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before & after: honest + artful bungalow

 

 

 

 

The design assignment to renovate a bungalow and retains its inherent character sounds straightforward and appealing.  The scale is comfortable, architectural details are honest and an open floor plan creates a pleasing flow from room-to-room and from inside-to-out.

Built in 1900, this Jamestown charmer had the potential to promise this simplified lifestyle.  Thankfully, our client could see beyond the years of reincarnations and unfortunate remodels and recognize the opportunity to create a place of rest and respite for her upcoming sabbatical from the academic world.

That opportunity came with abundant challenges for our client and the design/build team, however.

While a few original details remained, time had taken its toll on the bungalow’s bones.  Layers of linoleum and sheetrock revealed notched floor joists, balloon framing and out-of-square walls.

What started as an assignment to rejuvenate a classic house for modern life became a duty to resuscitate the structural integrity and craftsmanship associated with a bungalow.  All while imbuing it with art and elements of modernity for our brilliant client eager to come home to rest and recharge.

Photography for taste: Robyn Ivy

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Dining Room: Before & After

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2nd Floor Hall: Before & After

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Master Bath: Before & After

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P.S. Special thanks to Rhode Island Monthly magazine for featuring this project in their May Issue, available now! Pick up your copy today.  RI Monthly photos by Elaine Frederick Photography.

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big impact, small budget…

 

Happy Spring everyone!  If you’re like us and are embarking on a few spring projects at home to freshen up your inside spaces, you’ll find this article from The New York Times “Making a Big Impact on a Small Budget” helpful.

We did, and found it inspired us to share a few of our favorite ‘cheap and cheerful’ design tricks.  Be sure to read the article and scroll below for a tip from each of your favorite team taste designers.

 

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Megan Landis | Project Manager & Interior Designer

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Julia Reinalda | Project Manager & Interior Designer

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Wendi Dicely-Scalora | Senior Designer & Project Manager

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Patti Watson |  Principal 

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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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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.

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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

 

reflections on summer: new work by Dora Atwater Millikin & Susan Strauss

 

 

 

Our fresh coat of paint has dried and we’ve refreshed the gallery at taste, complete with new work brimming with images of warm days and nights.  Dora Atwater Millikin and Susan Strauss return to the gallery with bold and lively new work, just in time for summer.  Be sure to stop by the gallery at taste, Monday through Friday from 9am to 5 pm, to view Dora’s and Susan’s new selection of paintings.

About Dora…

Though not unfamiliar to our walls, we are pleased to show new work by the Massachusetts artist Dora Atwater Millikin. Known for her roadways, summer camper series and the geometry found in everyday life, we’re pleased to present a new series of early morning, evening and coastal scenes.

Dora Atwater Millikin Artist“Ordinary, mundane objects are featured, not omitted, and the works are meant to engage scenes of contemporary life that transcends the everyday. My urban subjects depict objects associated with a more leisurely life and are in direct contrast to nature.  Their titles such as “No Parking” or “Parking this side only” allude to the complicated network of rules and privileges installed to maintain order in an overly congested world.
As site specific as the places in my paintings may be, hopefully, anyone can relate to the universal nature of their activity.  What is my message?  My message is to find the rhythm and beauty in the world around me and to give an interpretation of life in my time as seen through my eyes.”

Also no stranger to the gallery at taste is Susan Strauss. Her loose, dynamic style captures the essence of the scene. Strauss brings a new set of small works featuring spring and summer hued landscapes to our gallery along with several large pieces that demand the center of attention.

susan-strauss-with-art-at-taste-grand-opening“Each new painting is fresh, open to risk and growth. I paint from direct observation of both inner and outer landscape.

Simply put, I am painting to make visible both seen and non-visual experiences, to explore their interconnection and to reveal their universality. 

My goal is to be present in my life and my paintings.”

In other gallery news… summer Gallery Nights will be back on July 20th and August 17th. Mark your calendars!

Thursday, July 20th :: 5 – 8 pm

On July 20th, we’ll feature the layering, textural artist Coral Bourgeois and her mosaic collaged pieces, Kelly Jo Shows’s unique Portrait of an Artist shoe paintings, local artist Christian Potter Drury’s playful, eclectic story pieces, and Jessica Pisano, whom you may recall is a sought after seascape artist. Jessica’s new series features birds in flight in her highly crafted and articulated oil techniques.

