Design Diary: Davis Square Loft With Roof Garden

Five years ago (wow), I met Sharon Kitchens, she who now lives on the Great Cluck Egg Farm (blogged about here) and writes two blogs, The Root for the Portland Press Herald, and her own, called Delicious Musings, when I wrote about her Davis Square loft for Stuff Magazine. Going back through my archives, I see I never blogged about it. Crazy, because I totally, totally loved it. The photos aren’t perfect, but I hope you can see the loft’s general amazingness.

Kitchens, who had been on hiatus from Hollywood up in Maine (and yes, she’s back there again now), fell in love on the spot with this 850-square-foot, top-floor unit at the Davis Square Lofts in Somerville, Mass. It used to be the Comfort Pillow factory, and is adjacent to a renovated tin toy factory. The developer retained the industrial vibe, mixing in just the right amount of modern day luxe. There are bridge like walkways, garage doors accessing outdoor spaces, open floor plans, concrete floors, and interesting fixtures. Let’s go in.


The entry door and her sweet, old dog.


 The living room, which is what you face when you walk in. The piano artwork on the right is by the son of Portland, Maine gallery owner June Fitzpatrick.


The front deck, accessed by a garage door. Kitchens got her start planting vegetables here.


Looking back, the study is on the right, and the kitchen on the left. Keep looking back through the kitchen and you’ll spot the garage door in the bedroom, on the other end of the loft.


Heading into the galley kitchen.


Sharon just finished baking granola. No surprise she ended up owning a farm in Maine! Truth is, growing up, she spent summers on her grandparents’ farm in Arkansas. Love the red knobs on the petit gas range.


Open shelving and a butcher block countertop.


Sharon tucks a black & white photograph, by Sabrina Krisky, behind the kitchen sink.


Industrial sink in the bathroom.


And the metal shelf above, with indoor/outdoor industrial sconces, raw wood beams, and more art.


The airy bedroom. The fun chair is from the Rockland Antiques Marketplace in Rockland, Maine.


Vintage dressers and rugs in the bedroom.


Sharon shows off a family heirloom: her grandmother’s vintage ’70s patchwork skirt. Very Todd Oldham!


Outside, you can see the plank walkways with chicken wire-like fencing.



Sharon pursued her interest in gardening ou on the deck.


She and her neighbors also shared a CSA and would cook dinner together on Sundays.


Looking back toward her unit.


And back on the ground. Bye!

Design Diary: Jeff Osborne’s South End Loft

I’ve been meaning to highlight interior designer Jeff Osborne’s South End condo for a while now. I originally wrote about it, “Living With Less, for the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine.  Why now? I have just hired Jeff and his partner, interior designer Amanda Hark, to renovate the main floor of our Boston condo. Their newly created firm is called Hark + Osborne ). I am so excited.

Jeff’s Boston loft isn’t large, but he makes great use of the space. And  he has an amazing eye, mixing old and new, high and low. He had to do some serious editing to make it work. He gave all his old furniture to his brother in order to be able to get the look he wanted. The overall aesthetic is clean and modern and very tailored, but there are plenty of vintage pieces for character and texture.

Photo by Josh Kuchinsky

In the main living space, the television blends right in with the art. The ebony, bamboo-topped coffee table by Gervasoni from Showroom in Boston has simple lines, with an Asian feel. The rug is Italian, made from linen and wool. The sofa, upholstered in linen, is Flexform, from Showroom. Showoroom owner Doug Gates is his close friend.

Photo by Josh Kuchinsky

The vintage Louis Vuitton trunk was a gift from Osborne’s parents. The painting of man on left is a self-portrait by Cyrille Conan from a local Boston art gallery. The smaller piece on the right was painted by his grandfather. It’s a cottage on Ballston Beach on Cape Cod, that has since washed away. Underneath, on the white lacquer Poliform shelf, is a whaling-ship propeller that he found at a Boston antiques show.

The smaller ceramic bowl on the far left is by Tim Christiansen, purchased from The Society of Arts & Crafts on Newbury Street. (Christiansen and Osoborne went to boarding school together.) The larger one is from Norway from his parents, who collect ceramics and art.  “They have fantastic taste,” he says, “They downplay it, but it’s been a huge influence on my work.” Both bowls sit on wood blocks from West Elm.

The artwork is hard to see here. The vertical is a drawing of a nose that he bought when he studied abroad in Florence; it’s a local contemporary artist but in an antique French frame that he bought it from a store called Flair. Next to it is a print from Paris of hats flying off people’s heads by Charlotte Reine.

On the bottom shelf are Chinese bronze animal bells from Intarwut in Cambridge.

Two aluminum frame full-length mirrors from IKEA are propped up behind the Flexform stainless steel and rope folding chairs.

Photo by Josh Kuchinsky

The bed is beyond the main living space, in a south-facing, floor-ceiling-windowed nook. The bed (high) is upholstered in white leather and covered in gray houndstooth linens. The nightstands (low) are from West Elm. The industrial-style lamps are from Casa Design in SoWa. The chair in the foreground, upholstered in striped chenille, is Flexform.

