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reflections on summer: new work by Dora Atwater Millikin & Susan Strauss

 

 

 

Our fresh coat of paint has dried and we’ve refreshed the gallery at taste, complete with new work brimming with images of warm days and nights.  Dora Atwater Millikin and Susan Strauss return to the gallery with bold and lively new work, just in time for summer.  Be sure to stop by the gallery at taste, Monday through Friday from 9am to 5 pm, to view Dora’s and Susan’s new selection of paintings.

About Dora…

Though not unfamiliar to our walls, we are pleased to show new work by the Massachusetts artist Dora Atwater Millikin. Known for her roadways, summer camper series and the geometry found in everyday life, we’re pleased to present a new series of early morning, evening and coastal scenes.

Dora Atwater Millikin Artist“Ordinary, mundane objects are featured, not omitted, and the works are meant to engage scenes of contemporary life that transcends the everyday. My urban subjects depict objects associated with a more leisurely life and are in direct contrast to nature.  Their titles such as “No Parking” or “Parking this side only” allude to the complicated network of rules and privileges installed to maintain order in an overly congested world.
As site specific as the places in my paintings may be, hopefully, anyone can relate to the universal nature of their activity.  What is my message?  My message is to find the rhythm and beauty in the world around me and to give an interpretation of life in my time as seen through my eyes.”

Also no stranger to the gallery at taste is Susan Strauss. Her loose, dynamic style captures the essence of the scene. Strauss brings a new set of small works featuring spring and summer hued landscapes to our gallery along with several large pieces that demand the center of attention.

susan-strauss-with-art-at-taste-grand-opening“Each new painting is fresh, open to risk and growth. I paint from direct observation of both inner and outer landscape.

Simply put, I am painting to make visible both seen and non-visual experiences, to explore their interconnection and to reveal their universality. 

My goal is to be present in my life and my paintings.”

In other gallery news… summer Gallery Nights will be back on July 20th and August 17th. Mark your calendars!

Thursday, July 20th :: 5 – 8 pm

On July 20th, we’ll feature the layering, textural artist Coral Bourgeois and her mosaic collaged pieces, Kelly Jo Shows’s unique Portrait of an Artist shoe paintings, local artist Christian Potter Drury’s playful, eclectic story pieces, and Jessica Pisano, whom you may recall is a sought after seascape artist. Jessica’s new series features birds in flight in her highly crafted and articulated oil techniques.

 

 

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Thursday, August 17th :: 5 – 8 pm

August 17th brings Debby Krim and The Colors of White photography study featuring the relationship between positive and negative space, Rhode Island artist Vanessa Piche who has added the Summer Tides and Gannett Summer boating series to her ever-popular shorelines and marsh paintings, Wendy Wahl’s 3D pieces made from unbound pages of discarded encyclopedias, and Tiffany Adams’ organic ceramic sculptures inspired by nature.

 

 

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Enjoy this glimpse of our current show with Dora Atwater Millikin and Susan Strauss or drop in anytime Monday – Friday between 9am – 5pm to view these stunning pieces in person. And as always, take advantage and “try before you buy” to view pieces in your home or office.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

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Dora Atwater Millikin – 8pm – oil on linen – 20 x 48 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Door, Drum – oil on linen – 28 x 20 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Night – oil on linen – 36 x 20 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Street Light – oil on linen – 30 x 20 i inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin  First Thing  – oil on linen – 24 x 36 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Morning – oil on linen – 36 x 20 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Night Driving – oil on linen – 20 x 28 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin –  Vortex – oil on linen – 48 x 72 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Summer Place – oil on linen – 24 x 30 inches

 

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Bellow Docks – oil on linen – 28 x 16 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Beach Street – oil on linen – 28 x 20 inches

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Susan Strauss –  Sky or Reflection? – oil on panel – 28 x 36 inches

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Susan Strauss – Exceptional Summer Moments – oil on panel – 12 x 16 inches

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Susan Strauss –  Pardon Gray Trees (left)  – oil on panel – 11.5 x 5 inches

Susan Strauss –  Pardon Gray Trees (right)  – oil on panel – 11.5 x 5 inches

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Susan Strauss – The Speed of Summer – oil on panel – 36 x 40 inches

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Susan Strauss –  Wonderful Place – oil on panel – 12 x 12 inches

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Susan Strauss –  Iconic – oil on panel – 12 x 18 inches

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Susan Strauss – Early July – oil on panel – 11 x 14 inches

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Susan Strauss – Entrance  – oil on panel – 12 x 16 inches

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artist spotlight: kelly jo shows

an artist and her many shoes

 

Last summer brought new artists to taste. Among the fresh talent were paintings by the unique portrait artist Kelly Jo Shows represented by Candita Clayton Gallery. Kelly Jo takes an unconventional approach into her creations, focusing on shoes rather than faces to represent her subjects’ personality. The shoes she’s given display wear from all walks of life. Some are hard-worn, speckled with paint, classy, comfortable (like bedroom slippers), dressy, or a multitude of colorful converse sneakers. Each is as individual as their owner, and Kelly Jo Shows captures this through her detailed portraits.

