Tag Archives: lekker

Design Diary: Karen Swanson Masters Small House Living

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.”

karen-swanson-DR-LR-wall-mural

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.

karen-swanson-dining-room-mural

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.

karen-swanson-kitchen-pantry

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.

karen-swanson-kitchen-fridge

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.

karen-swanson-kitchen-backsplash-trough

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.

karen-swanson-kitchen-backsplash-2

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.

karen-swanson-kitchen-oven-sink

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.

karen-swanson-kitchen-shelf

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.

karen-swanson-orla-kiely-wallpaper

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.

karen-swanson-bathroom-vanity

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.

karen-swanson-master-bedroom

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.

karen-swanson-bathroom-with-laundry

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.

karen-swanson-exterior-red-door

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 >

Leave a Comment

Filed under . REGULAR FEATURES

Get the Look: 60 Modern Grey Sofas

Monage: 54 Living rooms with Gray Sofas is by far the most popular post on this blog, with twice the number of page views as the second most popular, Montage: 57 Plywood Rooms. Although I’ve recently updated the links for its companion post—Get the Look: 22 Modern Grey Sofas—it’s been over two years since I originally created it, so I figured another one was in order.

We have a grey sofa in the family room, and although it may not be as fashion forward as I’d like, it’s got clean lines, durable fabric, and big comfy cushions. It’s so long all four of us can watch television on it. We actually kind of built the room around it, insisting to our designer that the door to the study be extra narrow. (He wasn’t happy but obliged.)

Since everyone still seems to want to buy a grey sofa, here are 60 modern grey sofas you can shop for at 27 different stores, from minimalist modern styles to more classic tufted chesterfield sofas, with a few gray sleeper sofas thrown in. Price points vary, with ten styles under $1000 and many falling in the mid-range.