A trio of postcards depicting Greek ruins were discovered in a junk shop in Provincetown.

Photo by  Josh Kuchinsky

The kitchen is standard issue from the building. The wrapped countertop is bisque-colored speckled Caesarstone, the appliances are Viking, and the cabinetry Wenge wood. Osborne added the three silvery pendant light fixtures from Casa Design over the bar. And note the Alessi juicer next to the bowl of oranges.

The entry is lined with family photos and artwork.

Design Diary: John Stefanon at FP3

This is a model apartment in the loft building FP3 in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood. Like the other FP3 space I blogged about last fall, the interior design was done, and beautifully, by John Stefanon of JFS Design Studio.

Stefanon incorporates earthy elements, like this rough hewn table, into the dining area. The chairs are on casters so they can be easily transported during a party.

This is the standard kitchen. Love the addition of the blackboard, both as a design and practical element. The cloudy glass cabinetry provides a bit of airy relief from the opaque panels. Adding just one section is a lot cheaper than doing all the upper cabinets in that style, but makes a noticeable impact.

Branches in a vase – always an easy way to bring the outdoors in. The pink artwork provides a splash of sweet, candy color to an otherwise neutral palette.

I love hte wood veneer pocket door between the hall and the media room. The aerial map photo is great too. The plexiglass shelf provides storage without looking bulky.

A hand-drawn type of patterning on the wall covering is a modern update to a classic plaid.

The crisp, upholsterd headboard fits trimly in the small space.

I adore the wavy front of this white lacquered dresser.

An amazing red wall in the media room gives an unexpected zing. And that enormous mirror really opens up the room. The effect reminds me of a wall with a circular doorway at the university in Taiwan where I once studied.

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Design Diary: John Stefanon at FP3

I first came across the design studio of John Stefanon earlier this year at at SoWa Open Studios, when I wandered into JFS Design Studio amidst the galleries at 450 Harrison. I loved the spare, earthy look, and John was so welcoming. I’ve since had the opportunity to profile his work a couple of times. Most recently, I wrote about Studio 210, a model apartment at FP3 in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood, for Stuff Magazine – “Designer John Stefanon redefines one-room living in Fort Point.”

Studio 210, FP3_DSC3228cPhoto courtesy of FP3

This is the second model apartment Stefanon was asked to design at FP3, a sleek 92-unit loft building in Fort Point. While the first one (which I’ll do a post on too, at some point), has multiple rooms, over-sized windows, and lots of light, this is the most challenging unit in the building — a second-floor studio with no view.

The directive was to help would-be buyers conceptualize how to make the most of a studio. Stefanon needed to show how one can fashion a single room into a living space that functions well for both entertaining and private time, while remaining organized and, of course, stylish. No problem.

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The 671-square-foot space is divided into four areas — entry, dining, living, and sleeping.

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lobbyPhoto courtesy of JFS Design Studio

Stefanon designed the vestibule to be the snazziest area. “In an unfinished unit, people go right to the window,” he says. “So we created an interesting entry in hopes they would stop, think, and take it all in.” And, formalizing the entry not only ensures that guests savor their first moments here, but defines the entry as its very own space.

The Tibetan wool Paul Smith “Swirl” rug by The Rug Company certainly made me stop in my tracks. Love, love, love. He covered the entry wall in Braille Wall Flats by Inhabit Living. The textured panels are both eco-friendly (they’re made from 100% molded bamboo paper pulp) and inexpensive($86/10 tiles that cover 22.5 square feet). To evoke a sense of outdoors, Stefanon painted the ceiling a moody, neutral blue (Benjamin Moore Wedgewood Gray HC-146). Above a clean-lined custom console table that’s perfect for mail and keys, he hung a convex mirror by Reflecting Design that reflects the space beyond.

Stefanon further differentiates the vestibule from the main living area by lining the interior frame of the portal with custom walnut panels stained to match the finish of the unit’s door. The detail is a nice touch — “It makes people feel like they’re about to walk into somewhere special,” he says.

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kitchenPhoto courtesy of JFS Design Studio

The kitchen is the standard kitchen for the units. Stefanon says, “By adding an interesting entertaining area in front of the kitchen, not just about the kitchen anymore.” The drum pendant, which hangs from a chrome rod is by Tango Lighting.

john stefanon 1

“The kitchen,” Stefanon says, “is not just about the kitchen. It’s also a place for entertaining.” The long, rectangular table by is on wheels, so it can function as a dining table, an island, or a buffet, or be pushed out of the way altogether. The rattan-backed mahogany bench by The Home Port adds a tailored touch to the utilitarian table, while the chain-mail chairs by infuse an industrial edge reminiscent of the building’s warehouse origins. The screen, also by Design Workshop, separates the kitchen from the sleeping space.

