Today we’re excited to share with you another project we recently completed that is located in the Back Bay area of Boston. This residence was designed for a young family that loves to entertain and needed plenty of open space for parties and also for their children to play.
Living Room looking to Study
We opened up the existing space, giving it a more loft-like feel, and captured natural light from a large skylight over the main stair, as well as north and south facing windows off of the kitchen, dining, and living rooms. Floor to ceiling built-ins help emphasize height and delineate space in this open concept plan. We used rich walnut cabinetry and soft gray granite countertops with a waterfall style island to give it a clean feel.
Kitchen and Dining Room
Built-ins at Entry
Dining Room looking to Living Room
The main entrance stair is simple, yet elegant, and sets the stage for the contemporary detailing found throughout the penthouse.
Entry Stair with Glass Handrail
Here are some of the before pictures of the project to give you an idea of how it changed:
Before: Entry Stair with old opening into Study
Before: Fireplace Surround in Living Area
Before: Living Area where opening into Study is now.
View from Entry Looking at Kitchen Before
Today we’re excited to share with you a project we’ve recently completed. This Marlborough Street residence was designed as a pied-a-terre for a well-traveled couple with a vast collection of art. They wished for a space that had a “hotel” feel, clean , polished, and efficient.
The clients spent many years living overseas and desired a sophisticated, airy, European feel to their new home. To achieve this aesthetic, we took the existing series of small, traditionally inspired rooms and opened them up to one another.
This allowed us to capture the light from the front and rear of the floor-through duplex and funnel it towards the central stair that leads to the Garden level. The space utilizes soft colors and a combination of natural materials to give it a clean, contemporary look.
Dining Looking to Living Area
Here are before pictures of the spaces. These illustrate how much we were able to clean up the space and create a more open feel:
Living to Dining Area Before
Living Area Before
- Kitchen Before
Powder Bath Before
Rococo style appeared in France around 1700 and an excellent example of this style is the Hotel de Soubise in Paris. This interior was designed by Germain Boffrand in 1737 and is one of the best preserved examples of Rococo style.
Hotel de Soubise
We stumbled upon the Hotel de Soubise by accident, and thought we were actually in the Musee Carnavalet which is next door. It was completely empty of tourists so it was an amazing experience being able to see everything and have complete quiet to absorb the ornate details.
Chambre d’apparat de la princesse
Chambre d’apparat de la princesse
Previously society entertained in grand palatial spaces, but it shifted to a more intimate setting with parties gathering in private residences. This is the point at which Rococo style was introduced, softening the stronger architectural lines of the Baroque period such as that found at the Palace of Versailles. This softening also representing women’s stronger influence in taste and society with them taking a more prominent role as hostesses holding salons and competing for the most accomplished guests to attend.
Salon oval du prince
Detail, Salon oval du prince
Rococo is characterized by the use of Rocaille shells, soft tendrils, and sinuous curves forming an organic natural style of decoration. The walls, cornice, and ceiling were molded together into one apparent form.
Salon ovale de la princesse
Detail, Chambre de la princesse
Today we continue our journey through the City of Light. One of the most exciting experiences we had in Paris was going to a show at the Moulin Rouge! It is located in artsy, gritty, Montmarte district and it’s original aim was “to allow the very rich to come and slum it in a fashionable district”. I have to confess, Moulin Rouge is my favorite movie of all time so I had to go experience the real deal.
Before the show we had some incredible roast chicken at the cafe down the street, which was where the film “Amelie” was made.
Cafe les Deux Moulins
Afterwards, we lined up for the show! The space inside is incredible, almost unchanged since it’s beginning. There was an enourmous Art Deco chandelier in the foyer that took my breath away. It was about 8 feet wide and 10 feet long. Inside, red velvet chairs, crisp white table cloths, and striped carnival-like awnings surrounded the stage. The waiters bustled around serving champagne and then the show started. Feathers! Sequins! Lights! Legs!
Art Deco Chandelier
Inside the Moulin Rouge
There were numbers with feathered costumes that lit up, an enormous acrylic pool that rose up out of the ground featuring a dance with ball pythons and of course, the Can-Can! It was elegant, energetic, beautiful, and so much fun. I highly recommend going if you are ever in Paris.
Jardin de Luxembourg
Recently I visited Paris and Belgium and over the next few weeks I will present some photos from the trip. First we start with Jardin de Luxembourg, or the Luxembourg Gardens, which is a large park in Paris. This was right by our hotel so several mornings we bought 2 croissants (each!) and a coffee and explored them.
Paths in the Gardens
As you enter the gardens through their massive black and gold gates, you are presented with rows of pristine manicured trees and pathways. I was struck by how many people were there in gym clothes exercising, sweaty and huffing, and what a stark contrast it was to the formality of the gardens.
I think that’s one of the great things about Paris- there is so much beauty and history everywhere, yet it is not precious or kept at a distance. People go about their daily lives all around it and use it as they see fit.
