Marble is everywhere. It’s leaped out of bathrooms and kitchens onto living room furniture. Marble top coffee tables and marble top side tables are available in so many styles and materials— brass bases with black marble tops, reclaimed wood bases with white marble, blackened iron bases with green marble.
All these marble top coffee tables make me wish I were in the market for one myself, but we’ll be sticking with our vintage Heywood Wakefield lazy susan coffee table that we inherited from my husband’s grandparents.
We never seem to have enough hooks, whether it’s in the closet, on the back of the bathroom door, or in the kitchen, I’ve been meaning to add to by my desk for my tote bag too, instead of always draping it on the back of my chair. I don’t want it to stand out, so I’ll need to find simple modern wall hooks.
With the holidays upon us, not to mention what’s sure to be a snowy winter, adding hooks to inside the closet, by the door in the entry, and pretty much all over the mudroom is always a good idea.
Here are 38 mostly modern wall hooks from StyleCarrot partners and other shops, many fun, all functional.
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 >
Last time I was in town I scored a private tour of The Verb Hotel with Elizabeth Lowrey, Principal and Director of Interior Architecture at Elkus Manfredi Architectsand stylish lead behind the redesign of this humble-turned-hip Boston boutique hotel, just behind Fenway Park. The architects worked closely with the development team to embrace the area’s legacy .
Initially slated for a tear down—the hotel had become a HoJos after all—Samuels became disillusioned by the shiny new development happening all over the city and decided to re-imagine the 94-room mid-century modern hotel, knowing it would add character to the revitalized neighborhood.
The Verb Hotel first opened in 1959 as the Fenway Motor Hotel in a neighborhood that by the thriving indie music scene. Over the years a multitude of clubs popped up on Lansdowne Street, along with the alternative weekly newspaper the Boston Phoenix and rock radio stations.
Developer Steve Samuels and hotelier Robin Brown enlisted “vibe conservators” Stephen Mindich, publisher of the Boston Phoenix, and David Bieber, WBCN Creative Services Director to consult with Elkus Manfredi on the hotel’s new look and feel, which pays homage to the rock scene of the ’70s and ’80s. Bieber dipped into his enormous personal archives of pop-culture memorabilia which the designers used to decorate the lobby.
The two-story modernist building, designed by architects Irving Salsberg and Ralph Leblanc, went up in 1959. Elkus Manfredi Architects honored the original building, retaining the footprint of the motel and guestrooms. The feel is that of an authentic motor inn, including a courtyard pool and cars pulled up outside the rooms.
The team stuck to a pretty strict budget. Easy upgrades like colored film by Solar Graphics were applied to the new windows to add rhythmic pops of color. In 1959 when the original motel was completed, different colored stained-glass windows formed solid vertical lines on its structure. Eventually, these windows were replaced and the solid vertical stripes of color became irregular. When replacing all the windows for the restoration, Elkus Manfredi deliberately retained the irregular Mondrian-like pattern.
The architects dressed up a front façade with vertical wood siding and simple landscaping.
A circular skylight in the lobby lets in light and provides a glimpse of a new high rise across the street.
The front desk is upholstered in tufted black leather. Amps and electric guitars are propped up beside it. Black and white geometric flooring by Mondo.
The lobby, with its deep blue walls and tufted yellow leather banquette custom-designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects broadcasts that it is indeed a Boston boutique hotel. Authentic vintage music ephemera, curated by David Bieber from his own collection, include backstage passes from the J. Geils Band, and torn $4.50 ticket stubs to a Blondie show at the Paradise on Commonwealth Avenue. Framing done locally by Stanhope Framers. Triangular Island tables by Calligaris. Knoll Risom lounge chairs designed in 1943 by Jens Risom and sheepskin throw both from Design Within Reach.
Music posters and vinyl records along with a vintage jukebox.
Original brickwork was painted black using textured paint by Sherwin Williams.
If the lobby’s not crowded, guests can spin records on the yellow vintage Realistic-brand LAB 440 turntable. They’ve got 150 vintage local and national vinyl albums.
A display case in the breezeway connecting the main lobby with the guest rooms houses The Archives at the Verb, curated from Bieber’s warehouse of thousands of pop-culture memorabilia.
Original brick walls were painted vibrant hues and treated to music-related stenciled sayings. Perforated steel railings custom-fabricated by MIW Co. Ipanema Multi-Bloom Pendant Lamp by Jonathan Adler.
“If the music is too loud, you’re too old.”
Photographs of numbers from Fenway park were pulled together to form the room numbers on hotel room doors.
Illuminated signs on black walls in the hotel lobby.
Guest rooms are clean and crisp with integrated wood veneer headboards. Elkus Manfredi Architects designed the mid-century modern inspired furnishings, which were manufactured by Artco.
Framed Phoenix newspaper pages hang on the walls in each room.
Mid-century dot pattern drapery and a shot of pink from the window film.
Photo by Adrian Wilson
Like many boutique hotels, the contemporary bathrooms are simple but don’t skimp on amenities.
Tile by Dal-Tile.
The desk in each hotel room is equipped with a typewriter purchased on eBay. The desk chair is an armless Setu side chair by Herman Miller.
Best part: the hotel courtyard has a pool. The vibe is motor lodge, but really it’s like a hip resort, right downtown. Check out the green stands at Fenway in the background.
We have a modern grey sofa in the family room, and although it may not be as fashion forward as I’d like, it’s got clean lines, durable fabric, and big comfy cushions. It’s so long all four of us can watch television on it. We actually kind of built the room around it, insisting to our designer that the door to the study be extra narrow. (He wasn’t happy but obliged.)
Since everyone still seems to want to buy a grey sofa, here are 60 modern grey sofas you can shop for at 27 different stores (some StyleCarrot partners), from minimalist modern styles to more classic tufted chesterfield sofas, with a few gray sleeper sofas thrown in. Price points vary, with ten styles under $1000 and many falling in the mid-range.
1 Carmichael Loft Sofa by Gus*Modern, $1,999 at 2Modern.
2 Jacksonville Convertible Sofa II by Gold Sparrow, $360.99 at AllModern.