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The development company had initially requested that Stefanon incorporate a Murphy bed into the design, but he felt the look was too typical. Instead he opted for a more artistic approach. Drawing on the neighborhood’s artsy identity, Stefanon designed an oversized headboard constructed with art frames around the perimeter of an upholstered inset of tufted outdoor chenille from Glant Fabrics‘ The Modern Collection. Stefanon considers the headboard an art piece, since there isn’t much room for actual artwork on the walls. The custom duvet is made from Calvin Fabrics. On the bed he used a single large pillow, in a leafy Schumacher print, for maximum impact and minimum fuss. (For Bostonians looking for a workroom you can trust – Stefanon uses Finelines in Peabody.)

The small dresser Stefanon uses as a nightstand is a custom design in an antique white crackle finish with stainless hardware (the same as the entry console). On the other side he thoughtfully incorporates a desk, another custom piece, fabricated in acrylic “so it doesn’t clutter the space.” The leather desk chair, which has an interesting silhouette, is from Italian company Arper. The lamp is a one-of-a-kind piece made from industrial parts and hand blown glass.

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lr2Photo courtesy of FP3 (detail)

Instead of a sofa, Stefanon outfitted the living area with four chairs. He points out, “A sofa seats three, but nobody wants to be in the middle. This way is more user-friendly.” The French Provincial–style chairs by Eloquence are upholstered in natural muslin. They are sophisticated, yet casual and comfy, and are adorned with colorful pillows by Megan Park, from Calypso Home. The table, a custom design in a cerused oak finish, is rustic enough to put your feet on. The jute rug, from Stark, is equally practical. For additional seating, the bench from the dining table can be pulled over.

Curtains in hung on either side of the space as if they are one big window, are neutral, and tie the space together. They go to the floor and have a cotton tape along the bottom, for interest. Stefanon hung art on brick even though it gets hidden when drapes are drawn.

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tvPhoto courtesy of JFS Design Studio

Across from the bed is another custom crackle cabinet. Stefanon hung black & white beach photos by Roy Barloga above because “everyone knows that’s where you’d put the TV, so I did something more artistic.” The sculptures are old helmets on stands

“The goal,” he told me, “was to make every living area special, without overdoing it,” The key to achieving this balance? A lot of editing. Good advice for those confined to one-room living. Stefanon confided, “Somebody saw this the day after I finished it and bought the studio directly above.”

Want more?

Video tour of Studio 210 with John Stefanon: NECN/styleboston: A Hot Spot in Fort Point

Design Diary: Andrew Terrat at FP3

This spring, Jessica Danforth of Kortenhaus Communications (love her!) brought me on a whirlwind tour of four different apartments at FP3 in Fort Point Channel, followed by lunch at Barbara Lynch’s Sportello. (Delicious, and really well-designed.) The neighborhood is industrial and artsy, and the building, designed by David Hacin, reflects those influences. The lobby even even includes an exhibition gallery. In addition to three model apartments (I just handed in an article for Stuff on the studio unit designed by John Stefanon, which I’ll blog about once it’s published), Jessica got permission to show me a privately owned two-bedroom designed by Andrew Terrat of Terrat Elms.

FP3 in Fort Point Channel, Boston

fp3 exterior

FP3 Lobby


This condo is owned by a couple who lived in the Boston suburbs, but decided to move into the city when their daughter left for college. They hired Andrew Terrat of Terrat Elms to design the entire interior, and they are beyond thrilled. Who can blame them? Not only is Andrew darling, the space is spectacular.

Here is the unit when first they purchased it.

Condo, Before


The unit isn’t especially large, but it’s well laid out, with a self contained entry with roomy closets, an open kitchen, and a private master bedroom suite.

Floor Plan

floor plan

Andrew relocated the closets in order to incorporate a console. He chose a stainless steel piece that you might find in a lab. He added a textured wall covering and wood panels.



The fixture has an industrial edge, echoing the feel of the neighborhood.

Detail, Entry Light Fixture


Turning the corner, you enter the main living space, with an open kitchen and the living/dining area beyond. It’s done in neutrals, with yellow and chartreuse accents.

Main Living Area


Looking from the living room, back towards the entry. That room is the second bedroom, where their daughter stays when she’s home from school. The kitchen island is wrapped in stone, a hot look right now. I like the effect, but hate to think how much extra money all that stone costs.


Andrew replaced the cabinetry and finishes. I love the the mini subway tile back splash against the white cabinetry, and appreciate how the gray tones accentuate the stainless steel counter top and hardware. (I don’t remember the manufacturers; must email Andrew.)



Pop, pop, pop! Bright and jagged upholstery really defines the space. Love the clear pendant – very industrial goes glam – and of course, the Saarinen tulip table.

Dining Area


Terrat produces an effect with the tile in the bathroom that’s similar to that in the kitchen. The homeowner told me that Andrew even added the blue mouthwash. Like most designers, every time he visits he fusses and moves stuff around.


A comfortable but glamorous retreat.

Master Bedroom


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For a peek at Boston Magazine‘s Concept Home at FP3 see Erin’s post on Elements of Style.