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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,

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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:

foyer light AAdining room completedining room light fixture 1breakfast nook beforenook lightIMG_12813Sisters-15103 Lloyd-2taste_man_180118_0591

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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,

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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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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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Consider Art this Giving Season

original art is a thoughtful holiday gift that gives and gives back, all year long

 

As you’re finishing your holiday shopping, consider giving a small work of original art. A petite piece of art comes with endless possibilities for incorporating into a home, presenting a low-pressure way for the recipient to enjoy your gift. Small works can fill a tiny wall in a vestibule, be combined with other pieces in a gallery-style art wall or even sit on a shelf to accent books and treasures. Current small pieces in the gallery at taste follow below. Call or stop by to see these in person and consider the giving possibilities, or even the possibility of a gift to yourself this holiday season.

 

All the best,

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068---milikin---returning---12-x-12-in---oil-on-panel---1500This Dora Atwater Millikin piece comes framed in her signature unfinished wood surround.  

It’s perfect for the coastal home or a young sailor’s room.

Dora Atwater Millikin – “Returning” – 12 x 12 inches – oil on panel

taste interior design new england small art oil painting jessica pisano

These teeny works by Jessica Pisano are perfect by themselves, or grouped in a grid on a wall.

Jessica Pisano – Oil & Gold Leaf on Panel – 6 x 6 inches each

(Top)  “Water’s Edge #33”  & “Water’s Edge #34”

(Bottom) “Water’s Edge #36” & “Water’s Edge #37”

Evelyn Rhodes - Beavertail Surf, West Passage - 8in x 10in framed RCVD 6.11.15 BThis classic coastal oil by Evelyn Rhodes would look stunning on a richly painted wall or hung on the face of a bookshelf.

Evelyn Rhodes – “Beavertail Surf, West Passage” – 8 x 10 inches – Framed Oil on CanvasEvelyn-Rhodes----Original-Oil-on-Canvas---Crow-in-Snow-11in-x-13in--NFS

This exclusive giclee of a timeless oil by Evelyn makes a thoughtful gift for the budding or accomplished birder in the family.

Evelyn’s  Rhodes – “Crow in Snow” – 14 x 11 inches – Giclee Reproduction Framed at 17.75 x 14.75 inches

075A Peter Roux - Southern Coast no 2 - 24 x 24 - oil on canvas - 2750Peter Roux’s surreal landscapes are poignant by themselves, or grouped as a diptych.

Peter Roux – “Southern Coast  #2” – 24 x 24 inches – Oil on Canvas

074A Peter Roux - The Mysteries no 327 - 24 x 24 - Oil on Cavas - 2750Peter Roux – “The Mysteries #327” – 24 x 24 inches – Oil on Canvas

Barbara Owen -Layered Abstraction - Bubble - Acrylic Ink on Paper - 24 x 18

Barbara Owen’s works on paper are a gift of energy and happiness.  Each comes framed and provides the perfect infusion of color to a room.

Barbara Owen – “Layered Abstraction (Bubble)” – Acrylic & Ink on Cut Paper – 24 x 18 inches

027A - Barbara Owen - Layered Abstraction Garden - Acrylic & Ink on Cut Paper - 20 x 20 - 950Barbara Owen – “Layered Abstraction (Garden)” – Acrylic & Ink on Cut Paper – 20 x 20 inches

Susan Strauss’s coastal landscape is a composition that instantly draws you to that familiar place on the beach where worries and stress are far, far away.

Susan Strauss – “Early July” – 14 x 11 inches – Oil on Panel

Susan’s wooded landscape is a lovely reminder that Spring and Summer return, every year.

Susan Strauss – “Entrance” – 12 x 16 inches – Oil on Panel

078A Susan Strauss - Promising - 12 x 12 - Acrylic on Panel -

Susan’s watery and shimmery “Promising” is painted on an 1 1/2″ thick board, so beautifully stands on a shelf or a console table to complete a composition of objects.

Susan Strauss – “Promising” – 12 x 12 inches – Acrylic on Panel

taste interior design new england rhode island boston susan strauss artist galleryThese oils by Susan have wonderful texture and depth and would be stunning paired side by side or one over the other, providing flexible hanging options.

