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concept, restoration & replication

behind the scenes in historic newport

Bringing a significant Newport Historic District residence into the modern day with upgraded systems while retaining its architectural integrity is an exciting assignment.  And a challenging one.  There are countless moments in the project when we—the architect and the builder—are faced with the now familiar question: how much do we invest in restoring an original element vs. creating a replica that carries the same story and delivers a more stable element able to endure the next 100 years?

The truth is, you have to pick and choose.  Carefully.

Too much replacement, however exact the replica may be, risks looking too new and inauthentic.  Too much rehabilitation to original elements can begin to spiral the project out of cost control.  The answer lies in carefully selecting those elements to restore, that provide high-touch/high-value to the project.  Restoring original details like the hardwood floor, windows and millwork features such as fireplaces, ensures the home retains its position as a historic home.

But what about interior doors, for example?  Should they be saved?  (I should mention – they are 1 3/4″ thick with a unique raised panel/chamfer detail and mortised hardware.  Every element is done right.) The truth is, we tried and found that so much modification to the doors the past 100 years left them patched, shaved at the bottom and so unique in sizing that they no longer fit our new plumb and true rough openings. The answer was to create exact replicas of the doors and refinish and reuse the original hardware.

These decisions require supreme collaboration amongst all project partners and we’re fortunate to be working with the A team on this one – Parker Construction Company and Patrick Ahearn Architect.  Not to mention fantastic, respectful clients who trust we’ve got their mission to balance restoration with modernization top of mind, every step of the way.

And as we make our way through stripping back and rebuilding this historic gem, we have the privilege of seeing these original details up close and personal and replicating to a tee.  A nice assignment, indeed.

Scroll through images below for a peek at our conceptual design and progress shots during construction.  We’ll share photos throughout our progress this winter/next spring as we deliver this home back to its family next summer, ready for the next 100 years of Newport life.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

Exterior Details, During Construction:

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Interior Details, During Construction :

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Our Interiors Concept:

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New Meets Old:

 

In Progress:

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meet team taste member Ashley LeFebvre

 

ashley.jpgWhen designing a home, there are so many opportunities for a client to breathe their own personality into their space. We encourage it and it’s always been one of our guiding service principles.

As a team we work hard to understand our clients’ unique vision and then refine it, synthesize it, and evolve it into a language that speaks directly to them. I get to illustrate that language in drawings that clearly communicate our design ideas. It’s magical to be a part of that team effort, everyday.

— Ashley LeFebvre

If you’ve ever benefited from a taste-generated 3D rendering, chances are you have Ashley LeFebvre to thank.  Ashley has been with taste since 2013 and since joining has steadfastly advanced taste’s drawing practice while simultaneously growing as a designer and contributor.  (We admiringly refer to her as our ‘tech whiz’ and lean on Ashley for far more than just drawing technology.  She has a knack for understanding technology architecture that never ceases to amaze.)
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After graduating from The University of Hartford with a degree in Architectural Engineering Technology, Ashley worked in retail design, using her space planning and technology skills to create product displays and merchandising designs.  At taste, she’s adept at using a portfolio of applications including CAD, Sketch-up, Photoshop and cutting edge rendering tools like Podium to create perspectives that instantly help clients understand a design.  (Not to mention the builders, craftspeople and artisans we work with.)
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Never one to sit still, Ashley can also be found in the field, collecting field dimensions and checking on framing and finishing progress throughout a project. Her close working relationship with taste Senior Designer Kevin Baker brings an understanding of construction, cabinetry and finish details that complement Ashley’s technology savvy.  Add to that, she works with taste interior designers to design and illustrate custom furniture pieces, lighting fixtures and intricate tile layouts.
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During her downtime, Ashley loves to take a break from technology to make art, read or garden. And as one of our newest taste newlyweds, she uses her abundant creativity to plan and host out-of-this-world dinner parties with her chef husband at their Connecticut home. Her wizardy never ends…
Only the best,
patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston
Radesca Residence Stairs
Radesca Residence Sitting Room
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don’t miss our summer culmination event

linger & learn this thursday, 6-8p

 