I’m excited as this summer approaches to be working with Kelly Jo on a commissioned family portrait (think shoes instead of head shots) that will perfectly complete the interior of our clients’ summer home. Kelly Jo has just the right amount of modern sophistication and unique style to create this young family’s portrait. I’m looking forward to the process — reviewing the shoe choices, delivering these carefully selected pairs to Kelly Jo, and watching her transform them into two-dimensional perfection.

Enjoy a sampling of Kelly Jo Show’s portraits below. She has more wonderful portraits on Candita’s website, and a great look behind the scenes on her Instagram page at @fearnoart11. Be sure to check both out.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

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A shot inside her studio.

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A completed commissioned piece drying on her easel.

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Portrait of Artist Billy Childish by Kelly Jo Shows

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Portrait of Artist Candy Chang by Kelly Jo Shows

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Portrait of Artist John Casey by Kelly Jo Shows

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Portrait of Artist Mark Ryden by Kelly Jo Shows

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Portrait of Artist Martha Coburn by Kelly Jo Shows

POA Martha Colburn KJ Shows

Portrait of Artist Patrick Finster by Kelly Jo Shows

POA PAtrick Finster KJ Shows

Portrait of Artist The Art Guys by Kelly Jo Shows

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Portrait of Artist TMNK by Kelly Jo Shows

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Portrait of artist Alan Neider by Kelly Jo Shows

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in review (times three)

in good taste throwback

 

Our blog posts have touched on many aspects of design—before & afters, inspirations, the driving forces (our designers), top-notch collaboration efforts and our gallery of talented artists. In reviewing this past year’s blog posts, we noticed a trend…your favorite posts were some of our favorite posts!

Your top three favorites were all “before & after” treatments to three very different residences—a turn of the century residence near Brown University, a nearly one hundred and twenty year old Jamestown home and a Little Compton summerhouse a stone’s throw from the water. All assembled here for your viewing pleasure.

Enjoy the posts, all over again.

Only the best,

Patti-Signature-Top-Bottom-Margin-WEB

before & after: a chic treatment for a providence classic

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before & after – a welcome home, at last

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before & after: modern beach cottage

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did you know?

fine european linens have arrived at taste

 

Late last fall as taste designer Candy Langan was wrapping up a yacht project, box after box started to arrive and pile up in our small studio. Inside the growing sea of boxes, were the most beautiful collection of custom towels, sheeting and linens we’ve ever had the pleasure to provide on a client project. As each was opened and organized for installation, we all got the fine linen bug…

Candy is masterful at detailing and crafting all the elements that go into a great night’s sleep. From baffled mattress pads to custom-embroidered sheets and down inserts topped with plush duvets and coverlets, Candy considers all layers for both ultimate comfort and aesthetic pleasure.

She draws from various sheeting collections, depending on the tastes of our clients,  including lushly woven linens reminiscent of a fine Italian dress shirt to sleek sateen offering its classic sheen and silken quality. Custom embroidery adds the perfect detail to personalize for our clients and finish our designs with a tailored elegance. Down and down-alternatives provide the right elements for every body and Candy’s even found an easy-care wash and dry line of fine sheeting that doesn’t forsake european elegance.

As a result, we’ve all climbed aboard and are excitedly incorporating fine linens into our designs — now more easily accessible to us and to our clients.

Sweet dreams,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

 

Candy’s fine linens and bedding installed on yachts…

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Custom bedding by taste provides the finishing touch to these rooms at our Newport clients’ home…

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Exquisite details…

 

taste designers Julia Reinalda and Wendi Dicely Scalora have incorporated custom bedding into these bedroom palettes, ready for install this summer…

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practice makes better

a progress report on our use of Sketch-up

In 2016, team taste more fully employed the 3D modeling tool Sketch-up than ever before.  From furnishing drawings to cabinetry detailing to full room interiors, we turned to Sketch-up often to work through the scale and proportion of our designs and illustrate our interiors. But it wasn’t always so…

Years ago, taste designer Kevin Baker and I used Sketch-up with some success, yet often found the rough edges of the design program caused more concern with our clients than answered questions. After receiving several raised eyebrows during client meetings, we took a step back and returned to relying on CAD to work through and convey our ideas.

