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meet team taste member Ashley LeFebvre

 

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

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

— Ashley LeFebvre

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

linger & learn this thursday, 6-8p

 

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

Works by textile artist Melinda Cox:

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

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Serene seascapes and surreal bird oil paintings by Jessica Pisano:

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scheme starters

taste designers share their favorite interior elements

 

 

 

 

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

Only the best,

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

 

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Sources:

Antique Runner
 
Hwang Bishop Lamp
 
S&L Console

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

— Michaela Palmer

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Sources:
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“I like working with traditional shapes and patterns but add
an infusion of fresh color and interesting shapes to create happy, joyful spaces.”
— Wendi Dicely-Scalora
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announcing taste’s linger & learn summer series

join us!

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

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

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

Here’s why you should attend…

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

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

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

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

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

Only the best,

 

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

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

Thursday, May 31st with gallerist Candita Clayton

Thursday, June 28th with glass artist Tracy Glover

Thursday, August 2nd with textile artist Melinda Cox

 

 

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Sue Freda – Kozo Dress

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Kelly Milukas – Spinal – 18 x 10 inches

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Sue Freda – Abaca Dress

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Alyn Carlson – Aqua Linea 1316

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Kelly Milukas – Oxygen – 6 x 6 inches

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Sue Freda – Collagraph 2

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Kelly Milukas – Done at Dawn Bandwidth

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Sue Freda – Collagraph 5

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Kelly Milukas – Drench Gaia

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Sue Freda – Filasidus

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Kelly Milukas – Oceanic – 10 x 10 inches

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Sue Freda – Hyacinth Vitroll

Kelly-Milukas-the-modern-past-6-x-6-LO-RESKelly Milukas – The Modern Past – 6 x 6 inches

 

keeping craft alive: spotlight on urban electric

the urban electric co. of charleston, south carolina

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

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

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

Only the best,

Patti-Signature-Top-Bottom-Margin-WEB

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

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

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

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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,

Patti-Signature-Top-Bottom-Margin-WEB

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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before & after…

a welcoming kitchen, and baths for all

 

 

 

 

before & after:

a welcoming kitchen, and baths for all

 

Even masterfully architected homes need a facelift eventually.  Last year, we helped our clients see the potential in their circa 1980 Jim Estes designed home and transformed their spaces for more comfortable gathering and weekend entertaining.

The galley Kitchen, Powder Room and Pantry were reappointed while honoring the original architecture and strong lines of the space.  And, we reworked the lower level space plan to increase the baths from one to three — so no more sharing bathrooms with weekend guests.  (And if you’ve ever reworked a lower level space plan, you know its a challenge to work around structural and mechanical requirements to reimagine a space.)

While challenges were plentiful, the plan worked and the waiting list for summer weekend visits is already growing.  An Estes home, proudly enhanced by taste.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

 

A coffee and beverage bar welcomes guests into the Kitchen, day or night.

 

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Terracotta tile was replaced with the warmth and character of hickory floors – set at a diagonal to complement the architectural character of the home – offering visual contrast to the honed Calacatta marble countertops and white cabinetry.

 

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A lighter and brighter Kitchen.

 

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The teeniest of Powder Rooms gains visual space with a cantilevered sink base in walnut.

 

 

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The hosts are equally as comfortable as their guests in their Master Bath, complete with large shower and private water closet.

 

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The once laundry was moved to create a guest bath, and an efficient laundry space created from an unused walk-in closet.

 

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After Photography: Kyle Caldwell

 

taste at work, part 1

busy in the studio, busy in the field

 

 

 

Team taste designers are at it again, fulfilling projects in all phases of the design/construction process as we enter into a busy late fall & winter season.  We’re so appreciative of New England’s seasonality and the added focus that comes this time of year in our coastal, summer community.  As we say goodbye to snowbird clients until next Spring, our heads are down in the studio and our boots are on in the field — preparing homes for the next summer season and for many, the next chapter of their lives with their families.

As always, we aren’t alone in our commitment to creating well-considered, well-crafted homes for our clients.  We are side by side with accomplished architects, builders and craftspeople all working together, with the same ethos.  When the days get dim and the temperatures dip, its these relationships that brighten our work and deliver a laugh – together.

Snapshots follow below from the studio and the field.  Check back next week for a peek at a few more projects underway and all benefiting from our hunkered-down focus this fall.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

 

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Kevin    Kevin’s leading the renovation of a classic Jamestown cottage, bringing together historic design details with energy efficient, advanced building practices.  Our designs started with perspective views of the interior and exterior prepared in Sketch-up, coupled with detailed drawings produced in CAD.  The trades are on-site now, roughing in plumbing and electrical in preparation for insulation in a few weeks.  Walls will be plastered in another month, providing a warm environment for interior finishes this winter and completion in the Spring.

