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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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girl grit

taste moves to 17 Narragansett in Jamestown and continues the tradition of girl grit and great design

I’m so pleased to announce taste‘s upcoming move to 17 Narragansett Ave. in Jamestown – a historic building and home to Jamestown Designs for the past thirty-five years. Our move marks the well-deserved retirement of Debbie Swistak and Carol Anderson after leading their successful retail and custom framing business for forty-three years. Throughout their tenure, they’ve shown true girl grit during the ups and downs of running a retail business – all with a smile and grace. They are an inspiration to me as I lead and grow my business. I happily accept the passed torch and will carry on the tenets of their business – good design, exceptional client service and a commitment to our community.

Meanwhile at taste, we’ve got the next generation of girl grit in the making. Our own Julia Reinalda is ready to give birth to her first child. True to form, she’s worked up to the final two weeks of her pregnancy with incredible energy, humor and dedication to our clients. Never one to be tired, she inspected stone slabs, made construction site visits and oversaw installations until the very end. And, she’s made mention of putting the babe in the Bjorn carrier and visiting job sites this summer. I fully expect to see her there, beautiful baby and all.

And, big congratulations to our designer of the past two years, Ashley Delvecchio. She moves on to Alice Black Interiors to be closer to home and family in Connecticut. Ashley’s girl grit got her through a two-hour commute to Rhode Island the past two years, enduring snow storms and summer traffic. Through it all she’s been a champ and an absolute pleasure to have on our team. We’ll miss her dearly and wish her all the best as she makes her mark in our field.