As one of my on-going projects I am quite fortunate to have a client who asked for my help furnishing and decorating her historic home; located about 10 miles west of Boston. My client’s project is super unique in that her home used to be the town’s school house. Years ago the building had been divided into a duplex configuration, with her home being the right side of the old “school house.”
I just love old houses with their attendant millwork, charm, and even their very “non-square” and “non-level” idiosyncrasies. In fact, ten years ago I did quite a bit of historical decorating work at the famed Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, and I still enjoy unique opportunities such as this current project to saunter down the historical path, so to speak.
To give you a feel of the progress that my client and I have made using an “incremental” design and decorating process, here are some “in progress” photos of the charming school house renovation showing our gradual addition of lighting, window treatments, and furniture.
We're still working on the finishing touches. I must say that, prior to my introduction to this project, my client did a wonderful job directing the renovation of her house in a manner that preserves the very best of the features of the home, while infusing it with a current warmth and comfort factor for her family – which includes teenage sons. (click on any photo to start the slideshow):
I love what I do – and I routinely give thanks to all of my wonderful clients who allow me to explore and celebrate your homes with you.
Every client is unique and brings with them different design challenges related to style, color, lighting, accessorizing and a whole host of other Interior Design elements. I am fortunate enough that I have all types of clients. Those with small projects and those with large projects. Those looking to refresh their environment, those looking to change their surroundings, and those starting from scratch.
In my experience some of the most interesting, and challenging, design engagements are when I work for a building contractor - since they know so much about the architectural spaces and have seen so many different layouts and design styles.
I recently completed a Sitting Room project with a wonderful couple, Katie and Chip Eibye. Here are some photos of their completed sitting room, but I can only take credit for the draperies, pillows, and the piano bench seat. Everything else in the room was designed, selected, and constructed by Chip and Katie themselves.
Chip is the Manager of Eibye & Lynch Construction out of Walpole, MA and is a fantastic general contractor – as you can see his by impeccable workmanship in the built-in shelves, fireplace, and the whole room in general. I’ve had the pleasure of working on several projects with Chip, and I highly recommend him - in the stratosphere actually!
It is indeed a pleasure to provide decorating help to contractors on their own homes. One, you know they'll have everything exactly plumb and square. Two, they appreciate detail and fine craftsmanship because that is what they provide their clients every day. Three, they get it - beautiful homes contribute to making people happy, comfortable and serene.
Thanks to Katie and Chip for selecting me to help them deck out their house!
‘Tis the season for getting our homes and hearts ready for the holidays! To that end I attended a lovely holiday party for designers yesterday at Darby Road Home in Waltham, MA. (http://www.darbyroad.com/)
What fun, and an opportunity to see owner Michelle Coppolo’s new offerings of counter stools, as she showed us in the photo below.
For some reason, counter stools are super hard to source for designers and the buying public alike. I know this because recently I’ve helped several clients finish up their spectacular kitchen renovations by selecting stools, paint, lighting, wallpaper, and accessories – and finding the right stools was as hard as picking the right paint (and that just seems wrong). The discussion yesterday on this very subject among my designer colleagues was unanimous - there are too few places in the Boston area where you can actually see and test out a counter stool before you purchase it. Look in any design magazine featuring a kitchen and the counter stools are always featured prominently in rounding out the décor. Michelle and Darby Road Home to the rescue! And look at these beautiful offerings, all customizable in finish and fabric. Thank you, Michelle, for giving us a local store, a real treasure at that, to bring our clients to do the all important “sit test” on furniture and chairs.
And doubly thank you for a beautiful and elegant luncheon featuring a demonstration and workshop on holiday arrangements from Carol Hudson, Master Gardner from Wellesley, MA. (https://carolhudsondesigns.com/)
During her demonstration Carol described how at the holidays, you very likely have some suitable greenery right outside your window to form the backdrop for small arrangements—Japanese Pieris Andromeda (yes, right outside my dining room window as a matter of fact), juniper, spruce, and holly. She interspersed these greens with some roses for delicate detail, and the resulting arrangements were so lovely. We each had the opportunity to make our own (thank you Carol and Michelle!), and you see my friend Linda Woodard (of Linda’s Decors, http://www.lindasdecors.com/) with instructor Carol and her arrangement.
Thank you, Darby Road Home. Can’t wait to see all the new stock you are bringing in for 2019!
I’ve always loved the styling and fine wood craftsmanship of Windsor chairs and benches; a classic staple of New England homes that are still very current in all sorts of locales be they coastal, mountain, country, urban or suburban. When you think about the work involved in making such a chair/bench, and the subtle proportions involved, the Windsor style is truly a piece of art.
While my pursuit of a Windsor bench at the Brimfield Antiques Fair this past week was sadly unsuccessful, I did score a terrific resource to share with you. First, let me point you to the furniture maker I have long admired, O & G Studio in Rhode Island (oandgstudio.com) that makes the gorgeous Atlantic Settee Bench you may have seen in New England Home, Elle Décor, the New York Times, Lonny, Vogue, and various other publications. This is the bench I crave, and I have just the perfect striped fabric to make the crisp and tailored (but unstuffy) pieced cushion they feature here. Striking, isn’t it? And the black paint makes it look so modern and architectural.
For a dining area, Windsor chairs are very versatile and durable. Here’s a photo of my client Monica’s eating area with such stylish flair…I can’t take credit for the overall design, it’s all her creation! I was helping her with window treatments for the sliding door, and I couldn’t resist admiring the beautiful, kid-friendly, and fresh space that she had created. Bravo, Monica! I love it when my clients have a design point-of-view!
Finally, let me share with you some of my design and decorating work in the upstairs Ballroom of the famous Wayside Inn in Sudbury, MA. In the photo you can see the Birdcage Windsor chairs that the Inn favors in this small (50-person) function room ‘s space. In 2011, I had the privilege of totally renovating this room (and many others at the Wayside Inn) with new window treatments, bench cushions, carpeting, lighting, stenciling, and other historically accurate decorative features. I’m sure I’ll share more on those projects in future blog posts, but suffice to say it was a dream project for me; one that fueled my love of historic spaces and renovating with a period pieces and styles that are still very relevant today.
Barbara Phillips, interior designer and owner of Center Stage Interior Designs, has delivered impeccable window treatments and design services to both residential and commercial clients in Massachusetts since 2001.