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Candy    There are deadlines and then there are yacht design deadlines.  Candy’s working alongside The Fontaine Group on a refit of a classic yacht in time to set sail in early December.  (A yacht is a bit different from a residence – when it sets sail, its gone.  There’s no returning to the house in a few weeks to add a piece or two that’s been delayed!).  Furnishings are in production, the pewter bar top is being crafted, joinery is in the finishing stages and the art has arrived.  We will make the deadline, beautifully.

 

 

 

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Wendi    Wendi’s recently back from a well-deserved vacation in France with her husband, Peter.  (They are the most high energy, spirited empty-nesters you’ll ever meet!).  After trekking through the streets of Nice and Paris on bikes and mopeds, Wendi returned inspired and ready to infuse her projects with European quality and timelessness.  Coincidentally, we’ve started working with a client to renovate their new/old French-inspired home, providing the perfect opportunity for a palette of limestone, weathered wood, brick, iron and aged brass.

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julia-staff-photo-smallJulia  If you’ve bumped into Julia recently, you’ll know she’s expecting baby #2 in February — although you wouldn’t know that from her energy level.  More than ever, she’s bringing her high-spirited, love of design to her client projects, including a new construction home Patrick Ahearn home in Weekapaug, Rhode Island.  We love our client’s self-described affinity for ‘spritely’ fabrics and colors.  Julia’s sense of style and ability to artfully compose a scheme is delivering just the right amount of spirited sprite to this coastal home.

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Patti    As for me, I’m re-energized by recent design industry events that have given me a renewed focus on improving our design deliverables and ultimately, the client experience.  Let’s face it, a renovation or new build project is an intense experience for our clients.  They don’t do it everyday as we do.  More than ever, I’m dedicated to bringing the best talent, tools and project management to our clients so that they may find joy in the process of creating their home.  And, leave the worries to us.

Most importantly, I’m practicing this recommitment everyday while I lead projects ranging from the completion new construction coastal homes, to the renovation of a Normandy-inspired family home to the rework of a Kitchen for fellow designers I admire.  It doesn’t get much better than this.

 

Coastal Home in the Final Finish…

 

 

 

 

Family Home in Concept Design…

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Historic Home Ready for Construction Start…

Radesca Residence Proposed Family Room

Radesca Residence Sitting Room

Radesca Residence Stairs

Kitchen Renovation for Special People…

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Block Island Family Compound, In the Making…

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helping out in houston

team taste lends a hand

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We’re all too aware of the devastation that Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma have caused the past several weeks.  After endless images and news stories, we’re all feeling heartache for the families impacted and the urge to do something meaningful to help if we can.

Like so many, we have friends, family and associates in the Houston area and throughout Florida.  In the days during Harvey, I reached out to collaborator and cabinetmaker Jonathon Dahl, whose home is in the Houston area. He shared with me images of the flood waters as it creeped closer and closer to his house – home to him, his wife and children.

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Luckily, the water began to recede, leaving the Dahl family home untouched. Jonathon’s workshop (and therefore, livelihood) sustained flood damage, but with positivity and hard work, he was up and running again in a few days.  Then his phone began to ring…

At least 10 of Jonathon’s customers lost everything in the flood. And the last several days have been filled with Jonathon and his crew helping to clean out houses he reports as heart wrenching work.

To lend a hand to the families Jonathon is helping to recover, taste will be donating 100 design hours in the coming weeks to design cabinetry, select flooring and fixtures and create color palettes for new interiors.  Our collaboration with Jonathon Dahl is something I hope will alleviate a fraction of the stress the families will face as they rebuild their homes and their lives.  And, provide a bit of joy.

Let us know if you’d like to help out with a donation of funds to help the families Jonathon is serving in the Houston area.  We can all lend a hand.

In gratitude,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

 

Team taste is ready to help. This photo was taken in a Rhode Island home finished with Jonathon this summer.

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a home for the next chapter

snapshots from last week’s installation in Narragansett, Rhode Island

We were at it again last week, finishing a custom residence and welcoming clients to their new home by the sea.  This move-in was especially gratifying for us after working for the past two years alongside Horan Building Company on this Alec Tesa designed home.

In addition to designing the interior millwork, cabinetry and hard finishes throughout the home, we selected – and in several rooms – designed custom pieces specifically for our truly special clients.  Be sure to pause on the curved sofas with exposed hardwood frames in the Living Room and the Dining Room chandelier, to mention just a few of the pieces designed by taste and brought to life by local craftspeople and artisans, to whom we’re most grateful.

As gratifying as it was to see the finishing touches on this project come together exactly two years after we started, those moments paled in comparison to our clients’ reaction to their new home.  Their embrace of each other on Friday evening as they watched the final elements installed said it all.  To quote them, its their ‘home for the next chapter of their lives’.  We’re so honored to have been involved in this important, life-shifting project.

As always, finish photos to follow in the coming months.  Enjoy the snapshots in the meantime.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

 

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