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Design Diary: Architect Bill Boehm’s Kitchen

Here is a preview of a story that will be featured in this weekend’s “Kitchen & Bath” issue of Boston Globe Magazine, about the renovation of architect Bill Boehm’s own kitchen in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Architect Bill Boehm and his wife, artist Danielle Sauvé, used orange and yellow cabinetry to make their small kitchen pop. They knew when they purchased the 1,600-square-foot condo in a Cambridgeport multi-family home built in 1840 that the kitchen would need a major overhaul. Undeterred, Boehm made everything fit in the eight-foot-by-13-foot space, then colored it boldly.

bill-boehm-architecture-kitchen

Photo by Bob O’Connor

Behind the yellow door of the pantry (that’s Boehm’s 13-year old son, Theo; they also have a 10-year old), Boehm replaced sliders with a single glass door to the patio, so he could extend the counter, above which he added a pair of large windows. He used an oversize enamel sink (bigger than they had planned for) that he spotted on the curb four blocks away in the midst of the renovation. The counters are Silestone. The backsplash wall is done in soft yellow stacked horizontal tile. He skipped overhead cabinets, which take up a lot of space, in favor of stainless steel shelves from a restaurant supply company.

Boehm worked with Jamaica Plain-based contractor Carr Carpentry and Restoration on the project, which in addition to the kitchen itself, entailed to removing the wall that separated the kitchen and dining room. They were able to salvage the oak floor by simply refinishing it. They exposed the original beams, which had been hiding under old board and plaster, and added extras for necessary reinforcement. “The floor above was bouncy,” says Boehm.

The radiator was pushed aside to make room for the bay window and window seat, that looks out to the garden that Sauvé spends a lot of time tending. Above the radiator hangs objects from his travels, including a toy airplane made by Malawi children from when Boehm lived there as a peace corps volunteer, sandals his grandfather brought back from the Philippines 100 years ago, a mask from Mexico, and a cow skull Boehm found in Colorado.

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Photo by Bob O’Connor

For the room’s palette, the couple were inspired by a photo of a yellow and orange kitchen with a mod sensibility. Boehm favors punchy colors in architecture. This goes for residential projects (like my friend Becky & Tom’s Back Bay home that Bohem designed) as well as public projects, like an after school center in Roxbury, in which he differentiated age-group clusters by colors—Caribbean teal, lime green, and juicy orange. For a community center in Mattapan he is working on, he’s using teal, orange, and ochre, set off against a warm gray linoleum floor and walnut-toned wood.

For the kitchen in his own home, Boehm and Sauvé chose Benjamin Moore “Orange Burst” for the base cabinetry and Benjamin Moore “Sun Valley” for the pantry cabinets. When he ordered panel samples for the cabinets from Boston Building Resources in Roxbury Crossing, Boehm says, “they were like, ‘Are you sure these are the colors you want?’ ” For the floor he went with linoleum in a saturated blue tone. It’s a material he uses often, since it’s available in many colors and patterns. Plus, it’s resilient, affordable, and has an eco-friendly, non-chemical makeup.

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Photo by Bob O’Connor

See the full story online here or pick up the Boston Globe this Sunday.

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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

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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.

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