 Susan Strauss – “Closer” & “Seeing Into” – 12 x 12 inches each – Oil on Panel

Susan’s study of local bridges would be the perfect gift for anyone who appreciates these engineering works of art we travel on every day.

Susan Strauss – “Blue Bridge” – 8 x 10 inches – Oil on Panel

15 - Strauss - Long Swim - 18 x 18 - oil on panel - 1100Susan’s swimmer is one of my personal favorites and would make an ideal gift for anyone who regularly enjoys a dip in our bay.

Susan Strauss – “Long Swim” – 18 x 18 inches – Oil on Panel

Windows, 16 x 16 Kelly MilukasKelly’s tactile encaustic works come framed and ready to add vibrancy and texture to any wall.

Kelly Milukas – “Windows” – 16 x 16 inches – Encasutic Painting in Custom Hardwood Frame

060- A Milukas - Tree Chatter - 9 x 21 - Pastel, Float Maple Frame, Museum Glass - 1200These framed pastels by Kelly are just 8″ and 9″ wide and therefore able to perfectly punctuate one of those slivers of space we all have in our homes.

Kelly Milukas – “Tree Chatter” – 9 x 21 inches – Pastel, Float Maple Frame, Museum Glass

059A - Milukas - Flow - 8 x 18 - Pastel Custom Frame, Museum Glass -950Kelly Milukas – “Flow” – 8 x 18 inches – Pastel Custom Frame, Museum Glass

046A - Milukas -Orange City - 8 x 8 - Encaustic Painting in Custom Ash Frame - 695Kelly’s framed encaustics stand on their own or can be paired together for an always needed dose of color.

Kelly Milukas – “Orange City” – 8 x 8 inches – Encaustic Painting in Custom Ash Frame

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Kelly Milukas – “Float” & “Beach” 8 x 8 inches each – Encaustic Paintings in Custom Ash Frames

21 - Milukas - Sand and Structure - 10 x 19 - Pastel, Custom Float Maple Frame, Museum Glass - 1100

Kelly’s seaside pastel offers so many shades of watery blue and earthy sand it can find a special spot in just about any coastal home.

Kelly Milukas – “Sand and Structure” – 10 x 19 inches – Pastel, Custom Float Maple Frame, Museum Glass

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Michael Rich – “Sky I” – 12 x 15 inches – Oil on Panel

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Michael Rich “Sky II” – 12 x 15 inches – Oil on Panel

051A - Michael Rich - Breathe - Oil on Canvas - 26 x 22 - 2800Lastly, Michael Rich’s abstract oils breathe modernity and a fresh spirit into any home and work equally well on richly painted or gallery white walls.

Michael Rich – “Breathe” – 26 x 22 inches – Oil on Canvas

 

Join Us This Thursday!

Open House, 5pm – 8pm

Our grand opening celebration of the gallery at taste and our new location at 17 Narragansett Avenue was fantastic. We kicked it off with a ribbon cutting ceremony with the Chamber of Commerce (big thanks) and welcomed clients, friends and artists throughout the evening. We had a full house, great food and wine by Grapes & Gourmet, a few speechless guests as they walked through the door and even a few tears by me when I attempted to thank my team for their endless efforts and support. Designers are allowed to be a bit emotional, right?

And…we’re doing it again this Thursday, 8/20 and next Thursday, 8/27 from 5pm – 8pm.  So if you missed last Thursday evening, don’t worry.  There are two more opportunities to celebrate with us and be inspired!

patti-watson-ribbon-cutting-at-taste-design-inc-jamestown-rhode-islandThe official ribbon cutting alongside my dear friend, Debbie Swistak.

front-window-tasteWe love our storefront windows.

patti-watson-debbie-and-mike-swistak-carol-andersonCarol Anderson, Debbie and Mark Swistak, owners of the former Jamestown Designs, along with me in front of our newly restored sign marking the year of 1885 when the now restored 17 Narragansett Avenue was built.

ribbon-cutting-mergeChamber and Town Officials and team taste gather for the official ribbon cutting.

