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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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highlights from linger & learn

the first of three evenings in our 2018 summer series

 

 

The first event in our 2018 summer series was a lovely gathering, filled with friends and rich learning opportunities.  The gallery at taste is brimming with art by Kelly Milukas, Susan Freda and Alyn Carlson.  Be sure to stop by this month to see their exquisite work.

Candita Clayton was in the house to kick-off the linger & learn series, with insights on how to demystify selecting art and how to best engage with an artist to deepen the experience of acquiring art.  And, equally imporatant – curbing those tendencies to fill your walls with anything less than a handmade piece of art.

A good time was had by all.  Be sure to attend a linger & learn event later this summer – Thursday evenings, June 28th and August 2nd.

Enjoy the snapshots and videos of Candita’s talk below.  Remember, our doors are open all summer long for doses of artful inspiration…

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

 

 

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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

AC_AquaLinea_1216-LO-RESAlyn Carlson – Aqua Linea 1216

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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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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,

 patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston
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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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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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.

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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

 

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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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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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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