Boston area interior designer Meredith Rodday, who you may know from her blog View From My Heels, transformed this formal living room into a light and airy space. I wrote about it here, in a recent issue of Boston Globe Magazine. I’ve included more about Rodday’s design and sources below. Photo by Jessica Delaney.
Jessica Delaney Photography
“I’m not known for formal rooms,” Rodday told me. As such her signature style of light colors with a coastal touch, was just what the homeowners were looking for.
They started by painting the room Benjamin Moore “Navajo White” to tie it together with the home’s family room. Using the warm, creamy white as a base, Rodday added soft white upholstered and warm wood pieces, a dark grounding coffee table, and pretty artwork for a pop of color.
All the fireplaces in the home had awful green marble, which Rodday replaced with classic Cararra marble. The blue/grey veining is reflecting in the gray striations of the Restoration Hardware Nahla rug , which adds a touch of interest but keeps things neutral.
The Lee Industries sofa is upholstered in Serena & Lily washed linen in sand. The McGee & Co. Blaine armchairs have a wood frames with a driftwood finish that adds a bit of earthiness. The baluster profile and finish tie into the Arteriors Everett table. Its oxidized iron-clad surface and base connects with the dark color of the large cocktail table, custom covered in navy Phillip Jeffries Juicy Jute grasscloth.
“The room is very large,” Rodday says, “We needed an anchor on the fireplace, which is off-center, and this worked well.” The Visual Comfort Morris chandelier with polished nickel finish further establishes the center of the seating area, without blocking the artwork.
The colorful artwork cements the focal point for the seating area and is the jumping off point for the accessories which bring color into the room. The piece is “Sapling Grove” by Peter Batchelder, an oil on canvas from Powers Gallery in Acton, Mass.
The indigo leafy vine pattern of the Belgian linen drapery, Novella by Massachusetts textile designer Ellisha Alexina, stands up to the painting without overwhelming it.
Rodday used the fabric for a throw pillow too. Other throw pillows include, from left to right, Susan Connor New York in Madu, Zak + Fox in Postage, Peter Dunham in Kashmir, and a cognac leather McGee & Co. pillow. The brushstroke lamp is by Jana Bek.
The last time we looked at the genius of Boston interior designer Alina Wolhardt, principal of Wolf In Sheep Design, it was to spotlight Joanne Chang’s Flour Bakery in Harvard Square.
Last year in the Boston Globe column “Room to Love,” I wrote about this moody den that Wolhardt designed for Li Ward, the Boston pet and wedding photographer behind Fat Orange Cat Studio, and her husband Dan, photographed by Joyelle West.
Ward first met Wolhardt when she photographed Wolhardt’s rescue dog for the book Rescue Pets of Boston. Then, she photographed Wolhardt’s other dog at her house, where she had created a cozy man cave in a windowless room. Ward hired Wolhardt to do the same for her—a dark little sanctuary where she and her husband could hang out for cocktails and an afternoon read. They dubbed it the opium den.
Wolhardt says, “It took a year to complete this small room but we didn’t want to just force pieces purchased online from various mass-merchandise stores. I really wanted each piece was curated very carefully and that most pieces had history. When trying to create an Old World feel, you can’t force it.”
The dark wall paint color is Benjamin Moore Gray 2121-10. Wolhardt says, “We designed their bedroom to be very light and airy so we wanted to create a ying yang type of thing where one side of this floor is white and the other side to be the opposite.”
Wolhardt went monochrome on the ceiling too, but in a wallpaper, ROMO Rocks in Metallic Eggplant, which has some sparkle to it. “It’s dark gray with some gold undertone sheen, so when the surface light is on, it creates a nice glow,” Wolhardt says.
That fabulous light is the Soleil pendant by Suzanne Kasler forCirca lighting in antique brass, chosen to create a night sky-like feeling. The gold plays off the ornate gilt frames around the space.
“The idea for this room was to create an Old World, almost Victorian feeling with mixed styles, like the room had been curated over years,” Wolhardt says. The blue velvet settee is a Hollywood Regency style, sourced from an Etsy shop. Wolhardt directed the shop owner to refinish the frame in high gloss black. The cat’s name is Bingley.
The coffee table is made from the top of Ward’s childhood desk, trimmed with church railings salvaged by local Boston-based woodworker Nick Doriss of Doriss Design Workshoppe. Doriss also helped them hang a massive live-edge wood headboard that was originally a dining tabletop from Mohr McPherson. They repurposed that table base for the coffee table base here.
The heavy, carved dresser, from Ward’s parents, had been in their bedroom, but when Wolhardt spotted it she immediately asked to move it into the cave. She says, “We didn’t need to do anything to it. Even the mirror on this piece had an antiqued finish to it, which was perfect.”
The artwork is a mix of pieces Ward already owned (antiquing is a hobby), coupled with pieces they found together at Brimfield. Wolhardt says, “We wanted to arrange the pieces like a gallery wall so that she can continue to add artwork as she finds more pieces down the road.”
The floor lamp base is a vintage piece with a new lacey lampshade made by Vintage Shades.
They found the marble top of the side table at Brimfield and purchased the legs from another antique store. “Each piece has a nice little history to it,” Wolhardt says.