Big grins all around.

evelyn-rhodes-with-art-at-taste-grand-openingThe ever beautiful and talented Evelyn Rhodes with in front of a salon-style collage of her artwork.

patti-watson-at-taste-grand-opening-keith-kenny-and-bobbyKenny Ronchie, Bob Britton and Keith Ronchie with me as we celebrate their achievement as chief renovators and finishers of our new/old building.

The best crew, ever.

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Artist Susan Strauss and her Marin work of art gracing our walls at the gallery at taste.

patti-hanging-art-grand-openingLast minute art hanging, heels and all.

olives-and-dahliasFood and flowers by our local friends at Grapes and Gourmet and Secret Garden.

kelly-milukas-touching-her-art-with-taste-clientArtist Kelly Milukas encouraging our client to touch and feel her encaustic works.  (Charlie had a hard time believing it was ok to touch the art!).

kelly-milukas-at-taste-design-inc-grand-opening  Kelly with her encaustic works Water Study V and Water Field.

client-and-wendi-kelly-milukas-encaustic-art-at-tasteCharlie and our own Wendi Dicely Scalora zoom in for a closer look.

Hope to see you this Thursday or next at taste,

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you’re invited- grand opening events

join us Thursday evenings in August at taste

We’re nearly there! It’s been quite the operation to move us, our gear and what feels like millions of samples to our new home. Next week we’ll open our doors at 17 Narragansett Avenue and welcome friends, clients and neighbors.

Join us and everyone who helped make it happen at grand opening events the next three Thursday evenings in August from 5 – 8 PM.

August 13th – Ribbon Cutting and Open House

August 20th – Open House

August 27th – Open House

Moving-Truck-Move-in-2015two full trucks, two hot days

Wendi-Move-in-2015some items wouldn’t fit on the truck, so Wendi loaded up and took a walk down the street

Kevin-Photo-Move-in-2015kevin hard at work as our former office empties around him

17-N-Finished-Floors-2015-Editedbeautiful hardwood floors before move-in

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a framed giclee of Evelyn Rhodes’s Crow in Snow, an exclusive reproduction to celebrate the opening of the gallery at taste

Team-photo-Move-in-2015team taste still smiling at the end of moving day #1

See you soon!

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pride of place

client collaborations that instill pride, for all


One of my most favorite moments as a designer happened again this past week. It’s that instance near or at the end of a project when our clients realize that together, we’ve created pride of place.

In my mind, pride of place is a home that’s deeply personal to my clients. A home with custom-crafted elements by local artisans they’ve come to know. A home that inspires their children to dream large and pursue great things in the safety of its walls. A home with clever ideas that make my clients beam with pride when they share a design detail with family and friends. A home or even a retail building in a small village (as witnessed recently) restored and renovated “to last another 100 years”.

I’ve come to watch for these moments. And carefully provide my clients with a change in conversation or shift in focus in the event they are so overwhelmed, they need a minute to collect themselves. It happens.

Most often, these moments are revealed when a detail so personal to my clients emerges from concept to completion. The model sailboat he built in their first apartment together has a place of honor in the new beach house. The art that’s hung above the antique buffet restored and brought back to life by an artisan who’s become a friend in the process. The children so comfortable and secure they fall asleep at the now expanded kitchen with wrap around banquette in the bay window. The replication of the rosette that so carefully received their attention, now appearing as if it was always there.

You know who you are. Thanks for letting my team and me help create these moments and instill pride in your places.

the original front door saved by our clients and replicated mouldings honor the past while functioning for the future

the original front door saved by our clients and replicated mouldings honor the past while functioning for the future

our client's Mackenzie Childs china collection takes pride of place in the kitchen

our client’s Mackenzie Childs china collection takes pride of place in the kitchen

a classically inspired custom newel post and balusters provide a timeless element to this country home, all designed in collaboration with our client

a classically inspired custom newel post and balusters provide a timeless element to this country home, all designed in collaboration with our client

the addition of a bay window creates comfort and function in the family's kitchen

the addition of a bay window creates comfort and function in the family’s kitchen

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personally selected artwork creates a personal dining room