 

 

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Thursday, August 17th :: 5 – 8 pm

August 17th brings Debby Krim and The Colors of White photography study featuring the relationship between positive and negative space, Rhode Island artist Vanessa Piche who has added the Summer Tides and Gannett Summer boating series to her ever-popular shorelines and marsh paintings, Wendy Wahl’s 3D pieces made from unbound pages of discarded encyclopedias, and Tiffany Adams’ organic ceramic sculptures inspired by nature.

 

 

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Enjoy this glimpse of our current show with Dora Atwater Millikin and Susan Strauss or drop in anytime Monday – Friday between 9am – 5pm to view these stunning pieces in person. And as always, take advantage and “try before you buy” to view pieces in your home or office.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

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Dora Atwater Millikin – 8pm – oil on linen – 20 x 48 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Door, Drum – oil on linen – 28 x 20 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Night – oil on linen – 36 x 20 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Street Light – oil on linen – 30 x 20 i inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin  First Thing  – oil on linen – 24 x 36 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Morning – oil on linen – 36 x 20 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Night Driving – oil on linen – 20 x 28 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin –  Vortex – oil on linen – 48 x 72 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Summer Place – oil on linen – 24 x 30 inches

 

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Bellow Docks – oil on linen – 28 x 16 inches

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Dora Atwater Millikin – Beach Street – oil on linen – 28 x 20 inches

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Susan Strauss –  Sky or Reflection? – oil on panel – 28 x 36 inches

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Susan Strauss – Exceptional Summer Moments – oil on panel – 12 x 16 inches

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Susan Strauss –  Pardon Gray Trees (left)  – oil on panel – 11.5 x 5 inches

Susan Strauss –  Pardon Gray Trees (right)  – oil on panel – 11.5 x 5 inches

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Susan Strauss – The Speed of Summer – oil on panel – 36 x 40 inches

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Susan Strauss –  Wonderful Place – oil on panel – 12 x 12 inches

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Susan Strauss –  Iconic – oil on panel – 12 x 18 inches

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Susan Strauss – Early July – oil on panel – 11 x 14 inches

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Susan Strauss – Entrance  – oil on panel – 12 x 16 inches

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in review (times three)

in good taste throwback

 

Our blog posts have touched on many aspects of design—before & afters, inspirations, the driving forces (our designers), top-notch collaboration efforts and our gallery of talented artists. In reviewing this past year’s blog posts, we noticed a trend…your favorite posts were some of our favorite posts!

Your top three favorites were all “before & after” treatments to three very different residences—a turn of the century residence near Brown University, a nearly one hundred and twenty year old Jamestown home and a Little Compton summerhouse a stone’s throw from the water. All assembled here for your viewing pleasure.

Enjoy the posts, all over again.

Only the best,

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before & after: a chic treatment for a providence classic

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before & after – a welcome home, at last

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before & after: modern beach cottage

before and after living room renovation taste design interior design decorating coastalbefore and after kitchen renovation interior design taste design inc coastal cottage residential new england02B-before-&-after-dining-room-gold-award-taste-interior-design-coastal-seaside-home

 

before & after: how to celebrate your (home’s) age, gracefully

a skillful renovation that was just enough to embrace, not undo, the past

When my clients walked into our gallery last Fall to share they had purchased a home in our island town and wanted me to work with them to help update the interior, I could barely contain my excitement. (Anyone remember that scene in Love Actually when Laura Linney’s character had to hide behind the stairs to jump up and down with excitement before returning to her boyfriend to continue their romantic evening?  It was JUST like that.)  This is a couple who have impeccable taste, have renovated/decorated six homes in the past twenty-three years together and are hands down just fantastic people. I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Then I saw the house…

And the excitement rose. In addition to being exceptional people, they can spot an exceptional home, even in the rough. This was one of those. On the coast, but nestled into a woodland setting, it has all the advantages of a water view, but the privacy and protection of a country home — complete with mature gardens and a stone outbuilding perfect for the gardening shed. The interior needed more natural light, expanded views to the water, a new kitchen and bathrooms and careful editing. What it didn’t need was a total gut and rebuild project, and my clients knew this and held the line throughout the design and construction process to ensure we kept every bit of character intact while improving the home.

Foster Associates architects reworked the floor plan to fix flow problems, enhance views and add functionality. We finished what Foster started, selecting the right combination of finishes and materials to embrace the original details of the house (be sure to get a good look at the ceilings) and our clients extensive collection of antiques, from near and far.  Chuck Millard’s team of master builders and carpenters executed the renovation to a tee, resisting the urge to fix the eccentricities in the house and embrace the age, just as my clients’ mandated from day one.