Imagine thisI’m writing this on the ferry from Jamestown to Newport early Saturday morning on my way to the Newport Folk Festival. The boat is filled with happy people, the sky is blue and the sun is warm already.
It’s Folk Fest time here in Rhode Island – that glorious weekend in July many of us crave all year long. Three days of exceptional music and easy going, friendly attitudes. (Not to mention so many great artists in town throughout next week, too, before Jazz Fest next weekend.)
Of all the honored Folk Festival traditions, my favorite moments are the impromptu mash-ups that happen on stage throughout. Jim James is notorious for this, popping up on the Quad stage to join an up-and-coming artist after his solo performance on the Fort (main) stage. This understood practice of supportive collaboration culminates on Sunday night when scores of artists we’ve swayed and sang to join together for a few final songs of ultimate folk. It’s magical. Each artist is made better by their fellow musicians and we all feel the sheer power and quality of creative collaboration.
We’re doing our version of the Folk Fest Sunday night culmination this Thursday, August 2nd, from 6-8 at our last linger & learn this summer. All the artists we’ve introduced and welcomed back this summer will be represented for a group show that promises to mash-up our best.
Our headliners for the night are Jessica Pisano, Jenn and David Clancy and Melinda Cox of Balanced Design.
Melinda, a textile artist who designs, prints and fabricates her designs locally will give our artist talk beginning at 6:45 pm. She’s a working artist and designer with a deep well of knowledge and passion about sharing her process and work with others. It’s sure to be informational and inspiring treat.
Sneak peeks of work by Jessica, the Clancy’s and Melinda follow below to entice you.
See you Thursday (or later this weekend at Folk Fest!)
Only the best,
patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

Works by textile artist Melinda Cox:

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Enjoy works by Jamestown-resident artists Jenn & David Clancy:

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Serene seascapes and surreal bird oil paintings by Jessica Pisano:

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scheme starters

taste designers share their favorite interior elements

 

 

 

 

Summer time has us scheming up rooms and homes from Boston’s South Shore (yes, we’ll work in Boston!) to Barrington to Westerly and boats in between.  The studio is brimming with new materials, furnishings and art as we scour, edit and assemble interiors for our client projects.  Often, we’re inspired by a rug, a piece of art or a fixture that becomes a starter scheme for a future project.  These starter schemes are throughout the studio (and in our designers’ imaginations) just waiting for the perfect opportunity to come to life.  Take a peek at the seeds of a room, ready to grow into a fresh space and reach out if one speaks to you!

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston
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“I love this antique Persian runner. The orange, blue and citron feel so fresh even though it’s 100 years old! The Serena & Lily console table is a piece that could work well in many homes; the grasscloth provides great texture and a coastal feel. The Hwang Bishop (made in Warren, RI) sculptural lamp would pair nicely, with its clean lines and rectilinear shapes.”
— Julia Reinalda

 

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Sources:

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Hwang Bishop Lamp
 
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“Making a coastal home feel fresh is one of my most favorite client assignments.  Layering graphic patterns with organic materials keeps it upbeat and in-situ at the beach.  And, as a dabbling artist myself, I always try and finish a room with original art, however small, to provide the integrity that only handmade objects bring.”

— Michaela Palmer

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Sources:
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“I like working with traditional shapes and patterns but add
an infusion of fresh color and interesting shapes to create happy, joyful spaces.”
— Wendi Dicely-Scalora
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join us at linger & learn — this thursday!

featuring art talk with Tracy Glover & special guest Alyn Carlson

 

Be sure to attend our 2nd of three linger & learn events this Thursday, 6/28 from 6pm – 8pm.  Last month’s event was a warm gathering marked with gallerist Candita Clayton sharing her insights on the benefits of collecting handmade objects.  Candita’s encouragement to engage and collaborate with an artist, instead of just buying from afar, is the topic of our July and August linger & learn events.

On Thursday evening, artist Tracy Glover will share how she engages with designers and homeowners to select from her artisan lighting fixtures and objects to complement a home.  (Her talk will begin at 6:45 pm, so be sure to time your arrival.  You won’t want to miss it.)

Tracy regularly welcomes clients and designers into her Pawtucket studio to understand her process, see work in progress and be inspired by the possibilities of her glass lighting and objects.  We’ll recreate a small version of Tracy’s studio at taste, enabling her to share with our guests an experience similar to visiting her in Pawtucket.  She’ll provide examples of her work and taste designers will chime in with case studies of interiors we’ve designed that incorporate Tracy’s work.

As a special bonus, artist Alyn Carlson will also contribute to the dialog and share how she and Tracy are collaborating on a special project.  Alyn’s work is in the gallery at taste this summer and her relationship with fellow artist Tracy is a wonderful view into the way artists work together in our small state of abundant talent.

And if that’s not enough to tempt you to join us, we’ll welcome back Vanessa Piche to the gallery at taste with new work and introduce artist Kate Wilson’s brilliant works in photography as well.

The red front door opens at 6pm and Tracy’s talk will start at 6:45 pm.  Join us for what I expect to be a lovely, inspirational evening.

(To tempt you even more, work from Tracy, Vanessa and Kate follows below.)

