Scheming: Fresh Dining Room Redo by Tracy Parkinson

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.

Traditional head chairs disappear on either end while midnight blue, modern Windsor chairs from Serena & Lily  (most versatile dining chair ever from a top StyleCarrot partner), help make the room feel young and fun. Finally, an indoor/outdoor rug from Annie Selke alleviates worry about spills.

Dining Room Makeover With Floating Shelves

Photo by Tamara Flanagan | Styled by Water + Main

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.

Dining Room Makeover With Farm Table And Floating Shelves

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Scheming: Cortney Bishop Does a Tropical Sitting Room on Sullivan’s Island

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.

Cortney Bishop Tropical Decor Palm Leaf Wallpaper Sitting Room

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.

Cortney Bishop Tropical Sitting Room Design1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

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Scheming: Chinoiserie-Meets-Art Nouveau Dining Room by Arazi Levine

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.

Arazi Levine Dining Room WIth Chinoiserie Artwork

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.

Arazi Levine Dining Room Makeover

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Scheming: Not Too Feminine Floral Bedroom by Thiara Borges

I used to chat with Thiara Borges when she worked for designer Kate Maloney. Borges has since gone out on her own under the name Studio Borges Interior Design and her work is beautiful. I love how this bedroom combines femininity, sumptuous fabrics, natural materials, unexpected color pops, and a vintage element all in one cohesive scheme.

Last summer, I wrote about this bedroom in Boston Globe Magazine.  Borges designed the bedroom for a woman in the South End of Boston whose style she describes as “cool and eclectic; modern and traditional.” It was the last room in the condo they tackled, and while the client wanted to retain her personal vibe, she also wanted the room to feel calm and soothing.

Borges achieved her goal by choosing wallpaper in a softly-colored, painterly botanical, Designers Guild Delft Flower Grande Tuberose, then layering in texture, color, and shine.

“I tend to emulate a client’s personal style by echoing accessories they might wear; she always has a cool piece of jewelry on,” Borges says. “The bed, the lampshade, and the pillows are an extension of her polished, but cool, eclectic look.”

Bedroom With Floral Wallpaper And Blue Velvet BedPhoto by Michael J. Lee 

You can pull together a bedroom scheme that balances femininity, glamour, and a global sensibility with these carefully curated furnishings, accessories and artwork that I scoped out on StyleCarrot partner sites:

Bedroom Scheme With Blue Velvet Bed And Floral Wallpaper

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Kelly Wearstler teaches interior design >

Scheming: Dining Room Drama with Kelly Wearstler’s Graffito Wallpaper

With vaccine life on the horizon, I’m thinking that dining rooms might need sprucing up. Throw the kids and their laptops back to their bedrooms and classrooms, and reclaim your entertaining space. I’m sure you practiced plenty of recipes during lockdown. It’s almost time to put them to use for friends.

I love this dining room for its fearlessness. I’ve seen other dining rooms with Kelly Wearstler Graffito wallpaper and adore them. This one by designer Martha O’Hara takes it to another level by pairing an equally busy, but geometric rather than organic, pattern on the floor. Then, O’Hara prettifies it with a floral chandelier and goes for color with green velvet head chairs.

Although Martha O’Hara Interiors is based in Minneapolis, she and her colleague Emily Anderson designed this room for O’Hara’s son in Norwell, Massachusetts. I wrote about it for the Boston Globe Magazine.

Kelly Wearstler's Graffito Wallpaper

Photo by Joyelle West 

If you’re daring, go for a patterned dining room. It’s an easy look to pull off with the pieces I sourced for you from StyleCarrot partners, based on O’Hara’s design.

Kelly Wearstler's Graffito Wallpaper

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