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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.

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 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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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

 

final gallery open house, summer 2017

Join us!

Our July Open House was another warm and inspired gathering, with art and conversation enjoyed by all.  As I plan this month’s Open House – our last of the season – I realize it means summer is waning.  Be sure to join us as we wrap up Summer 2017 with a final burst of inspiration and artistic talent, including…

Debby Krim brings her ‘Colors of White’ photography series which has been seen in the Sandra Bullock / Ryan Reynolds movie “The Proposal,” Wendy Wahl’s three-dimensional studies of twisted paper adds new dimension to the walls, North Kingstown artist Vanessa Piche returns with her beautiful land and seascapes paintings of life along New England’s coasts, and Rhode Island artist Tiffany Adams joins us with her ceramic masterpieces.

Stop in on Thursday, August 17th between 5pm – 8pm to view our new selections. Enjoy great conversation with our artists, then grab dinner at one of Jamestown’s finest – FiSH across the street or Simpatico next door to taste.

I hope to see you next week.  In the meantime, meet our artists below and view a quick snapshot of their exceptional work.

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Debby Krim – Photograph

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Debby KrimSplash – Photograph

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Debby Krim –  Charismatic Gyre – Photograph

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Debby Krim – Curl – Photograph

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Debby Krim –  Joie de Vivre – Photograph 

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Debby Krim – Three Petals – Photograph

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Debby Krim – Whorls – Photograph

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Debby Krim –  Floralscape – Photograph

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Vanessa Piche –  Big Sky Over Zeek’s Creek – Oil  24 x 24 inches

Vanessa Piche Beach Amigos

Vanessa Piche – Beach Amigos – Oil

Vanessa Newport Wharf

Vanessa Piche – Newport Wharf – 12 x 24 inches

Vanessa Piche Beach Conversations

Vanessa Piche –  Conversations – Oil – 12 x 16 inches

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Vanessa Piche – Coastal Glow – Oil – 48 x 36 inches

Vanessa Piche Beach Stroll

Vanessa Piche – Beach Stroll – Oil

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Vanessa Piche – Around the Mark – Oil – 20 x 16 inches

Vanessa Piche Beach Boogie Woogie

Vanessa Piche –  Beach Boogie Woogie – Oil

 

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Wendy Wahl –  Arboreal Anatomy 2008 – Installation of Paper and Steel – 35′ x 12′ x 15′

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Wendy Wahl – EB #17; 2008 – Paper – 14 x 18 inches

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Wendy Wahl – EB Mixed Editions; 2009  – Installation of Paper and Stainless Steel – 60 x 16 x 17 inches, 50 x 78 x 17 inches, 60 x 95 x 17 inches

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Wendy Wahl EB #16 – Paper

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Wendy Wahl –  EB #11  – Paper

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Wendy Wahl –  EB #12 – Paper

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Wendy Wahl – Seeds #2; 2014 – Paper – 11 x 14 inches

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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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.

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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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artist spotlight: kelly jo shows

an artist and her many shoes

 

Last summer brought new artists to taste. Among the fresh talent were paintings by the unique portrait artist Kelly Jo Shows represented by Candita Clayton Gallery. Kelly Jo takes an unconventional approach into her creations, focusing on shoes rather than faces to represent her subjects’ personality. The shoes she’s given display wear from all walks of life. Some are hard-worn, speckled with paint, classy, comfortable (like bedroom slippers), dressy, or a multitude of colorful converse sneakers. Each is as individual as their owner, and Kelly Jo Shows captures this through her detailed portraits.

I’m excited as this summer approaches to be working with Kelly Jo on a commissioned family portrait (think shoes instead of head shots) that will perfectly complete the interior of our clients’ summer home. Kelly Jo has just the right amount of modern sophistication and unique style to create this young family’s portrait. I’m looking forward to the process — reviewing the shoe choices, delivering these carefully selected pairs to Kelly Jo, and watching her transform them into two-dimensional perfection.

Enjoy a sampling of Kelly Jo Show’s portraits below. She has more wonderful portraits on Candita’s website, and a great look behind the scenes on her Instagram page at @fearnoart11. Be sure to check both out.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

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A shot inside her studio.

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A completed commissioned piece drying on her easel.

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Portrait of Artist Billy Childish by Kelly Jo Shows

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Portrait of Artist Candy Chang by Kelly Jo Shows

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Portrait of Artist John Casey by Kelly Jo Shows

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Portrait of Artist Mark Ryden by Kelly Jo Shows

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Portrait of Artist Martha Coburn by Kelly Jo Shows

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Portrait of Artist Patrick Finster by Kelly Jo Shows

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Portrait of Artist The Art Guys by Kelly Jo Shows

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Portrait of Artist TMNK by Kelly Jo Shows

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Portrait of artist Alan Neider by Kelly Jo Shows

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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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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.

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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

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meet team taste member Candace Langan

Get to know our design team and their contributions.

candace-headshot-white-shirt-LOW-RES“Timeless. Classic. Fresh. I would say these three words best describe my direction as I work hand in hand with my clients, helping to create beautiful spaces based on their individual taste and needs.”

Candace Langan, Interior Designer

I’d like to offer a warm welcome to Candace Langan who joined our team as an interior designer this week and expands our portfolio of services to include interior design for yachts.
Candace is an experienced designer specializing in yacht decoration and brings with her active client projects in the marine industry. Equally exciting, she brings a passion for fine linens and custom furnishings that complements our work here at taste, introducing new methods and resources to our practice.
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Candace grew up in a boat-loving family in Rumson, New Jersey, and has been associated with yachts all her life. Her first job was with Yachting Magazine as the organizer and manager of the company’s premiere events. During the ten years she worked for Yachting, she met and married the yacht designer, Bill Langan.
 
Candace was hired by New York Yacht Club’s America II syndicate to coordinate donor relations and events, and accompanied Bill to Perth, Australia for the 1987 America’s Cup challenge. Returning to the States, she started her own event planning company and after eight years in the business was asked to plan a party for Meryl Streep. Ms. Streep then invited Candace to be her personal assistant, a position she held until Candace and Bill moved their family to Newport, RI in 1997.
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A fashion design major in college, Candace found that what she enjoyed most about her work was designing and decorating event spaces. She decided to continue her education and improve her skills by studying interior design at the Rhode Island School of Design. To combine this keen interest in design with her love of the water and strong organizational skills, she opened her own yacht interior decoration company, Candace Langan Design.  In her 15 years in the field of design, Candace has completed all manner of projects for sail and motor yachts, from classic to contemporary styling, new construction or refits.

I’ve personally known Candace for  years and I’m thrilled she’s decided to join us. I’m confident she’ll be a great fit for our team and expand our commitment to exceptional, custom design.

 

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Candace worked closely with the client, the naval architect, and the interior architect, providing elegant furnishings throughout this new construction 142-foot yacht project.

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Candace’s designs for a client’s motor yacht refit provides comfortable spaces for cruising in this family’s home away from home.

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Candace also designed the interior renovation for the Italian luxury sailing yacht company Perini Navi’s US offices in Newport