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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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“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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“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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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…

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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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beach house envy

snapshots from this week’s installation in charlestown, rhode island

It was delightful to watch the details come together this week as we did our first of two installations this month at our client’s new Charlestown (that’s Quonnie, for you Rhode Islander’s) beach house.  Custom details abound in this house and we were thrilled to work with clients who appreciate creativity and fine craftsmanship.

As a result, we poured it on in this sweet home architected by George Penniman and built by master craftsmen at Gardner Woodwrights.  More snapshots to follow throughout the summer as we add more layers of color, graphics and art that capture our client family’s spirited attitude and endless love of summer.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

 

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the devilish details

finishing the Summer ’17 Homes by taste

 

I’ve always preferred to believe god was in the details rather than the devil.  It’s a far more positive way of sustaining the focus and the energy needed to get finishing details right.  Especially now, when the pressure is on for our team to finish the finely crafted and designed homes we’ve been working on for nearly two years.

Every space plan, cabinetry design, coffered ceiling, tile detail, fixture, finish, color and wall covering (this is an endless list) takes its place in the overall vision we’ve had for the home.  And when clients, and even our builder friends we’ve worked with side-by-side,  begin to see color go on the walls and light fixtures installed, they breathe a sigh of relief.

They’ve trusted (sometimes skeptically, but that’s ok; we’re used to the raised eyebrows) our ability to see the final finish and lead decisions about the details we knew to be truly important to the overall design.  And that trust is validated when they stand back and see how the wall covering in the dining room works with the pantry color, and kitchen light fixtures complement the stone countertops.  That “I get it moment” for our clients is pure payoff for us.

Of course it doesn’t end there; just as the hardwood, stone, tile and color go in, there’s another layer of detail ready to be installed.  Features such as cabinetry hardware, the restored settee, the custom draperies and the commissioned artwork truly finish the work and makes those rooms sing.

Stay tuned as we finish and share sneak peeks of the Summer ’17 Homes by taste.  Until then, snapshots of finished interior details follow, to inspire you this summer.

Only the best,

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time to refresh

spring styling, inside

It’s official! Spring has arrived.  With warmer temperatures upon us, we’re lightening things up at taste.  Over the next few weeks we’ll be taking our cue from nature and transforming our gallery with a fresh coat of paint, outdoor furnishings and bright pillow accents that complement our newest selection of paintings from Dora Atwater Millikin, Susan Strauss and Christian Potter Drury.

For a little inspiration, take a look at this fresh living room we designed and installed in seven short days at Middletown’s Bancroft on the Bluffs for Newport Life Magazine earlier this Spring. Be sure to check out the two slideshows that illustrate the process of layering furnishings, art and accessories and bring Spring inside in your own home.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

Choosing a new piece of art can reenergize a room. Modern art by Diana Bunting (above the mantel) and Theresa Girard (over the sofa), are from Jessica Hagan Art + Design and bring in blues, mimicking the ocean view, and add a fresh perspective. Another way to lighten a wintery-warm atmosphere, is to add natural fiber pieces like these Maguire woven chairs, rattan side tables, raffia lamp shades (Newport Lamp & Shade) and a fun-patterned rug like this coral-infused Rustigian Rugs flat weave. The antique Biedermeier chair (lower right) mimics the natural fiber running throughout the room and adds a touch of elegance.

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Adding greenery like the bright orange vase of tulips (Secret Garden) on the Thibaut grasscloth coffee table is a great reminder of spring.

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Sometimes an unused corner lends itself well as a bar or writing desk (or both like the Hickory Chair game table we used below). Tuck freshly upholstered stools beneath a narrow desk or table, add a lamp (Hwang Bishop), a gilded tray, fresh fruit and a couple of refreshments and you have a great space to make drinks next time you have guests over. Don’t forget a focal point such as the “Green’s Pier” painting in this vignette.

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Here are a few more detailed glimpses of this fresh living room overlooking Second Beach. We enjoyed selecting classic pieces to ground the large space and provide a sense of permanence and were able to juxtapose history with textural elements but keep the overall appeal current by adding a parsons table and acrylic plant stand, mixing the old with the new.

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We repeated the use of blues and chartreuse by adding solid pillows to these lovely watercolor pillows on a neutral Hickory Chair sofa.