Then — Ashley arrived.

taste designer Ashley DelVecchio renewed our confidence in the tool with her lightening fast speed and plug-in know how. She helped us turn rough sketches into well lit renderings – complete with wood finishes, tile selections and reflections in glass. Soon, we all began to rely on the program and the power it had to enrich our design process and help our clients envision— and build confidence in—our designs.

Our progress continues and we have big plans for Sketch-up in 2017. Stay tuned as Julia Reinalda joins the ranks of savvy Sketch-up designers and Kevin expands the use of the program to convey construction details.

A sampling of recent 3D renderings follow, to inspire and help envision your next project.

Only the best,

Patti-Signature-Top-Bottom-Margin-WEB

 

Simple line drawings of a Kitchen island helped our clients imagine the functionality this additional cabinetry brought to their space.

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Renderings of this Kitchen helped us get the scale and detailing of this millwork design spot-on in this historic home. We intentionally restrained from adding additional color and material finishes so we could study the millwork profiles, without the distraction of other surfaces.

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We used this same monochromatic approach in this master bedroom. The lack of color helped us to study the millwork design, custom bed and additional natural light created by the mirrors on the wardrobe doors.

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Then, we used the same Sketch-up approach in the master bathroom at this client’s home. Larger and additional windows produced the abundant natural light our client wished for, and the renderings helped to confirm the positive outcome.

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We turned to Sketch-up once again in this rendering by Ashley. The illustrations provided taste clients with our vision to visually expand the shower with glass, and presented an option for natural wood upper cabinets, or painted. (We all decided the natural wood upper cabinets were best.)

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Kevin has been collaborating with local architect Mary Meagher on a cottage renovation, including the addition of second floor dormers. To help our Chicago-based client understand the options, Kevin’s using Sketch-up to develop massing models that are emailed to our client for review and consideration.

 

Ashley created these Sketch-up renderings of the cottage featured above, complete with artwork from the gallery at taste – patiently waiting to takes its place of honor at our client’s home this summer.

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in good company: george penniman architects

the joy of collaboration

 

 

Even with today’s frigid temperatures, I enjoyed every minute of my first site meeting at a new coastal home project we’re working on with George Penniman Architects.  (Coastal ‘breezes’ in December, no insulation just yet and the polar vortex all made for a slightly limb numbing afternoon.)

George and his associate Catherine (Cat) Young have designed a perfectly scaled second home for our Connecticut clients and their active family, who have summered in the Charlestown, Rhode Island neighborhood for years. With views to the marsh and a short walk to the beach, the house is located in an idyllic coastal neighborhood and carries a skillful design that respects the local community while answering our clients’ wishlist.  Add to that well-considered details inside and out, abundant natural light and ease of flow from interior to exterior spaces, and you have a dream home in the making thanks to Penniman Architects.

And just when you think the project can’t get any better, our thoughtful client arrived today with lunch for the entire crew led by master builder Gardner Woodwrights — a consummate builder if I’ve ever met one.

Snapshots from today’s visit, along with a favorite house designed by Penniman follow below.  I’ll keep you updated as we collaborate on this project in the coming months, in good company and with great pleasure.

Only the best,

Patti-Signature-Top-Bottom-Margin-WEB

A view into the Kitchen’s breakfast nook.

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The plumbers were on-site today, applying some elbow grease to the project.

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A view into the Sunroom.

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The afternoon sun setting on the Sunroom and Master Bedroom above.

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The front elevation, complete with eyebrow roofline.

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A view to the marsh.

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A completed Penniman project I adore…

 

from the designer desk of julia reinalda…

Taste designer Julia Reinalda has been hard at work doing what she loves most, and what has become her specialty the past few years: the design of custom furnishings and fixtures.  This time, it’s a tiered chandelier adorned with blown glass orbs lit from within that will hang in our client’s new dining room.

Designing pieces like this take time and perseverance and of course, great artisan collaborators.  Julia called upon one of her longtime favorites to help out with the framework for this piece, Avrett, and our friends local glass artisans Clancy Designs to blow the orbs and assemble the fixture.  From initial sketches to samples of glass to production ready drawings, Julia’s been orchestrating the piece from day one, and won’t stop hovering until its hung next Spring.  Check out the design and pre-production process below and watch for photos of the finished product in 2017.

