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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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DUNN with taste

Collaborator Spotlight

 

I was so pleased when Studio Dunn asked that I be a guest contributor to their blog.  Asher and his team are a go-to source for us – both for well crafted furnishings and exemplary client service.  We’re pleased to be a DUNN collaborator.  Here’s the interview that appeared on their blog earlier this week…

Only the best,

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1. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your work. 

I first came to design in part due to my great love of color and the decoration of space. Over the last 15 years I have built a full spectrum interiors practice engaged with far more than décor. We focus on the life changes that motivate clients to remake the most fundamental and expressive space in their lives: a home. Whether clients are facing empty nests as children leave, building a new home by the sea, or updating their living space to reflect new visions, taste brings a wealth of resources and a sophistication of experience to create balanced, future-oriented and respectful interiors. Our best work reflects a process of collaboration, analysis and design at every level from the function and mechanical needs of space to its aesthetic character. Change is what draws us; beauty is what we leave behind.

I rely on classical arrangements of rooms, proportion and scale to right a home. Then, introduce modern details like layered lighting and sink-into sofas. As a result, our interiors exude a timeless quality and deliver equal parts comfort and function.

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2. How do you define coastal design? 

Coastal design is no different from other design styles that draw from nature and in doing so, create comfort and a sense of well-being. Making this connection with the external environment grounds us and reminds us that we are part of the larger, natural world. To achieve this on the coast, we rely on textural materials, references to water and a color palette drawn from the outdoors.

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3. Can you share your favorite design/decor elements from past projects? 

Natural materials, reimagined elements and original art are our trifecta we lean on time and time again when creating interiors for our clients. Natural materials often come in the form of stone such as quartzite and bluestone (we rarely use manmade alternatives) and high character wood species. Dunn’s Kingstown Stool is a favorite not only for its beautiful use of walnut, but its honest joinery and organic form.

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Reimagined elements bring a sense of history to a space and evoke positive memories for its inhabitants. For example, I’ll forever love the use of these porcelain art sink brackets on this Kitchen island.

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Lastly, original art always brings originality and a personal connection to our interiors, like this photo that captures a natural wood floor, a repurposed antique chair and original art by Neal Walsh.

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4. Yachts! Tell us about designing for yachts! 

We love designing the interiors of yachts – our newest design venture. While there are many similarities to residential design, there are a few important distinctions.

First, every element of the interior has a functional purpose on a yacht – some seen and some unseen. A loveseat, for example, can double as a handhold through a salon and a way to safely traverse from the galley to the cockpit while heeling. And the edge of a nightstand or table, referred to as the fiddle, helps to keep elements from rolling off surfaces while at sea. Oh and the open base of the sofa you’re imagining? Be sure it can incorporate the myriad of mechanicals that need to be hidden there.

Second, every inch and every surface matters. Creating a luxury interior in a space constrained, moving interior requires extreme precision and a hyper focus on the highest quality hard and soft materials. While a residential home has endless spaces to exude quality, a yacht has far fewer, so make the most of every opportunity to convey quality luxury.

Lastly, the project timeline on a yacht provides little room for error. When it sets sail and departs the shipyard after a project has been completed, its gone and you don’t have the chance to return to make adjustments or deliver that finishing element that was on backorder. Project management is crucial. (True story: We recently had a superstar window treatment installer agree to install during ‘sea trials’ when the boat was at sail and being tested to be sure it was seaworthy. It was crunch time and every hour mattered. Supreme collaborators like him help make the project timeline happen.)

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5. What is one piece of advice you find yourself telling clients on a regular basis? 

If you’re renovating a home, move out during construction. If you’re building and renting a home while your new home is being built, rent a home with a flexible lease. Despite everyone’s best intentions, project timelines get elongated. There are far too many humans involved in the build process to expect otherwise. Mistakes happen. Shipments are delayed. Products fail. Completion dates slip. Living out of the house during a renovation helps to move a project along. It’s the best piece of advice I give, benefiting taste, our collaborators and our appreciative clients.

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6. What is the most challenging aspect of interior design work? 

On any given day, our designers collaborate with 25-30 different builders, tradespeople and artisans. We need to know enough about each craft to maximize and often stretch its potential while always respecting the limitations. Communication and humility are key.

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7. What makes working in Rhode Island a unique experience? 

Hands down, direct access to exceptional craftspeople, artisans and fellow designers. We are so fortunate to have such talent in this state. My particular joy is discovering when your favorite millworker is working with your favorite wood turner and your favorite furniture finisher to complete a custom piece you’ve designed. There’s an active collaboration current always at work in Rhode Island that I’m proud to be a part of.

8. Who do you admire today in the architecture and/or design fields, and what are they doing that you admire? 

I’m a big admirer of Ilse Crawford’s work and design philosophy. She believes design is a powerful force that is often underestimated, misunderstood and trivialized. “It’s a mistake that [interior design] is considered a luxury to be applied if there is money left at the end, rather than an integral part of making and shaping new realities from the outset.” I couldn’t agree more.

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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

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Portrait of Artist Patrick Finster by Kelly Jo Shows

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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,

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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