Design Diary: Kristin Gaughan Designs a Bachelor Pad

My newest column for Stuff Magazine came out last week. It’s the Guy Issue, so the piece is about a guy’s guy. The hed pretty much says it all: “How does a Harley-Davidson kind of guy channel his feminine side? Through an interior designer, of course.” It’s a fun read, and garnered quite the comments at the end. Here are some additional pictures and some extra details.



Mark’s a VP at a software company in Cambridge. His place is 2,500 square feet is in the South End. He initially tried to decorate on his own, but didn’t like the result. When he met Kristin Gaughan of Urban Living Studio he hired her to reinvent the space. The goal? To make it a refuge for a single guy who’s always on the go, but comfortable and approachable enough for a woman to snuggle in, and maybe whip something up in the kitchen, were she so inclined.

If you scroll down you can see some before pictures. As, you can see, the fireplace wall was completely re-vamped. Kristin handpicked the granite surround to match the countertop of the new island in the kitchen. No bachelor pad is complete without an oversize TV. This one’s 62-inches and swivels every which way. Below it is a speaker around which she designed a custom flange for a streamlined effect. The stereo equipment (all Bang & Olufsen) is tucked into a built-in cabinet on the far side of the fireplace wall. Of course, the music and television are controlled by remote, but so are the skylight shades, the overhead fan, and the fireplace. Dude!

guy eamesLove the Eames lounge atop the cowhide rug. Light pours in through the window, making this a favorite spot for after work relaxation (when it’s too cold for the deck, that is).






Not sure who this guy is in the kitchen, so never mind him. But didn’t Kristin do an amazing job with the space? She pulled down those awful top cabinets, which immediately opened things up. The island was reworked into a longer, sleeker shape and topped with honed granite. She replaced the exposed brick with bisque subway tile, and added stainless steel shelving. The bottom cabinetry was retained to cut costs, and the fridge too. Kristin reclaims what she can, but brings it to the next level.

guy kitchen

Mark asked Kristin to outfit his kitchen in true chef style. The Wolf range (love the red knobs, nice choice Kirstin!), the espresso maker, wine cooler, Shun knives, and oversize pepper mill do the trick. The freezer is stocked with vacuum-packed king salmon and yellow eye he catches with his brother in Alaska on their yearly fishing trips.


View in

view out

Great view looking towards the Back Bay, of the Prudential and the Hancock.

Mark sits out there after work with a scotch and cigar.


guy br2

guy BRI was impressed with how neatly the bed is made. Mark chose the bedding himself (in fact, he says Kristin isn’t a fan). She swapped the draperies for the tailored Roman shade. It’s not visible in the photo, but in addition to the second TV, there’s a gas fireplace in here too. The painting of the nude woman is a work he purchased in Paris. The small sculptures on the dresser are by a Mexican artist he stumbled upon while on vacation in Punta Mita. There’s also a painting of taxicabs in NYC and a cityscape of Rome. He brings home art (and clothing!) from his travels.

Stuff Magazine: Players

The “Players” issue of Stuff Magazine is out. I haven’t actually seen the print version yet, but I was able to sneak a peek online. I wrote five profiles for it, all related to house and home. I love the photos, edgy, with a hint of whimsy and steam. You can click through to Stuff’s site for the actual text, but I’ve included some additional anecdotes (irrelevant ramblings, really) below.


Ricardo Rodriguez realtor

Ricardo is super cute, charming, and, boo hoo, married. I interviewed him and his husband at their South End apartment last year for an Improper Bostonian piece about what couples hate in their mates’ wardrobes. Ricardo is a suave Barneys shopper while his partner is an adorable prepster. They bickered beautifully : ) (Maybe I can get a PDF of the article to post – it was one of my favorites.) 


Meichi Peng interior designer

My first awareness of Meichi Peng came through her butter soft, hand-stitched, pebble leather pouches that I wrote about for pricey handbag site, Lux Couture (hi Sari!). Turns out, Meichi Peng is actually an interior designer. Her style is sleek with a subtle Asian infusion. And she just opened a home furnishings shop, PENG, at 450 Harrison.


Nicole Dalrymple interior designer

Nikki’s North End shop, Acquire, is one of my favorites. (And I’ve written about it twice before, in the Globe mag’s “Best of the New” and for Daily Candy.) As interior stylist, Kara Butterfield put it recently, shopping at Acquire is like going to Brimfield without having to pick through everything. I purchased three milk glass vases there that are on my dining table in Truro. Wish I had a picture.


