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before & after – a welcome home, at last

a historic gem regains its strength and stands ready for another generation

What does it take to purchase then restore a nearly one hundred and twenty year old home and make it conducive to modern life?    P  a  t  i  e  n  c  e.    There’s no other word for it.

Yes, it takes funds and a team of design/build professionals and a cadre of craftspeople and the support of a community (e.g. forgiving neighbors).  All of those components are mission critical, without a doubt.

But for a moment, I’d like to salute the people at the very center of it all.  The people who endured, the people who made endless decisions, the people who trusted and the people who devoted several months (ok, nearly two years) of their life to the project.  The people who invested in a historic home and in doing so, have ensured this part of our town’s history stands strong for another one hundred years.

The people who took several, continuous leaps of faith along the design/construction path: m y   c l i e n t s.

They deserve recognition and a sincere thank you from our community for their investment in one of our historic properties.  It takes an enormous commitment to take on and see through a project like the one you’ll see below.  I know, because I’d like to believe I’m there to help them along the way when faith is tested, tempers are short and renovation surprises seem to be around every corner.  It’s exhausting for them, and sincerely my pleasure to be involved in every aspect of the project.

After a rest from the decision-making, we’ll resume later this fall to furnish and decorate their historic house by the sea, now ready for the next hundred years.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

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An addition to the back of the home created a family room and 2nd floor bedrooms, completed with fireplaces.

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Karl Sauerbrey, architect, envisioned a solarium on the west side of the home while extending the front porch to the back yard.  The enhancement enables our clients to nearly walk around the entire perimeter of the house on the porch.

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The north side of the porch now extends to the side door into the Kitchen, ensuring an easy flow from inside to out.

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A new dutch door at the front provides the same sea breeze into the Living Room the original door did for a hundred years.

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The once remodeled Kitchen was reimagined with custom cabinetry, soapstone countertops and beadboard ceilings.

 

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The beadboard ceiling extends into the Mudroom and a brick floor was chosen to resemble that of an original porch floor, now incorporated into the interior.

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Historic elements like the newel posts, balusters and rails were restored to nearly their original beauty, save a few nicks here and there.

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The bathrooms express my client’s whimsy and love for pattern.

 

Many thanks, as always, to the team of pros made this possible.  With too many to mention, I’ll include just a few.  To all others who contributed, we send our sincere thanks.

Karl Sauerbrey, Architect

taste team members Kevin Baker, Julia Reinalda and Michaela Doehler

Yankee Housewrights, General Contractor

Jutras Woodworking, Kitchen and Mudroom Cabinetry

Zuerner Design, Fireplaces, Master Bedroom and Bathroom Cabinetry

Michael Boulay Woodworking, Library and Music Room Cabinetry

Valen Coble, Front and Side Dutch Doors

Atlantic Landscaping, Land and Hardscaping

Aaron Usher, Kevin Baker and Reagan Baker, Photography

Exterior Comforts

Outdoor fabrics and furnishings that don’t compromise comfort.

It’s hard to believe April is just around the corner.  With temperatures climbing toward the 60s, many of us are thinking about dusting off our stored patio furniture and readying to move outdoors. While we still have a few more weeks of chilly nights, now is the time to think about how you’d like to update your exterior dining and entertainment areas, secluded meditation spots and the deck of your sea-going vessels.

Preparing your furnishings for coastal elements–constant fog, rain and harsh sun rays–should be at the top of your check list with priority given to fabric selections. Gone are the days of drab khaki on everything. With technological advances and the creation of mildew-resistant, fast-drying fibers, the possibilities are endless. Adding bright dots, bold pinstripes, playful chevrons or tactilely-impressive weaves to outdoor spaces has become easier because of the multitude of textiles now available, both under hand on slip-covers, decorative pillows, seat cushions and dining linens or under foot with rugs, large and small.

Below you’ll find inspirational images sampling some of the go-to sources we use to beat the wear-and-tear of coastal elements — whether entertaining inland or relaxing sea-bound.

Enjoy!

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The outdoor Soleil line from Kravet is both appealing and comfortable.

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Just a few of the blue, beige and cream fabrics available from Lee Jofa’s Solarium line.

 

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Eden fabrics by Rosemary Hallgarten lend classic appeal to outdoor dining and relaxation as seen in the photos above.

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Solids make a bold punch in this pleasant palette of ocean blues and driftwood, adding aesthetic pleasure to these comfortable Chatham woven furnishings from Kingsley-Bate.

Thibaut outdoor fabric selections lend endless possibilities to dressing up any exterior space.

The Kos Rug by Rosemary Hallgarten brings earthy hues underfoot making it a versatile foundation for exterior dining spaces as well as conversational seating areas.

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Aqua-infused outdoor fabrics from Robert Allen bring sea-inspired hues inland.

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Recycled sails also make a statement and are naturally conducive to the elements. Re-Sails  provides many unique options to dress up your outdoor play space.

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Don’t forget the family pet! Dash & Albert designed their versatile outdoor Wouf so everyone in your family can enjoy relaxing outside in comfort and style.

 

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in good company, a shout-out to Brassworks

A public note of thanks to a Rhode Island company that consistently delivers exceptional quality and personal service.

I have a fantastic client who is a human resources executive at IBM.  While working on her home, our design sessions would inevitably spill over into lively conversations about family, travel and occasionally provide a glimpse into the successful practices IBM uses to nuture its assets – the people who’ve made that company great for the past 100 years.  One of IBM’s practices is to make a shout-out to an employee or group who stands apart from the rest.  While careful to thank everyone for their contributions, I admire this practice of calling attention to an exceptional individual or group.

