchased from  Montage in Boston. It’s black-stained wood, with a gray tweed upholstered headboard and platform. The ottoman is West Elm and the ikat rug from Wayfair.  The Horchow fainting chaise came in gray velvet, but Brad and Kendra had it reupholstered in a magenta fabric by Iman for Kravet that they’d had their eyes on for years.

Boudoir Designed By Color Theory
 Photo by Michael J. Lee

The client was hot for a vanity. Brad and Kendra couldn’t find one they loved, so they pieced together its components using the Jonathan Adler “Channing” console, an inexpensive acrylic chair, curvy “Cattaneo” mirror from Horchow, and chrome sconces with black shades from Lamps Plus. I love the Senegalese storage basket from Serena & Lily, presumably used as a hamper.

Bathroom Designed By Color Theory

The master bath is done with a 3D tile on the floor, inspired by Manhattan bathrooms of the 1920s, and staggered oversize marble tiles on the wall. The egg-shaped tub was a splurge, and caused a bit of a ruckus with the plumber, but they finally got it right.

color-theory-nursery-michael-lee
 Photo by Michael J. Lee

The client, pictured here, is expecting a baby. Luckily, they were able to use all the pieces from her now two-year-old’s nursery from their prior home to create a new gender-neutral nursery. The walls are a grayish blue, Benjamin Moore “Sterling.”  The chartreuse lacquer dresser is the “Latitude” from CB2, the sleeper sofa from Room & Board, and the crib is Stokke. The stuffed animals are from Africa and the animal photographs purchased online from The Animal Print Shop, finished in frames by Room & Board. The chevron rug was created from FLOR carpet tiles. The cuckoo clocks over the crib were Brad & Kendra’s (you may recognize them from their living room), purchased a while back for 99 cents each at Urban Outfitters.

Guest Room Designed By Color Theory

The guest room, above and below, is done in the punchy black and white “Feather Fan” wallpaper by Cole & Son. “Wood Tiled” whitewashed dresser from West Elm; assorted carpet tiles by FLOR.

Guest Room Designed By Color Theory

“Window” headboard from West Elm and “English Garden” comforter set from Target.

Color Theory Girls Bedroom Boho

Finally, the daughter’s bedroom is done with a hippie chic, boho bibe, in a slight departure from the rest of the house. Brad says, “I want her to feel like she is carried to a far away land when she steps in.”

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Shop Serena & Lily for beautiful kids’ rooms. 

Serena & Lily Girls Bedrooms

Shop stylish sofas at Dwell Studio

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Get the Look: 43 Blue Velvet Sofas

If you’re feeling inspired by yesterday’s montage of rooms with blue velvet sofas, here are some options of blue velvet sofas you can buy. Some are aqua velvet sofas and others are teal velvet sofas. Many are in modern silhouettes, though there are also some tufted velvet sofas and settees. I’m pretty sure they’re all velvet, but it’s possible that a few are actually microfiber; it was hard to discern. [NOTE: This post was updated with new styles and links on February 7, 2016.]

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S H O P P I N G

Shop blue velvet sofas from StyleCarrot partners and others. 

1 Anna Navy Blue Velvet Sofa, $1,499 at One Kings Lane

2 Dandy Sofa, £1,292 at Maisons Du Monde.

3 Elton Settee in Performance Velvet, $799 at West Elm

4 Sherlock Blue Velvet Sofa, $1,999 at One Kings Lane

5 Edie Chaise, $729 at Urban Outfitters.

6 Bliss Down-Filled Sofa, starting at $1,149 at West Elm

7 Kravet Clapton Sofa, $3,816 at My Two Designers.

8 Annette Sofa by Plum & Bow, $798 at Urban Outfitters

9 Rue Blue Velvet Apartment Sofa, $999 at CB2.

10 Edwardian Sofa with Ticking, $14,500 at Branca.

11 ‘80s Blue Velvet Sofa by Goodman Charlton, $4,200 at 1st Dibs

12 Valerie Blue Velvet Settee by DB Fine, $1,600 at Burke Decor

13 Pierre Blue Velvet Sofa, $1,299 at Z Gallerie.

14 Turquoise Sofa 3031 by Joseph Frank, 55,00SEK at Svenskttenn.

15 Caribbean Blue Quincy Loveseat, $349.99 at World Market.  

16 Button Tufted Velvet Settee by Skyline, $400 at Target

17 Piazza Blue Velvet Modern Sofa, $1,399 at CB2

18 Butterfield Navy Velvet Sofa, $4,245 at Jonathan Adler

19 Daisy Sky Blue Velvet Sofa by Kristin Drohan, $4,199 at One Kings Lane. 

20 Kendall Velvet Sofa, $699.99 at World Market.

21 Curvy Blue Velvet Jazz Sofa, $699 at Funky Sofa.

22 Up Blue Velvet Loveseat by Artless, $2,754 at AllModern.

23 Dekalb Lagoon Blue Velvet Sofa, $1,249 at West Elm.  

24 Margot Blue Velvet Sofa by Gus Modern,  $2,199 at YLiving.

25 Studio Sofa with Rosewood Veneer by Thomas Hucker.

26 Francis Navy Blue Velvet Tufted Chaise, $509 at One Kings Lane.  

27 Butterfield Sofa, $4,245 at Jonathan Adler

28 Safavieh Sarah Tufted Settee, $560 at Target

29 Desi-Lu’s Camel Back Sofa, $699 at Funky Sofa.

30 Club 3-Seater Teal Sofa, $1,599 at CB2

31 Bella Turquoise Velvet Sofa by BD Fine, $2,800 at Burke Decor.  

32 Cullen Aqua Velvet Sofa, $2,699 at Crate & Barrel

33 Tufted Navy Velvet Sofa by Decenni Tobias, $2,700 at Amazon.

34 Bloor Blue Velvet Sofa by Gus Modern, $1,999 at Lumens.

35 Finn Ink Blue Velvet Loveseat, $999 at West Elm

36 Rochester Sofa, starting at $949 at West Elm

37 Topanga Teal Velvet Sofa, $3,950 at Jonathan Adler.

38 Montgomery Down-Filled Blue Velvet Sofa, $1,699 at West Elm

39 South Cone Marionne Blue Velvet Sofa, $1,189.99 at Hayneedle

40 Spencer Light Blue Velvet Sofa, $2,339 at Ballard Designs.

41 Larkin Blue Velvet Sofa, $2,239 at Ballard Designs

42 Divine Blue Velvet Sectional Sofa by Haute House, $9,299 at Horchow

43 Barrymore Tufted Chesterfield Sofa, $2,520 at Mitchell Gold+Bob Williams.

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Filed under . REGULAR FEATURES, Get The Look