When Ariel Roth’s clients,a young family of five in a suburb of Boston, asked her to dress down their formal dining room, she went right for the wallpaper.
“They wanted the rooms in their early 1900s Colonial to be fun and comfortable,” says Roth, an interior designer with Helios Design Group in the Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. They enthusiastically embraced her suggestion to cover all four walls of the formal dining room with whimsical wallpaper. “We used the word ‘happy’ a lot,” the Boston designer says.
The wallcovering she chose? Flat Vernacular Swallowtail, an organic, stone-like pattern in a mix of sweet and earthy colors. She pulled out the pink with simple drapes, and grounded the room by painting the millwork in Benjamin Moore Old Navy.
Photo by Michael J. Lee
I wrote about this space last year in the Boston Globe Magazine, a year ago. Here, I pulled similar pieces so you can pull the look together on your own. (Or call the designer, I’m sure she’d love to hear from you!)
Serena & Lily is one of my favorite design partners. So, when I needed to kickstart my bedroom makeover, Serena & Lily was an obvious source. New Englanders embrace the coastal Cali look, Serena & Lily even opened a shop in Chestnut Hill, just outside Boston, a couple of years ago.
I love how Serena & Lily’s pieces blend seamlessly with the decor in our more traditional Back Bay condo as well as in our more contemporary Cape Cod house. As you’ll see below in the photographs, it also works well in a midcentury modern setting.
About a year-and-a-half ago, I ordered a green Granada quilt for our preliminary Boston bedroom makeover. I suppose it was more of a refresh at that point. As soon as I spread the quilt on the bed, the room felt brighter and more vibrant. This was exactly the effect I was going for with the bedroom makeover, given our bedroom is located in the basement and lacks abundant natural sunlight.
As much as I love all-white simplicity, the bedroom really benefited from the rich color, rhythmic pattern, and jaunty details of the quilt. The overscale, Indian-inspired botanical pattern is a nice juxtaposition to the geometric wallpaper on the wall behind the bed. The emerald green pops against the upholstered white headboard and plays off the pale green walls. Finally, the quilting, embroidered details, and tassels are fun touches.
The Granada quilt is made from cotton and linen. There’s enough linen that there’s a textural quality to the fabric, but enough cotton to give it some weight and ensure it doesn’t feel scratchy. It’s gone through the washer and dryer a number of times and looks great. It will hold its own through another makeover.
I brought the quilt out to Cape Cod this summer to dress up the sofa bed in my yoga studio / workspace. I may even cozy up with it on our outdoor patio in the evening. I’ll be posting these variations in my Instagram stories soon.
In the meantime, I thought I’d experiment with the Granada quilt by doing an impromptu bedroom makeover in a midcentury modern home in the Cape Cod National Seashore. I thought, if this quilt can transform an urban bedroom and fit perfectly into a contemporary space, how would it work in a midcentury one? Turns out, really well!
Instant midcentury modern bedroom makeover compliments of the Serena & Lily Granada quilt
A family member kindly let do a bedroom makeover in her midcentury modern home. The house was designed by architect Charlie Zehnder in the 1960s. Have a look at this post on my @StyleCarrot Instagram feed to see the clerestory window and beams above the bed. The furniture has a southwestern flavor that works well with the botanical print.
I haven’t read this book, have you? I picked it up off the homeowner’s stack of books because the cover looks perfect against the quilt. Always judge a book by its cover. A bed too. Turkey feather found in the wild.
The pattern is printed on both sides of the cotton/linen quilt which has a clean, knife edge. The pairs of triangles in taupe embroidery thread add to the hand-crafted feel, as do the trio of tassels at each of the four corners. Not only do these details elevate the look, they add texture, and help the palette meld with natural decor elements elsewhere in a room.
The original wide-plank floor has so much character. I love how the edges of the old, tattered book look against it. The embroidery and tassels accentuate the effect.
Meet Bella, a new rescue puss. She’s fluffy, sweet, and a little bit shy. She looks grumpy here, but she is even tempered. The shoot had to pause for a few minutes because Ms. Bella takes her meals bedside.
Photos by Marni Elyse Katz/StyleCarrot
S C H E M I N G
Create a chic, neutral bedroom makeover with 16 pieces from Serena & Lily.