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

Scenes from last month’s linger & learn event featuring gallerist Candita Clayton with work by Kelly Milukas, Susan Freda and Alyn Carlson.

 

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Kate Wilson joins us with her joy-filled works that are “lovingly dye-sublimated onto aluminum”.  We’re thrilled to have the energy and positivity of her work in our midst.

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Tracy Glover’s pendants, light fixtures and glass objects are works of art we regularly incorporate into our client homes because of their timeless qualities.  Never overly trendy or kitschy, Tracy’s work brings the quality of craft to an interior for years of come.

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Dear friend and coastal artist Vanessa Piche can be seen on the beach and in the marsh capturing the color, light and scenes of our seaside towns.  Ever working and always vibrant, we love having Vanessa around us and with us each summer.Vanessa Piche 20180430-17Vanessa Piche Hiking with Friends HR

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highlights from linger & learn

the first of three evenings in our 2018 summer series

 

 

The first event in our 2018 summer series was a lovely gathering, filled with friends and rich learning opportunities.  The gallery at taste is brimming with art by Kelly Milukas, Susan Freda and Alyn Carlson.  Be sure to stop by this month to see their exquisite work.

Candita Clayton was in the house to kick-off the linger & learn series, with insights on how to demystify selecting art and how to best engage with an artist to deepen the experience of acquiring art.  And, equally imporatant – curbing those tendencies to fill your walls with anything less than a handmade piece of art.

A good time was had by all.  Be sure to attend a linger & learn event later this summer – Thursday evenings, June 28th and August 2nd.

Enjoy the snapshots and videos of Candita’s talk below.  Remember, our doors are open all summer long for doses of artful inspiration…

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

 

 

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announcing taste’s linger & learn summer series

join us!

We hear from many of you that you look forward to our open studio events every summer for connection and inspiration. We’re so glad. Since 2015, we’ve opened our red front door for three Thursday evenings in the summer to welcome friends, neighbors and favorite artists to our gallery.

This summer we’re expanding to include an art & design learning opportunity each evening. I’m bubbling over with excitement and pride about our guest speaker and artist line-up. (I met with artist Susan Freda this week to select her work that we’ll debut at the gallery at taste later this month and I’m over the moon excited. She is an extraordinary artist creating work from the heart that speaks to so many people.)

Our first Linger & Learn event happens Thursday evening, May 31st from 6pm – 8pm at our Jamestown Studio. Join us then for a cocktail and a nibble to absorb art wisdom from friend and gallerist Candita Clayton and take in the work of Susan Freda, Kelly Milukas and Alyn Carlson.

Here’s why you should attend…

At twenty-one years old, Candita started collecting art with $125 she’d scraped together after college to buy a small print that spoke to her. Since then, she’s added to her own collection, edited friends’ and clients’ collections and demystified art buying along the way.  Today, that print still hangs in her living room and symbolizes her buy-what-you-love philosophy to acquiring handmade objects.

Candita will share her approach to buying original art (at any price point – even $125), including:

  • How to start thinking about filling that empty space on your wall(s);
  • When to buy art, and when not to buy art. (Hint: vacation art-buying often doesn’t pan out in the long run);
  • How to engage with an artist to add meaning to the art you acquire;
  • When to support an emerging artist and what to consider;
  • Making a financial investment in art and what kind of return you should expect.

The red front door opens at 6pm and Candita’s talk will start at 6:45 pm-ish. Join us for what I expect to be a lovely, inspirational evening.

(To tempt you even more, work from Susan, Kelly and Alyn follows below.)

Only the best,

 

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

P.S.  Mark your calendars for all the Linger & Learn events this summer…

Thursday, May 31st with gallerist Candita Clayton

Thursday, June 28th with glass artist Tracy Glover

Thursday, August 2nd with textile artist Melinda Cox

 

 

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Sue Freda – Kozo Dress

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Kelly Milukas – Spinal – 18 x 10 inches

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Sue Freda – Abaca Dress

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Alyn Carlson – Aqua Linea 1316

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Kelly Milukas – Oxygen – 6 x 6 inches

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Sue Freda – Collagraph 2

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Kelly Milukas – Done at Dawn Bandwidth

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Sue Freda – Collagraph 5

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Kelly Milukas – Drench Gaia

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Sue Freda – Filasidus

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Kelly Milukas – Oceanic – 10 x 10 inches

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Sue Freda – Hyacinth Vitroll

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keeping craft alive: spotlight on urban electric

the urban electric co. of charleston, south carolina

We have long relied on Urban Electric Co. for exceptionally crafted lighting fixtures – all bench made to order and to our specifications.  Seeing their company featured in a recent article in Business of Home and learning more about their dedication to nurturing the next generation of artisans makes our support of their company that much stronger.