Stephanie Walker gallerist

I believe I first made the acquaintanc of Stephanie Walker of Walker Contemporary through Kristin Gaughan of the design firm Urban Living Studio, (BTW, stay tuned for a post on one of her spaces.) I first wrote about Stephanie for the Globe’s “Best of the New”, and I recently featured the works of one of her artists, Elisa Johns, in an ARTmonday post.


Erin Gates interior stylist

By now you all know Erin Gates, interior stylist and blogger. Click here for my behind-the-scenes tour of her JP condo, or read the Globe article “Small is the New Black”.

Photos by Tim Gray for Stuff Magazine

Design Diary: Emily Kumler Travelista

I recently profiled Emily Kumler for Stuff Magazine. Emily, 31, is the co-owner of Prep Cosmetics. Turns out Emily is also quite skilled in nesting. She designed and decorated her 2,000 square foot condo in Cambridge, Mass., where she lives with her teacup Yorkie, Rocky.

ek-mainPhoto: Tim Gray for Stuff Magazine

Emily’s kitchen is outfitted with all the best appliances. She knows she’ll never recoup the money she spent, but doesn’t mind eating the loss. She says, “Having these appliances is sort of ridiculous, but I love cooking. And it’s so nice to have people come over and not want to leave.” Emily is quite the hostess; like her grandmother, who was a fantastic cook, she loves to entertain. She even whipped up lunch for me – steak salad and the most delicious lemon cupcakes I’ve ever tasted. (I ate three!)


Photo: Tim Gray for Stuff Magazine

The custom cabinets have plenty of storage space for her myriad of spices, appliances, and collections, like the aprons and Starbucks mugs she brings back from every country she visits. Have a birthday coming up? Sometimes she gives them as gifts. She says, “A mug from the UAR. . . it’s just so random.”

ek-lrPhoto: Tim Gray for Stuff Magazine

Emily is not afraid of color, thanks to her mom, who encouraged her to look at books filled with paintings by well-known artists to develop her sense of aesthetics. Emily loves Matisse, so likes to incorporate his palette of blues, greens, and orange. The orange velvet sofa was her grandmother’s, given to her by her mom for her birthday. The leaded glass cabinet doors are original to the building.

ek-lr2Photo: Tim Gray for Stuff Magazine

I love the way Emily uses the little cut out as a bookshelf. You get a glimpse of the chandelier, from Brocade Home, which is the same ones that hang in the Prep retail stores. The chair is a real Eames lounge (yummy), and the vintage poster, from International Poster Gallery on Newbury Street, was a gift from her parents.


Photo: Tim Gray for Stuff Magazine

Emily’s bedroom is an ode to Rome, her hands-down favorite city. When she studied there in high school she lived in a dorm that was an old monastery. She remembers, “We had these huge windows with no screens, just big shutters. I used to sit in my window and read all the time.” So, when Emily found a set of old shutters in antique store in Somerville, she snatched them up. Her painter made a matching pair for the other window. She also hung a shuttered mirror from Wisteria (not pictured). Emily’s sister thought she was crazy to paint her room in what she called a “hell fire orange.” But Emily loves the combo with the blue shutters. The combo (and crackled texture) is very Tuscan. She says, “I love that in Italy, people aren’t scared to put bold colors next to each other.” (If you’re wondering, its a C2 Tangerine base with C2 Babylon mixed with a crackle inducing glaze painted on top.)


The painting above Emily’s bed is “Dive” by P. Murphy, which she bought at a gallery in the West Village of New York City. She loves to swim and finds the image very calming. The bedding is from Garnet Hill; the lamp with fringe shade and the chandelier are both from neighborhood shop Boutique Fabulous.


Above left: The bathroom has cute built-in cupboards that are original to the building. The shower curtain is Marimekko. Above right: Emily wanted the TV room to be a bit dark and cozy; the paint color is Benjamin Moore Aurora Borealis. Besides, green makes her happy, and it goes with all the other colors she loves. On the walls are the covers of old magazines that she started collecting when she knew she was going to buy a place. Most came from a used bookstore near her parent’s house in Maine.


Left photo: Tim Gray for Stuff Magazine

There are three small areas that Emily papered with William Morris Iris, ordered from England through Sanderson. The inspiration here was her mom. The home in which Emily grew up has lots of it. Above left: Emily’s study, complete with a chair from Crate & Barrel which you can also find in her Prep cosmetic boutiques.
Emily, the lucky duck, has a balcony off her study that her friends jokingly call her cabana. Who can blame them, with its Sunbrella curtains, daybed, and quaint cafe table? She eats out there almost every night in the summer, if she’s home, and naps out there on weekend afternoons. She admits, “It feels like a vacation.”