Only the best,

Patti-Signature-Top-Bottom-Margin-WEB

Designer Julia Reinalda was able to translate our clients’ needs and personal taste into an elegant, yet playful, sketch that would soon become the focus of a beautiful dining room.

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With colors selected, Julia was able to talk with local glassblowers David and Jennifer Clancy and together, design three different sized orbs to hang from the chandelier, ranging in several different shades of aqua. Avrett will make the multi-level custom frame  that supports the lights the orbs from within.

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Multiple colors from rich turquoise to a subdued winter sky blue will be used in the design.

 

From here, taste designer Ashley DelVecchio drew a rendering with intended orbs on Julia’s preliminary sketch. Ashley was then able to fabricate a 3D image that allowed her to select different sized balls for the chandelier. There will be 142 hand-blown glass orbs ranging from two to four inches – orbital bliss!

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Inspired: Grasscloth & Raffia

timeless texture for walls and beyond

 

It’s always a relief when a design element we love stands the test of time and elevates from trend to timeless.  This high regard for a material gives us permission to continue to use an element we rely on to add character and texture to a room.

Thankfully, grasscloth has safely settled into this category.  I’ve been using grasscloth on walls for years now.  (If you’re a client, you may be nodding in agreement…yes, Patti did encourage me to incorporate grasscloth when we did the Powder Room/Dining Room/Foyer years ago…).

Today, we’re happily awash in textural choices ranging from chic grasscloth to nubby and natural raffia.  The options are endless, especially if you add a second dynamic such as a custom-painted pattern or interspersed metallics. The range in color offers another variation, from natural earth tones to dyed saturated palettes.

And, we continue to explore the surfaces we can apply this fantastic texture.  Lately, we’ve lined bookshelves and cabinets and covered furniture ranging from simple tables to more challenging bureaus.  It’s rare that an interior we’re designing doesn’t include at least one element of grasscloth or raffia, and there’s no end in sight.

We’ll keep exploring the possibilities and continue to joyfully incorporate this newly minted timeless element into our interiors.  Inspiration follows…

Only the best,

Patti-Signature-Top-Bottom-Margin-WEB

Using textural naturals is a great way to create an interesting neutral background that lets bolder furnishings and accessories shine in the foreground .grasscloth---neutrals-fanned

Textures vary from smooth to nubby and everything in between.grasscloth---smooth-to-nubby-texture

Creative use of color can accent bookshelves, furniture and walls. Neutrals as a backdrop create a rich contrast against dark furnishings. Bold expressions of color allow for a grand statement.grasscloth---trio-samples

Classic blue grasscloth finishes a modern console in this coastal home.01B-before-&-after-living-room-gold-award-taste-interior-design-coastal-seaside-home

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These custom nesting tables used neutral shades and complemented the client’s existing navy sofa, lightening the ambience in the room. grasscloth-nesting-tables

A grasscloth covered coffee table, complete with a mitered design on the top and ten coats of hardworking varnish, sits proud in the gallery at taste.

(And, has beautifully stood the test of time after several taste cocktail parties.)grasscloth---gallery-thibaut-table

One of my favorite Dining Rooms, with shimmery grasscloth above the chair rail.  There’s no wall too big or too small for these versatile wall coverings.A taste-interior-designer-dining-room-artwork-photography - Copy

 

For something a little more powerful, consider hand-painted wall coverings.grasscloth---patterns

Patterns and play with contrasting colors can make a statement to small rooms or even grand foyers like this entry hall and two-story stairwell.foyer-after2

The gentle colors in this floral-patterned grasscloth contributes to the elegance in this powder room.grasscloth---patterned-bathroom

in the home stretch

three projects nearly ready for the summer season

Spring is in the air and that means we’re busy finishing summer homes for the now in-sight season. I admit, I love this next six week period leading up to Memorial Day.  A deadline junkie, I thrive in the final days of finish construction.  We’re up to our necks in finishing details, questions, problem solving and client pleasing.  And the builders, artisans and craftspeople we rely on are right there with us.  These are the days that test productive collaborations.  Inevitably what binds us during trying moments is our shared unending commitment to quality – even in the face of a looming deadline.