To make the room feel nice and cozy brought in many layers and textures. The jewel tone velvets on the upholstered pieces make it feel luxurious. The Cisco chair is custom upholstered in emerald green velvet, a nice contrast to the dark gray walls. Wolhardt says, ”
Wolhardt says, “Our mood board had jewel images as well as mussels. Mussels have dark gray shells in nice blue/green shades. I am always inspired by nature, and try to incorporate that into my designs.”
Layering the rugs adds to the overall womb-like effect. The rug on the bottom is a gold, distressed dyed antique rug and the top is a red and blue antique rug.
The black and white photograph is from homeowner Li Ward’s “Ghost Bride” series. “She did a whole series of this woman in a wedding gown, photographed in a cemetery. When I saw the series on her website, I knew it would be perfect for this room.”
I profiled this Victorian home in the Waban village of Newton decorated by designer/blogger Robin M. Anderson in the September issue of Boston Common magazine. The article was one page, but I have plenty of room here to take you on a wider tour, with additional photos and links to some of the pieces Robin used (some of which are StyleCarrot partners). Photography by Sabrina Cole Quinn.
The 4,500-plus square-foot house belongs to Robin’s friends, who enlisted her help with furnishings in the foyer, formal dining room, and great room once Nancie Chamberlain and Laurel Laliberte of Chamberlain & Laliberte Design Associates had wrapped up renovations.
The family mainly uses the mud room, but visitors enter through this foyer. Robin chose a hand-turned wood pedestal table from Restoration Hardware to anchor the center of the space.
Opposite, black and white photograph, “Mist Mounain 2” by Kate Schermerhorn hangs over West Elm burl console on a metal base with polished nickel finish. The atmospheric photo pictures a Costa Rican mountain top, which Robin jokes she chose in order to leave her mark, since she and her husband own a home in Costa Rica.
The formal dining room opens on the left of the entry. Robin designed around the Phillip Jeffries Rivets wallpaper which has actual silver rivets on the elephant manila hemp, and Heracleum II chandelier by Bertjan Pot for Moooi, both of which the homeowner had already chosen with Chamberlain & Laliberte. Robin aimed to keep the room light since it is a small space, infuse some glamour, and make sure it felt young and comfortable enough for kids could be included in meals there. “I wanted a throwback feel of old school dinner parties,” she says.
The antique mirror is a nod to original elements of a historic home. Robin used personal tidbits on the mantle including a family crest, a drawing of Canada that show where the homeowners are from, and an illustration of the original house that Robin commissioned from an Etsy artist based on an 1800s drawing from the town records department.
The family spends most of the time in the great room. The house originally ended at the header, but they added an addition onto the back, making it a much more family-friendly space. The RH Cloud sofa is upholstered in an indoor/outdoor Perennials textured linen weave. The “Mediterranean”seascape is by , LA based photographer Max Wanger and the cloud-like limited edition print “Dreams” by Miami-based Jonathan Brooks from Minted hangs above it. They painted the window trim black in this room to match the kitchen cabinetry.
Chamberlain & Laliberte designed the kitchen, but Robin found the leather and walnut Bacco by Omar De Biaggio counter stools from DWR, which is what prompted the homeowner, whose original inclination was to go more contemporary, to ask for help with the rest of the house. Robin knew that organic materials would warm up the room. The homeowner chose the Modern Agnes pendants with gold interiors by AERIN for Visual Comfort.
When the table that the homeowner originally ordered didn’t quite work, Robin found this one, the Crate & Barrel Monarch walnut dining table. “It’s very durable which is important since they eat all their meals here,” she says. The black Tucker chairs from Serena & Lily, an iteration of a classic Windsor, play off the black cabinetry and window frames. Robin framed Eskayel wallpaper to add playful pattern on either side of the window above the sideboard.
The addition has a cathedral ceiling with a skylight, complete the Beaux Arts style 72-inch Cannele chandelier in burnished brass from Restoration Hardware, which echoes the high round window. The Seville chair in camel leather from Room & Board is inspired by the iconic Barcelona chair designed by Mies van der Rohe. Although the homeowner isn’t a fan of color, Robin loves it, especially navy, so she snuck in some moody navy Eskayel pillows.
The homeowner loves everything Robin did. She says, “I wanted everything underdone, which I think is tough to do and still feel pulled together. Robin does it very well.”
I’ve worked with a lot of interior designers as a writer, and my I’m lucky because my experiences have been 99 percent excellent.
One of the loveliest interior designers in Boston is Newton-based Vani Sayeed. She has such a nice. kind, way about her while at the same time is always absolutely professional. And I’m not just saying that because she brought me back this gorgeous scarf from India.
I wrote about this summer home she designed on the Vineyard for Boston Globe Magazine last summer, and more recently she contributed to this decor trends forecast for the Matouk Linens blog. Vani is also an artist. I just discovered these intaglio prints on her site so thought I’d share.
Untitled • Intaglio Print & Chin Cole’
Rickshaw Ride • Intaglio Print & Mixed Media
Rickshaw Ride in the Rain 2• Intaglio Print & Chin Cole’
Quilted 3 • Intaglio Print & Mixed Media
Spring 2011 • Intaglio Print & Chin Cole’ with Acrylic
Spring 2012 • Intaglio Print & Chin Cole’
Infinity Gold• Intaglio Print & Chin Cole’ with Gold leaf
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 >