With thoughtfulness and intention, they recruit artisans from diverse backgrounds and engage them in a 12-18 month apprenticeship program to become craftspeople.  (Currently, half of the 40 craftspeople working in the shop are women.)  Based on their contributions and craft, there’s a clear path to become senior craftspeople and eventually master craftspeople with the company.

This is exactly the approach we need to keep craft alive in our field, and in our country.  We couldn’t be more proud to support Urban Electric and other artisans dedicated to the revitalization of craft.  Join us!

Only the best,

Patti-Signature-Top-Bottom-Margin-WEB

Urban Electric Co. featured in Business of Home:UE article taste

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Urban Electric Co.’s Yolanda, at our client’s home overseeing the installation of their fixtures.

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Urban Electric Co.’s fixtures featured in just a few of our many client homes:

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meet taste team member Michaela Palmer

 

 

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Designing a space is more than just the big reveal at the end. It’s about understanding how the space can evolve to fit the needs of the people or family living there. There are so many layers that make a house a home.  Embrace the process and enjoy the journey.

Michaela Palmer, Interior Designer

Many of you may know Michaela as our ever-calm and always reliable production manager who joined taste in 2014. As taste’s Production Manager, Michaela estimated, ordered, followed and received all the elements of a home—from custom furniture to tile to lighting.  She learned the many facets involved in the design process and how every dimension, finish and material selection counts toward the final outcome. This experience developed her deep appreciation for attention to detail and a firm belief that organization and precision, from conception to realization, ensures a high quality design experience.

You may not know that Michaela has a fine arts background, with a BA degree from Towson University and a degree in Interior Design. Her classical arts training and study of concept and color composition is revealed in her work everyday, as our newest interior designer. (Not to mention her incredible talent for hand-lettering; even her everyday note taking is elegantly crafted.)

In addition to her creativity and end-to-end understanding of the design process, Michaela brings a love of family and home-making to her client work. She and husband, Greg, live in Warwick with their sweet puppy Murphy. Weekends are often spent with her family and frequent trips to Boston to visit her sisters, nieces and nephew.

Whether starting with an empty room or a well-loved family home needing an upgrade, Michaela brings a balance of creativity and practicality when helping her clients realize their own home-making dreams. And for her, the reward comes when watching clients’ reactions as personalized furnishings she’s created are unveiled and made ready for their time with family. Well done, Michaela.

Only the best,

 patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston
Michaela at work on a soothing master suite.
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The big reveal…  Michaela commissioned these paintings by Dora Atwater Millikin for a favorite client.
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Michaela’s warm smile is ever present, especially during our annual holiday open house when we welcome children of all ages to create ornaments in our studio.
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Never shy to take on an assignment big or small, Michaela can often be found at a photo shoot lending a hand.  This time, it was art-spotting.
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Fine details are exciting!  Michaela brings the joy of discovery and detail to her client work.  Not to mention a ton of fun.

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susan freda comes to taste

organic sculptures arrive this summer

 

 

We are so pleased to announce that Susan Freda will join the artists we covet and support at The Gallery at taste.  A long admirer of Susan’s work, I have had the opportunity to come to know her personally the past few months, and now understand her delicate magic comes from within.

More on her work…

Susan Freda is a sculptor and jeweler known for her organic, ephemeral, and intricate style. She employs form, light, and line as vehicles to create her airy, kinetic, and luminescent pieces. Her work is recognized for its unusual processes, signature weaving, and for its delicate and exquisite craftsmanship.
Susan is a RISD and Massachusetts College of Art and Design graduate.  She’s received multiple awards and has been presented in NY Fashion Week, Stuart Weitzman, Neiman Marcus, Ferragamo, Cirque du Soleil, and by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Artists Gallery (among many others). Her work also appears in numerous private as well as corporate collections. (To see her full biography visit her webpage.)

Look for upcoming Summer gallery dates when we’ll feature Susan’s work and celebrate her artistry.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

artist spotlight susan freda

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Land II

 

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Weave Print

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Abaca Dress

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Ala Stellans (Starry Wing)

 

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Small Blue Dress Collagraph #3

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Blue Dress Collagraph with Red Accents

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Fios Foram (Wildflower)

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Gloria Vitis (Butterfly Vine)

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Forma I

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Mandala

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Red & Blue Line Print

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Rutilus (Red) Dress

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Vitro Tapetum II (Glass Tapestry) Dress

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Mavro Stratus Dress

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Vitro III

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Unda Cereus (Waxen Waves)