shop-grey-sofas-1

1 Carmichael Loft Sofa by Gus*Modern, $1,999 at 2Modern.

2 Jacksonville Convertible Sofa II by Gold Sparrow, $360.99 at AllModern.

3 Sterling Sofa by BD Fine, $1,985 at Burke Decor

4 Boyd Sofa by Pinch, $5,110 at The Future Perfect. 

5 Avec Tweed Sofa, $1,399 at CB2.  

6 El Rey Sofa by Haute House, $4,399 at Horchow

shop-grey-sofas-2

7 Livingston Sofa, $1,299 at West Elm

8 Morgan Sofa by Bensen, $3,811 at Lekker. 

9 Folding Sleeper Loveseat, $479 at Urban Outfitters.

10 Bryson Sofa by Klausner, $928.37 at PureHome

11 Bram Grey Leather Sofa, $3,799 at Room & Board

12 Bradley Loveseat by International Design, $919.99 at Wayfair.

13 Capri Convertible Sofa by Lifestyle Solutions, $599.99 at Bluefly. 

shop-grey-sofas-3

14 Alicia Charcoal Velvet Sofa, $2,792 at Mitchell Gold+Bob Williams. 

15 City Gym Sofa  in Faribault Wool Blankets, $6,100 at Matter.  

16 Vera Sofa, $2,898 at Lillian August.

17 Madison Sofa by Moe’s Home Collection, $1,099.99 at AllModern

18 Larkin Sofa, $2059 at Ballard Designs. 

19 Lampert Sofa, $3,895 at Jonathan Adler

shop-grey-sofas-4

20 Rue Apartment Sofa, $999 at CB2. 

21 Finn Sofa, $899 at West Elm

22 Spruce Street Sofa, $2,450 at Serena & Lily.  

23 Swept Sofa by BluDot, $1,899 at YLiving

24 Spencer Sofa, $2,234 at Ballard Designs. 

25 Ploum Sofa by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec at Ligne Roset.

shop-grey-sofas-5

26 Patrick European Velvet Button-Tufted Sofa, $1,839.99 at Overstock.

27 Sophia Sofa by Moss Studio, $3,198 at PureHome

28 Anderson Sofa, $769 at Urban Outfitters.

29 Hunter Lounge, $1,912 at Mitchell Gold+Bob Williams.

30 Kensington Sofa, $3,795 at Jonathan Adler

31 Arden Sofa, $2,800 at Jonathan Adler.

shop-grey-sofas-6

32 Chester Tufted Sofa, $1,199 at West Elm

33 South Beach Sofa, $1,877.99 at Overstock.

34 Foliage Sofa by Patricia Urquiola for Kartell, $3,850 at YLiving

35 Archive Sofa by Gus*Modern, $2,413.95 at Burke Decor

36 Velvet Settee Loveseat I by Skyline Furniture, $556.99 at Wayfair.

37 Belem Sofa by Didier Gomez at Ligne Roset.

38 Parlour Sofa, $1,699 at CB2

shop-grey-sofas-7

39 Grey Leather Tufted Chesterfield Renaissance Sofa, $3,359.99 at Wayfair.

40 Silvertone Sofa, $2,499 at Horchow

41 Limbo Sofa by Pianca $3,596 at YLiving

42 Halsten Sofa, $3,850 at Serena & Lily.   

43 Mikayla Granite Grey Stone Wash Linen Sofa,$1,288.79 at Overstock.

44 Carol Grey Velvet Sofa by BD Fine, $1,770 at Burke Decor

shop-grey-sofas-8

45 Ciudad Sofa, $1,199 at CB2.  

46 Nolee Folding Sofa Bed, $699.99 at World Market

47 Twilight Sleeper Sofa by Flemming Busk for Softline, $2,100 at DWR.

48 Pennie Sofa by Bethan Gray, $899 at Crate & Barrel.

49 Wireframe Sofa by Sam Hecht for Herman Miller, $5,149 at YLiving.

50 Miramar Slipcovered Sofa, $3,750 at Serena & Lily

shop-grey-sofas-9

51 Chateau d’Ax Positano Leather Sofa, $4,200 at Bloomingdale’s. 

52 Bonnie Studio Sofa by BluDot, $1,399 at 2Modern

53 Brooklyn Grey Suede Nailhead Sofa, $2,099 at Pottery Barn

54 Pacific Heights Sofa by Zuo, $2,490 at Bluefly. 

55 Oslo Sofa by Muuto, $4,195 at YLiving.  

56 Playground Daybed by Eilersen, $2,499 at YLiving

57 Hanover Sofa, $3,550 at Serena & Lily

shop-grey-sofas-10

58 Nyle Sofa, $899.95 at Pier 1

59 Windsor Sofa by Irving Place, $3,995 at ABC Carpet & Home.

60 Harbord Sofa by Gus*Modern $1,999 at YLiving

•           •            •

Leave a Comment

Filed under . REGULAR FEATURES, Get The Look

Get the Look: 28 Modern Bird Houses and Bird Feeders

I’m not exactly Ms. Outdoorsy Birdwatcher Woman, and mostly I find their incessant early morning tweeting an annoyance,, but I do like the idea of feeding the little guys (must be the Jewish mom in me). I have a copper bird feeder I bought for my husband years ago when we had a house with a little roof deck and yard outside D.C., but we moved to Boston before we had the chance to use it. I hang it on a severed tree branch in our Truro yard every summer. If I fill it with chunky seeds, we get a serious influx of  crows, who then raid my sad little garden. (Who knew crows like cucumber?) Squirrels like to raid the feeder too. I’ve since switched over to a feeder that dispenses only skinny seeds, in hopes of attracting more pleasant feathered friends. Here’s a roundup of modern bird houses and bird feeders for your birding pleasure.

 

Modern Bird Houses And Bird Feeders Modern Bird Houses And Bird Feeders Modern Bird Houses And Bird Feeders