Our bedroom in Boston has a feature wall with white wallpaper that has a silvery geometric pattern , pale green walls that read as light and bright, neutral wool carpet with pattern and texture, and a glossy white lacquer dresser with polished chrome studs. (You can see a photo of the dresser in my bedroom here.) Yes, it’s about time for a bedroom makeover.
I’d love to do a full bedroom makeover around the Granada quilt. I devised a neutral bedroom makeover scheme using 16 Serena & Lily pieces, including a rattan-wrapped dresser that I adore. What do you think?
Blue and white palettes and New England interiors are inexorably entwined. Designer Tracy Parkinson of Nest + Company does a fresh interpretation of Massachusetts coastal in this Abington dining room that I wrote about for Boston Globe Magazine.
Parkinson worked with architect Caitlin Struble of Winslow Design to breathe life into this corner of the house which started out as a dark sitting room that nobody used. They took down the wall between this space and the kitchen to let in light, then set it up as a dining room painted Farrow & Ball Shaded White, a tone that’s not too warm, not too cool.
Peter Fasano Vriksa grasscloth wallpaper from Studio 534 at the Boston Design Center lines the back wall as a light and airy focal point. “Both the husband and wife instantly reacted to this paper and had to have it,” Parkinson remembers.
To meet their storage needs, Parkinson designed built-ins for the lower half of the back wall, incorporating refrigerated beverage drawers and a wine fridge. Custom quarter-sawn oak shelves with a cerused finish offer woodsy warmth that ties to the extension table.
You can get a similar look in your own home without the pricey built-ins and custom shelves. Double buffets do the trick and there are ready made floating shelves in a variety of finishes – just be sure you anchor them securely. Check out the products I sourced, along with a couple straight out of Parkinson’s design.
I love writing about homes all over New England, but sometimes it’s fun to learn about designs in other parts of the country. I rarely have the chance to write about projects in the south. I profiled this fun and sexy cocktail den on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, for Ocean Home.
Cortney Bishop of Cortney Bishop Design designed this vacation home. She notes that the clients tend toward more masculine style, but for this space she went for drama. Or rather, DRAMA.
Bishop’s choice of pink and green palm leaves on a moody background offer just the right amount of flirtatiousness. The palm wallpaper also complements the rattan lounge chairs. A tufted ottoman adds in softness while the minimalist brass pendant incorporates in an industrial element that works with the chimney. Plus it spans the circular space.
Photo by Katie Charlotte Photography
I perused StyleCarrot partner sites to source pieces for your own tropical cocktail den. Get that moody-meets-the-beach vibe now.
One of the loveliest designers in Boston, Dana Arazi of Arazi Levine (she’s actually an architectural designer trained in Tel Aviv), re-imagined this historic 1,200-square-foot condo in Back Bay for a young couple. I’ll talk about the dining room in this post, but you can read about the rest of the project (and look at the photographs) at Boston Home Magazine.
Photo by Joyelle West
Both Arazi and the couple adored the original woodwork of the grand dining/living space which overlooks the Charles River. The other driving force was the decision to create a design with art deco flavor which Arazi felt merged the couple’s disparate tastes well. “I said to them, ‘What if we go a bit art deco?'” Arazi recalls, noting that the look offers a clean geometry for the husband, who likes modern, and rich materials for the wife, who favors vintage. They loved the idea
To keep the shelves from becoming a too busy backdrop, Arazi found Chinoiserie triptych panels that fit within the vertical openings of the woodwork perfectly (once she removed some shelves). She looked at a million options, but felt that the hand-painted scene was in sync with the Esplanade landscape—specifically its stone bridges and cherry trees—and brought the view inside. She also loved the blue tone with the rich wood and knew the romantic vibe would resonate with the wife.
The branch chandelier and CB2 glass dining table (so well-priced at $399) nods to the husband’s more modern leanings. “They balance the room so not everything looks old,” Arazi says. As for the tables absolutely spare lines she says, the designer points out that the table basically disappears, letting the art and wood be the focus. The CB2 brass and leather dining chairs (the wife loves brass) are comfortable and have an art deco silhouette.
The main ingredients Arazi used in this dining room are available retail (and happen to be StyleCarrot partners). Even if you don’t have 100+year old woodwork, or any built-ins at all, you can make this design work in your home. I lined this scheme with freestanding bookshelves for a look as close to the Back Bay dining room as possible, but you could do a grasscloth wallpaper or a textural wood buffet to anchor the wall and artwork.