The Gardens are about 56 acres and you can easily walk through them for an hour without seeing it all. It is the garden of the French Senate, which is housed in Luxembourg Palace. The Palace was built for Marie de Medici, the widow of King Henry IV, who wanted it styled after her native Florence’s Palazzo Pitti.
These chairs were one of the best things about Paris, too. They were everywhere, available freely for anyone to sit and relax without a worry about people stealing or damaging them.
The Medici Fountain gives an amazing perspective view when you stand at the center. It was also built by Marie de Medici and is in the form of an Italian grotto.
Statues of Queens of France
Surrounding the gardens were terraces with statues of the Queens of France. It was a very calm and peaceful place to explore. Everywhere you went you would discover more hidden statues in shady pockets of the park. There were also basket ball courts, playgrounds, and nursery gardens used by the university. Really wonderful.
Looking towards Living Area
This is a 3 bedroom, 3 1/2 bath condo that we are currently working on. It has a distinct Modern feel to it with the curved walls and sleek minimal trim. I can see Art Deco pieces working so well in this space. We have finished some light remodeling on it and I wanted to give you a peek.
The concept for the space was to be high contrast with minimal finishes and an overall calm feel. We did custom walnut cabinetry in the living space that has a rich deep look that is very clean. Also we added deep gray silk draperies at the living room windows for another pop of contrast. The walls and ceilings were all repainted, going with a light, cool palette to neutralize the putty color that was there to begin with. The light fixtures were all replaced with elegant polished chrome pieces.
Looking towards Living Area
The overall space is quite striking. It would be a great display space for art and really lends itself to the gorgeous views from the living and dining room windows.
View from Living Room
Dining Room View
Here are a couple before pictures for comparison. No more old putty paint color:
Next step will be bringing in the furniture. What do you think so far?
This is a small project we completed for the daughter of a good client of mine. She asked for assistance in redoing her living room and I was thrilled to help. It was just one room but doing one room in a house or condo can make a huge difference in the overall feel of a space. She expressed that she would like a style that was more contemporary and chic to go with her professional lifestyle.
Here are some before pics of the space. You will see that the furniture has a transitional feel and it was not as clean lined as she was wanting for the new look, with lots of different colors everywhere.
Also, the light floors did not coordinate with the built in cabinetry which she had redone recently. The fireplace surround had green tile with brass accents, which also had to go. The window treatments were grass shades which did not have much presence in the room.
We selected a sophisticated and warm palette of smoky gray, bronze, caramel, and chocolate. For the floors, we redid them in a deep cherry color to coordinate with the fireplace wall cabinetry. The fireplace surround was replaced with black slate. We also selected a custom made wool Nepalese rug in a beautiful gray color with cream border.
For the walls we deepened the yellow to more of an ochre color and also added full length draperies out of a bronze striped silk with white wooden blinds for privacy. The draperies add a lot of height to the space as they draw your eye upwards.
The furniture was a mix of warm gray linen on the sofa, luxurious caramel color leather on the armchairs, and bronze, gold, and chocolate silks and velvets for the toss pillows. The coffee table is bamboo with a glass and steel side table, accented with a gold iron lamp. With this furnishings arrangement we were able to add one more seat while still allowing access onto the patio.
You’ll have to ignore the paint cans as these were taken right on installation day. I think the space came out beautifully and this was one of my favorite color palettes to do. It could work in a feminine or masculine setting and is very warm and relaxed. Now it just needs some coffee table books and a huge orchid on the table!
What do you think?
A couple of weeks ago I was in Dallas and had a chance to do some antiquing there. We were on the outskirts of the city and meandered into several little shops and stores. One thing about antiquing is that there is a fine line between “antiques” and “junk” that is often crossed but if you are patient you will come across some real gems.
Here are some of my finds:
An amazing walnut armoire that probably dates to the 1930′s or 40′s. It is such an incredible piece it took my breath away. It has this unique undulating front with book matched walnut veneer and gorgeous handles. The feel of the piece is somehwat delicate because of the smaller size but also masculine with the pronounced wood grain.
Inside it has individual compartments with glass doors and drawers for sweaters and shirts on the right- perfection. On the left is space for hanging clothes.
What a great little piece. The best part about it- it was $295.00! And on sale for another 15% off. In Boston this piece could easily have gone for 10x that amount.
This is a quirky find but it caught my eye because I often see these in antique shops in Boston. It’s an English brass log box to store wood by the fireplace. Another bargain at $125.
Another great find was this walnut bed. I think I have an obsession with walnut- the figuring is just so beautiful. The lines of this bed were simple and elegant. It would be perfect for a traditional or contemporary interior as a way to add rich wood tones to the room. Again, a steal at just under $300.00.
Lastly I can’t help but include probably my best find of the day. This is what I mean by a fine line between antiques and “junk” but if you can’t help but laugh then it makes hunting all the more fun.
Bubba’s Briefcase- looks like they wanted $9.99 for this piece of craftsmanship.
And a Texas sunset to end on…