S H O P P I N G

1 Eva Solo Mini Bird Feeder, $40/pair at LBC Modern.

2 Goldenrod Yellow Mobile Bird Feeder, $195 at J. Schatz.

3 Loll Design Arbor Bird House, $94 at Lumens.

4 Bodega Bird Chalet, $49.95 at Crate & Barrel.

5 Lantern Bird House, $128 at Jonathan Adler.

6 Loll Design Cube Bird House, $79 at Lumens.

7 Light Aqua Egg Bird Feeder, $165 at J. Schatz.

8 Nathan Fried-Lipski Bird House, $195 at Society of Arts & Crafts.

9  Blomus Nido Bird Feeder by Susanne Augenstein, $81.89 at Lumens.

10 L & M Studio Tangerine Porcelain Bird House, $100 at Etsy.

11  Umbra Bird Cafe, $29.99 at All Modern.

12 Ceramic Bird Den, $14.95 at Crate & Barrel.

13 Driftwood Bird House, $58 at Anthropologie.

14 Sumac Red Nut Bird House, $175 at J. Schatz.

15 Flight by PineBush Bird Feeder, $59.95 at Wild Beaks

16 Skagerak Bird Feeder, $105 at All Modern.

17 Menu  Barcelona Bird Feeder, $209 at Finnish Design Shop.

18 Audubon Going Green Bluebird House, $38.28 at All Modern.

19 Blomus Borea Bird Feeder, $95.39 at Lumens.

20 Eva Solo Standing Bird Table, $125 at Lumens.

21 Droog Birdhouse by Marcel Wanders, $110 at Lumens.

22 Pigeon Toe Ceramics Disc Bird Feeder. 

23 C. Popp Workshop Birdhouse.

24 Joe Papendick Charm Modern Bird Feeder, $84 at Etsy

25 Pavilion Copper Birdfeeder, $168 at Terrain.

26 Ceramic Cylinder Bird House, $34.95 at Terrain.

27 Tube Bird House, $28 at Terrain.

28 Perch! by Amy Adams Bird Feeder, $98 at Branch.

•            •            •

Shop AHA Life for modern gifts >

Aha Life Edgy Gifts Decor Style

Leave a Comment

Filed under . REGULAR FEATURES, Get The Look

Design Diary: Stephanie Sabbe’s (Big) Small Style

I’ve been acquainted with Boston interior designer Stephanie Sabbe for a while, but just recently got the chance to formally collaborate with her. (I did run into her outside my apartment one day—we recognized each other from our blogs!)  I wrote  “Made To Measure” about one of her projects, a 1,000-square-foot South End condo, in the newest issue of Boston Home magazine. Doesn’t she look great? Can you believe she was really, really pregnant in this photo? Stephanie had her baby last week. Congrats!

700 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA; Stephanie Sabbe Interiors

Stephanie Sabbe

Doctors Christine Liang and Andrew Bond, who purchased a1,000-square-foot South End condo in the summer of 2011 after considering a larger house in Jamaica Plain, knew that in order to make their urban choice work, they’d need to be efficient. That they’d also be frugal was a given. Interior designer Stephanie Sabbe, who spent seven years designing commercial office space, immediately understood the couple’s mindset. Sabbe points out, “Corporations pay rent by the square-foot, so efficient space planning is key. Similarly, city apartments are too expensive for people to not be utilizing every square foot to its maximum potential.” Working with a few pieces they already owned, including the living room sofa, Sabbe balanced thrifty buys and cost-saving, crafty solutions with custom designs and a few well-placed splurges to create a space with an effective floor plan and a look that’s anything but big box.

700 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA; Stephanie Sabbe Interiors

The main challenge was to create a formal dining area without overwhelming the space. After “a lot of studying with masking tape on the floor,” says Sabbe, they realized they’d need a dining table that was narrower than standard ones, but not as skinny (or high) as a console. Striking out on the retail front, Sabbe convinced the clients to spend a little more for a custom piece. Sabbe commissioned Jim Sears to weld a metal base and Cambridge-based Harvard Glass to cut a 30-inch wide by six-foot long glass top.

The couple requested a reclaimed barn wood table, but Sabbe convinced them that glass was the smarter choice, being less of a “visual space eater.” Bond says, “She was firm about the table, and totally right. We love its airiness.” Sabbe assembled an eclectic mix of seating options around the piece that all but disappear when not in use. A pair of chairs from IKEA stand at either end, while two ottomans, also from IKEA, and a handmade bench by Providence-based Darn Good Barn Wood, spotted at the SoWa Open Market, tuck under the long ends of the table. The low profiles keep the line of vision towards the city view free and clear.

In the kitchen,  Sabbe recommended just a few enhancements. She used magnetic blackboard paint on the side wall so things could be tacked up there rather than the fridge, which faces the main space. They added a pair of  Vintage Farmhouse Caged Pendants by  Junkyard Lighting, doing the work themselves. Also, a new industrial style faucet scored on Overstock.com. At the kitchen counter are machinist stools, which swivel down from bar to table height, and allow two more people to squeeze in when needed. The copper wall clock is from Pier 1.