Here’s a sneak peek at three projects entering the final finish phase – each is a hive of activity right now.  Many thanks to Dave Brown, Steve Demetrick and Bob van Cleef for leading the crews at each of these homes.  It may look like there’s still lots left to do, but that’s all part of the exhilaration in the coming few weeks…

Stay tuned for finished photos later this summer after our clients return from their winter roosts and settle in for the summer in their new spaces.

Only the best,

Patti-Signature-Top-Bottom-Margin-WEB

#1.  A restored cottage by the sea for oh-so fabulous clients and their daughters.

picture-window-with-view-bedroom-east-sideA view to the sea.

library-2A view to the Dining Room.

brick-accentAn orderly laundry area takes shape.

shower-tile-placement-master-bathThe master shower nearly complete.

 

#2. A chic pool house for long-standing and long-appreciated clients.

pool-house-main-room-counter-sink-and-pendantWalnut trimmed cabinetry in the Kitchenette.

pool-house-bathroom-tile-vanityTerrazzo countertops in the Bathroom.

pool-house-main-room-crystal-knob-hardwareFinishing touches in glass.

pool-house-main-room-tile-floorA glass mosaic floor resembles the pool itself.

#3.  A historic home designed for a fun loving family who loves to throw a party.

brick-layoutBricks are carefully laid out and prepared for installation on the mudroom floor.

built-insBookcases are completed and nearly ready for our client’s collection.

kitchenNext to go in: everything, including the Kitchen sink.

Why Take On the Task of Custom Design?

Elle Decor’s View on the Patience and Payoff of Custom Made

As much as I love pouring through my shelter magazines every month and dissecting nearly every design detail of every room shown, my most favorite page is consistently the Editor’s Page. When Margaret Russell, Ann Maine, Clinton Smith or Michael Boodro share their opening remarks, its as though I’m meeting with a good friend for tea and we instantly pick up where our last conversation left off. We get excited about the same topics, giggle at the same jokes and get exasperated at similar daily hassles and joys.

This couldn’t have been more true than when I read this month’s Elle Decor’s note from always on-point Editor in Chief, Michael Boodro. He goes right to my heart and talks of the highs and lows of embarking on a custom home. “…custom made connotes luxury and yields pleasure.  But it also demands patience.  It costs more.  And more often than not, it is a pain in the ass.”

Exactly!  I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I’m sharing his editorial page with all of you.

Rest assured, there is payoff to the (sometimes) pain.  As evidence, I’m so fortunate to have dear clients share with me all the reasons why they are pleased they committed to the custom design process — after they’ve taken residence in their newly built or renovated homes. I even have a client who witnesses a joyful moment every day with an interior moulding detail, the scale of a room, the profile of a handrail or an overhang on her windows and then shares these with me. (You know who you are and I adore you.) These moments are the payoff for committing to and sometimes enduring the trials of custom design.

But make no mistake, it is a commitment. Custom made requires patience and dedication to creating something uniquely yours that expresses you, fits you and even grows with you in time. (A good design can do that.) It requires collaborating with your architect and designer probably far beyond what you even imagined, to get it right for you.

It also requires working with people who share your dedication and speak your language. And get excited when they read an editorial like this one and say out loud as I did, “Yes – that’s so true!”

Enjoy Michael’s comments and a few examples of our custom designs – created for and with some of our most favorite clients who enjoy all the benefits of custom made, now that the hard work is done.

All the best,

Patti-Signature-Top-Bottom-Margin-WEB

taste-design-inc-agrees-with-elle-decorHIGHLIGHTED

 

 

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This traditional kitchen defines “custom”. Details stand out in the island cabinetry and its artful brackets, the glass china display with its sliding doors and diamond fretwork, the coffered ceiling with customized mouldings and the built in wine fridges flanked by a matching paneled freezer and refrigerator.

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Close up of the custom moulding in the previously mentioned photograph.

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This Newport library boasts mahogany paneling, built-in bookshelves complete with a library ladder and a handsome burl wood fireplace surround all crafted by Joe Yoffa. taste designed the fireplace screen with our favorite blacksmith Jay Christman, lending a customized and complementary design element in this cozy space.

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This unique and custom-designed glass shower enclosure frames beautiful marble tilework in this Providence home. Elegant moulding follows the simple curves of the glass wall and soaking tub, making this master bath a spa retreat for the owners.

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These custom built-in cabinets built by Stephen Demetrick, double as a bookshelf and media storage system. When not in use, the toe-kick drawers and cabinet doors can be closed to seamlessly blend with the paneling running the perimeter of this stately study.

Photo Credit: Robyn Ivy Photography,  LeFebvre Photo