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let’s step outside

the great outdoors awaits

 

Spring is in the air.  (If you live in the Northeast like us, it takes a bit of imagination, but nonetheless, we’re in striking distance.)  In anticipation of a classic New England summer, we’re adding more outdoor furnishing options to our cadre of resources.

The past few months, we’ve met with Lane Ventures and Summit Furniture to learn more about their lines of furniture, finishes and fabric options and methods of construction.  As a result, we’re adding both to our short list of preferred outdoor furnishing options.  And – samples of each line will arrive in our gallery later this Spring, ready for ‘sit testing’.  In addition to Lane Ventures and Summit, Janus et Cie, Kingsley Bate, Richardson-Allen and DEDON are at our fingertips to provide the right choice for each space.  Perfect for the patio, pool or boat.

Take a look, take a seat and get ready to take in the great outdoors this summer.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

 

Teak, weather resistant wicker and tough powder coated steel choices from Lane Ventures.

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Classic teak, in fresh new designs, from Summit Furniture.

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Richardson Allen furnishings made just up the coast in Maine.

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taste furniture in the making

Wendi attends Hickory Chair University

 

North Carolina is home to numerous furniture fabricators, including one of our top choices for fine furnishings, Hickory Chair. This week, taste team member Wendi Dicely-Scalora had the pleasure of attending a unique program for designers. She and designers from across the country spent the week at the Hickory Chair factory to learn about the behind-the-scenes creative process and the craftsmanship put into each piece.

On the experience, Wendi shared, “The opportunity to see up close, the hands-on production of Hickory Chair furniture, reaffirms my belief in the product. Every piece of wood used is carefully selected then crafted by hand, not machine, making each build a highly customizable and unique piece. Hickory Chair compliments taste’s desire to incorporate American-made, hand-crafted and artisan-quality products. They take pride in offering a customizable product to solve almost any need for the client and designer.”

Hickory Chair University allowed Wendi to view the process from prefab (the blueprints of the design) to leg creation, detail specifications, upholstery, base framing, shipping prep and, alas, the beautiful finished piece. She even had the pleasure of seeing the bare bones of one of our clients’ dining chairs before being sent for staining and upholstery.

Enjoy this selection of photos taken during one of Wendi’s facility tours. So much handmade care and detail goes into each piece and I am both pleased and assured that Hickory Chair continues to be a great source for taste and our selections in fine furnishings that will last for generations.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

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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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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.

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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

custom details: mad about metals

Our love of hand crafted metal has become a growing material of choice in our custom designs for clients.  Hand-forged iron, bronze, stainless steel and even pewter have been incorporated into interiors of late.  Here’s a peek at a few of our favorites…

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This rolled-steel bed finished with a zinc patina is a custom design of ours, in collaboration with Whetstone Workshop.  Currently in production, we expect to install in our client’s newly renovated master suite the Spring.

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These pewter countertops are new to our library of materials.  We’re eager to incorporate them into a bar – inside or outdoors.  The pewter naturally patinas, providing even more character over time.

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The installation of this newel cap at a taste-designed beach house in Little Compton, RI, crafted by Isaac Juodvalkis of Whetstone Workshop, is the perfect punctuation in a  modern coastal home for a young family.

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This textured taste-designed beam bracket partners well with the farmhouse beam running along our clients’ ceiling.

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The simple-lined frame of this glass table accents the inlaid medallion in the floor beneath.

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Isaac of Whetstone Workshop fabricated this steel base for the scrubbed ash top and bottom shelf provided by Lorimer Workshop.

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Jay Christman, our go-to blacksmith fabricated this taste-designed hand rail and baluster in iron.

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These textured samples offer an assortment of choices for customization.

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Jay Christman masterfully designed this iron handrail transition and curve that’s a pleasure to use, while offering strong support up and down the stairs.  The delicate iron balusters bring a lightness to this small back stairway that may have been visually crowded with a wood handrail and balustrade.

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This table’s concave base in brushed stainless steel is a perfect fit in this bay window breakfast nook.  We paired the base with a locally crafted dining table top by Lorimer Workshop.

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Stainless steel shelving lends a modern edge to this traditional all-white kitchen, one of our all time favorite kitchens and a frequently saved image on Houzz – 43,000 saves to idea books and counting…

How could you bring the character of metal into your home?  Be inspired!

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