Stephanie Sabbe Boston Interior Designer

Sabbe created semi-custom hybrid slipcovers for the IKEA armchairs in the dining area by attaching the long skirt from the company’s HENRIKSDAL slipcovers to its NILS seat covers. Excess fabric became lumbar pillows for each chair. The ottomans are SOLSTA PÄLLBO footstools (only $15!), with leg extensions added on, and slipcovered with IKEA curtain panels.

Stephanie Sabbe Boston Interior Designer

 

You’ll recognize the West Elm chevron rug, a steal on sale that Sabbe snapped up knowing the homeowners would be psyched, along with some throw pillows. They already owned the sofa, which works just fine. They added the trio of ceiling lights from Barn Light Electric, which cast pretty shadows on the ceiling. The concrete style Elements coffee table is  from CB2 and the table lamp is from local design shop Lekker.

700 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA; Stephanie Sabbe Interiors

Bond spent a month priming and painting a vintage Dansk credenza in their garage parking spot. “The BMW owners on either side of me were definitely nervous when they saw the chartreuse paint,” he jokes. The couple, who are huge Craigslist fans, found the piece on the site for just forty bucks. The floor lamp is from IKEA, the black leather armchair they already owned, the artwork around the TV is mainly from the SoWa Open Market, and the used books are from the Brattle Book Shop in Cambridge.

Stephanie Sabbe Boston Interior Designer

Sabbe is the first to admit that she used a number of mass-market retail pieces here, but her expertise lies in her ability to pair them with other budget-friendly finds to create a space that hums with personality. “We wanted a collected look,” she explains, “so it was important to set the tone right away, in the foyer.” Luckily, the grass cloth wall covering was already there, costing the clients nothing but supplying plenty of hearty texture. In need of a super skinny table to fit the narrow space, the homeowners tapped Darn Good Barn Wood for a reclaimed wood table. Above, Sabbe hung another piece of Americana, an eagle-topped convex mirror in order to break up the linearity of the hallway. A framed painting, a sketch from an antique shop, and the “I Love This Town” print from Etsy complete the tableau.

700 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA; Stephanie Sabbe Interiors

The couple purchased a new bed, a floor model from Crate & Barrel in Cambridge, but—and Sabbe agreed—saw no need to throw out a perfectly good, if not dull, plain white duvet. Sabbe asked a seamstress jazz it up with a solid chartreuse border, and also had her make matching drapes. Custom coordinating Schumacher pillows add extra polish. The sconces, which the homeowners installed themselves, are by Visual Comfort.

The black and white photos above the bed, which make a punchy, graphic statement and pick up on the gray tones in the striped West Elm bedding, are photos that Liang and Bond took on their travels. Sabbe used Photoshop to make them look like Polaroids, then spent $30 at Kinkos to have them printed and laminated. She used wooden trouser hangers to hang them on the wall. Crafty girl!

Photos 1, 2, 5, 6, 7  by Bob O’Connor

 carrot-currency-graphic

Does someone in your house often misplace the remotes? Think about getting extra replacement remote controls to have hand, just in case. Store them nearby in the credenza or bookshelf, with the DVD player and such.

2 Comments

Filed under . REGULAR FEATURES, Design Diary

Shopping Trip: Lekker

Yesterday I headed over to Boston’s South End to meet Seema Krish at her studio (and then The Buttery for a carrot cupcake—the best, best, best carrot cupcakes). Then I popped an extra quarter into the meter (yeah, I drove; lame) and ducked into  Lekker, one of Boston’s best design shops. Lines include David Trubridge, Eleanor Pritchard, Marie’s Corner, Blomus, Menu, Oak Pure, John Derian Furniture, Mud Australia, MEPRA, and tons more. I had a nice chat with Natalie, who owns the shop, and took plenty of photos. I will certainly post a peek at what’s Seema’s been up to (her newest collection debuts in April), but in the meantime, here’s what’s in store at Lekker.


IMG_5087

IMG_5099

IMG_5045

IMG_5071

IMG_5039

IMG_5051

IMG_5085

Lekker Home Boston Design Boutique

Lekker Home Boston Design Boutique

IMG_5053

IMG_5058

IMG_5112

IMG_5060

IMG_5065

IMG_5067

IMG_5101

Lekker Home Boston Design Boutique

IMG_5071

IMG_5073

IMG_5075

IMG_5079

IMG_5089

Lekker Home Boston Design BoutiqueLekker Home Boston Design Boutique IMG_5093

IMG_5107

IMG_5109

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under . REGULAR FEATURES, Shopping Trip