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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Shop Serena & Lily for chic neutral decor >

Scheming: Cozy Sitting Room With Shearling Lounge Chairs By Holly Gagne

Interior designer Holly Gagne is one of the loveliest designers I know, her style is fresh, natural but still sophisticated, and her taste is impeccable.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Holly a few times now, from our Covid Zoom with tips and tricks to bring harmony into your home (it’s recorded, you should check it out), to a kitchen with a supersized island in Boston Globe Magazine, to this Gloucester home with zellige tiles, a sliding glass bar door, and Scandi style wood stove; the story just dropped in the Winter issue of Boston Home magazine.

Sitting Room With Shearling Lounge Chairs And BookshelvesPhoto by Jared Kuzia

Holly channeled hygge -meets-tailored in this sitting room just off the open living room. While there’s no wall between the two spaces, it feels private. The owners use it to read, drink morning coffee, and entertain with cocktails.

Faux shearling and iron lounge chairs nestle around a rattan coffee table that speaks to the coastal locale. Holly lined to backs of the custom built-ins with grasscloth for additional texture. “It’s all about being cozy,” Gagne says. The abstract painting is by local artist Nicole Sayour Botto.

Get the look of this cozy winter chic library designed by Holly Gagne with similarly styled furnishings,  plus the faux shearling and iron lounge chairsSitting Room Decor Shearling Lounge Chairs Bookshelves

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Hand-picked wines delivered straight to your doorstep >

Designer Spotlight: Lauren Nelson

I don’t usually do odes to one designer, but the other night at dinner with David Harris of ducduc, Lauren from The Rug Company, and Boston interior designer Annsley McAleer, I met Lauren Nelson, a stylist/interior designer who has newly relocated here from California. She is so nice and talented too, so in the interest in welcoming her to our city, I thought it would be nice to showcase her work. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of her.

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Photos:  Marnie Rose Agency

Design Diary: Frank Roop’s Studio

Last year, interior designer Frank Roop purchased a 725-square-foot condo on Newbury Street to serve as his studio and office. I popped in last spring to go over the details on the gorgeous Nantucket house that I wrote about for the Boston Globe Magazine (and this blog). While I was there, I also got the lowdown on how he transformed it into a perfect workspace; one that showcases his signature style without overwhelming the designs he puts forth for his clients. I wrote it up as a Q&A for Stuff Magazine called “Interior designer Frank Roop’s functional and fashionable studio”. And, I took extra notes and pictures to share here.

“I definitely went all out.  My studio is simple and clean, with notes of exotica, pops of color, and a lot of texture. It communicates my aesthetic, but is neutral enough so that the design doesn’t overshadow my presentations to clients.”

The space originally housed three separate offices. Roop kept a plan with three distinct spaces, but opened up the wall between two of them,  adding large custom metal-and-glass doors. That’s where his desk and computer are. He presents design concepts and swatch boards in the adjoining room with the fireplace. The third room is a work area for making models, with doors he can shut if it gets messy.


Roop’s desk is vintage Danish from a dealer in Paris. The wall behind the desk is a high-gloss lacquer with “a million coats of paint” that were sanded between coats and then sprayed with a high-gloss finish. Roop adds, “It took about a week to do that one wall.” The stripey painting is by local artist David Moore, represented by the Kidder Smith Gallery.
Roop-office-detailsLeft: Roop often uses vintage Curtis Jere wall sculptures. An array of sea anemones hang behind his desk. (He used similar sculptures above the desk in the Nantucket family room.)

Right: Detail of the overhead light fixture that he designed. About it Roop says, “It is essentially a light box made of silk with top-stitched suede tape.”

roop-bookshelfLeft: These open rectangular bookshelves hang on the wall to the left of  Roop’s desk. He used similar shelves in his home too.

Right: Roop favors fancy minerals as objets d’art. The hunks here are actually slag glass. (I scoured ebay for a hunk (of glass) of my own as soon as I got back to my computer.)


Right: The main room adjoins Roop’s office. The walls are covered with a superfine hemp cloth in a neutral color, which is important because he displays the design boards on the ledges here. The wall behind the fireplace is a micro-mosaic tile in a polished white Carrara marble that’s sort of sparkly. The Plexiglass globe chandelier is from an antique dealer in San Francisco.

Top right: A mesmerizing slab of rock with clear crystal formations, from China, sits on the mantle. Bottom right: Another painting by David Moore hangs above a decorative screen with nail head detailing.


Left: “My super-duper high-end treasure is this ’60s-era George Nakashima coffee table.”

Right: Roop designs most of the upholstered pieces in his projects. This chair is one of his early prototypes. He also designed the star side table with a shimmery veneer that’s made from paua shell imported from Hawaii. When the Nantucket client saw it, she insisted on having one too. The star table in Nantucket has more of a bluish tinge.

design displayThe presentation ledges. These boards are for an over-the-top condo in Miami. I got a sneak peek of the photos, but sorry, can’t share them yet! They’ll be published in a national glossy soon.


Details from the inspiration boards. Shiny, velvety, nubby, geometric, metallic. Delicious. The colors and textures are pure Roop, but revved up to stand out in South Beach.


“I love light fixtures – I think of them as sculpture.”


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