And I’m so thankful they did. Take a peek at the before, during and after photos below.  Now, nine months later, I still need to contain my girlish excitement with the project.

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The breakfast room benefited from built-in cabinetry and chic chinoiserie furnishings.

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Simplified details and natural materials returned this cottage Kitchen to a space that emphasizes casual gatherings.

 

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The ornate was edited out of the original kitchen and replaced with generous proportions and classical finishes.

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The original balustrade and ceilings were lightly restored to retain all of the character, including cracks in the newel post caps that conjure a story about the house and its inhabitants over the past one hundred years.

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The fact that my clients’ furnishings and collections fit so perfectly into the new/old house is a testament to their unwavering curation and commitment to good taste.

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The Powder Room refresh includes a bamboo chest repurposed as a sink vanity and a light-hearted lattice wallpaper.

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The second floor hall boasts a fantastic view to the water, thanks to new windows supported by a built-in for treasures.

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The master bedroom is a serene getaway thanks to trim upholstered furnishings and a peaceful dollop of blue.

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The master bathroom is neat and efficient and a perfect complement to the master bedroom palette.

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Many thanks, as always, to the team assembled to help bring sophistication and style to our clients’ home.

Foster Associates, Architect

taste team members Michaela Doehler and Ashley DelVecchio

Charles Millard Inc., General Contractor

Apex Kitchens, Kitchen Cabinetry

Rustigian Rugs, Area Rugs

Reagan Baker, Photography

 

in the home stretch

three projects nearly ready for the summer season

Spring is in the air and that means we’re busy finishing summer homes for the now in-sight season. I admit, I love this next six week period leading up to Memorial Day.  A deadline junkie, I thrive in the final days of finish construction.  We’re up to our necks in finishing details, questions, problem solving and client pleasing.  And the builders, artisans and craftspeople we rely on are right there with us.  These are the days that test productive collaborations.  Inevitably what binds us during trying moments is our shared unending commitment to quality – even in the face of a looming deadline.

Here’s a sneak peek at three projects entering the final finish phase – each is a hive of activity right now.  Many thanks to Dave Brown, Steve Demetrick and Bob van Cleef for leading the crews at each of these homes.  It may look like there’s still lots left to do, but that’s all part of the exhilaration in the coming few weeks…

Stay tuned for finished photos later this summer after our clients return from their winter roosts and settle in for the summer in their new spaces.

Only the best,

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#1.  A restored cottage by the sea for oh-so fabulous clients and their daughters.

picture-window-with-view-bedroom-east-sideA view to the sea.

library-2A view to the Dining Room.

brick-accentAn orderly laundry area takes shape.

shower-tile-placement-master-bathThe master shower nearly complete.

 

#2. A chic pool house for long-standing and long-appreciated clients.

pool-house-main-room-counter-sink-and-pendantWalnut trimmed cabinetry in the Kitchenette.

pool-house-bathroom-tile-vanityTerrazzo countertops in the Bathroom.

pool-house-main-room-crystal-knob-hardwareFinishing touches in glass.

pool-house-main-room-tile-floorA glass mosaic floor resembles the pool itself.

#3.  A historic home designed for a fun loving family who loves to throw a party.

brick-layoutBricks are carefully laid out and prepared for installation on the mudroom floor.

built-insBookcases are completed and nearly ready for our client’s collection.

kitchenNext to go in: everything, including the Kitchen sink.

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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taking shape: a renovation update from 17 narragansett ave.

So many supportive clients and friends have asked about our renovation progress, so today I’m sharing a behind-the-scenes view…

Demolition of the 1st floor started a few weeks ago with the goal to open up the three distinct storefront spaces into an open studio and gallery of taste’s work.  As with any building 130 years old, the crew found a few surprises and treasures.  Old bottles, trinkets, toys and even a perfectly preserved possum skeleton (!) awaited discovery under the floor boards.

found items during demo

found items during demo

While retaining our open-work environment, the 1st floor space is delineated by framed openings, pocket doors and trimmed beams.  Natural light is abundant, with windows on both the north and south sides of the building.

new floor joists for our new hardwood floor

new floor joists for our new hardwood floor

natural light for all

natural light for all

work in progress...

work in progress…

The first floor of our new space will feature a gallery of taste’s work, client center, production department and interior design library with workstations bathed in natural light.  Upstairs, interior and architectural designers will work together in an airy studio, complete with a deck for those impromptu ideation sessions that call for the benefit of fresh air.

work in progress...

work in progress…

the gallery taking shape

the gallery and client center taking shape

Stay tuned for more updates as we prepare for our move in July!