(I’ve since made shout-outs on my team when someone has gone above and beyond.)

Today I’d like to do the same for Brassworks in Providence, RI.  If you’re a Rhode Islander and have embarked upon a residential construction or renovation project, you’re likely to already know Brassworks.  They are the go-to resource for fireplaces, door hardware, cabinetry hardware and solving tricky problems of just about any kind that have to do with metal fixtures.  And, like an increasingly rarified retailer, they maintain a showroom (!) where you can actually see and touch these parts and pieces that make the finishing difference in a home.

As designers, we appreciate Jeff Nelson and his team for their patience, accuracy, dedication to get it right and all the early morning and late evening emails to help make the details happen.  They are consistently generous with their knowledge and talents and a true pleasure to do business with.  Thanks Jeff, Rhonda, David, Mark, Joe and everyone at Brassworks for your unending collaborative spirit.  At times, our projects would undoubtedly grind to a halt without you.

A sampling of just a few of the many residences we’ve done together follow below.

If you don’t know Brassworks, be sure to visit the showroom where you’ll be warmly greeted and pleasantly surprised with the quality that harkens back to days gone by.

Only the best,

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This Town and Country fireplace insert by Brassworks was the starting point for the design of this fireplace, surround and mantel.

 

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I adore the Chesney fireplace baskets available at Brassworks.  Here, we used the Baird Basket in this historic home.  Brassworks also restored an original, 100 year old fireplace basket found in this home, and retrofitted it to accept gas logs.  We lovingly returned it to the Library fireplace where it originally lived, now supporting gas logs instead of the original wood.

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Leather wrapped drawer and appliance pulls finish this media room Kitchenette perfectly.

 

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And, we continued the theme in the adjacent Powder Room, complete with leather strap towel holder and hooks.

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This Rocky Mountain Hardware sourced from Brassworks finished this outdoor shower we designed perfectly.  Lockable from the inside, the hammered brass with matte finish will weather nicely during coastal summers and stand up against icy winters.

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These oil-rubbed bronze pulls ranged from five inches on cabinet drawers to twelve inches on the cabinetry-front appliances. This provided unity throughout this client’s kitchen and paired nicely with these complimentary knobs.

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Brassworks installed this cylindrical soapstone stove in our client’s coastal home. The stove rotates 180 degrees allowing a great fire view from the Dining area, the Kitchen or the living space. Its soapstone body provides radiant warmth for all to enjoy, in all seasons.

Consider Art this Giving Season

original art is a thoughtful holiday gift that gives and gives back, all year long

 

As you’re finishing your holiday shopping, consider giving a small work of original art. A petite piece of art comes with endless possibilities for incorporating into a home, presenting a low-pressure way for the recipient to enjoy your gift. Small works can fill a tiny wall in a vestibule, be combined with other pieces in a gallery-style art wall or even sit on a shelf to accent books and treasures. Current small pieces in the gallery at taste follow below. Call or stop by to see these in person and consider the giving possibilities, or even the possibility of a gift to yourself this holiday season.

 

All the best,

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068---milikin---returning---12-x-12-in---oil-on-panel---1500This Dora Atwater Millikin piece comes framed in her signature unfinished wood surround.  

It’s perfect for the coastal home or a young sailor’s room.

Dora Atwater Millikin – “Returning” – 12 x 12 inches – oil on panel

taste interior design new england small art oil painting jessica pisano

These teeny works by Jessica Pisano are perfect by themselves, or grouped in a grid on a wall.

Jessica Pisano – Oil & Gold Leaf on Panel – 6 x 6 inches each

(Top)  “Water’s Edge #33”  & “Water’s Edge #34”

(Bottom) “Water’s Edge #36” & “Water’s Edge #37”

Evelyn Rhodes - Beavertail Surf, West Passage - 8in x 10in framed RCVD 6.11.15 BThis classic coastal oil by Evelyn Rhodes would look stunning on a richly painted wall or hung on the face of a bookshelf.

Evelyn Rhodes – “Beavertail Surf, West Passage” – 8 x 10 inches – Framed Oil on CanvasEvelyn-Rhodes----Original-Oil-on-Canvas---Crow-in-Snow-11in-x-13in--NFS

This exclusive giclee of a timeless oil by Evelyn makes a thoughtful gift for the budding or accomplished birder in the family.

Evelyn’s  Rhodes – “Crow in Snow” – 14 x 11 inches – Giclee Reproduction Framed at 17.75 x 14.75 inches

075A Peter Roux - Southern Coast no 2 - 24 x 24 - oil on canvas - 2750Peter Roux’s surreal landscapes are poignant by themselves, or grouped as a diptych.

Peter Roux – “Southern Coast  #2” – 24 x 24 inches – Oil on Canvas

074A Peter Roux - The Mysteries no 327 - 24 x 24 - Oil on Cavas - 2750Peter Roux – “The Mysteries #327” – 24 x 24 inches – Oil on Canvas

Barbara Owen -Layered Abstraction - Bubble - Acrylic Ink on Paper - 24 x 18

Barbara Owen’s works on paper are a gift of energy and happiness.  Each comes framed and provides the perfect infusion of color to a room.

Barbara Owen – “Layered Abstraction (Bubble)” – Acrylic & Ink on Cut Paper – 24 x 18 inches

027A - Barbara Owen - Layered Abstraction Garden - Acrylic & Ink on Cut Paper - 20 x 20 - 950Barbara Owen – “Layered Abstraction (Garden)” – Acrylic & Ink on Cut Paper – 20 x 20 inches

Susan Strauss’s coastal landscape is a composition that instantly draws you to that familiar place on the beach where worries and stress are far, far away.

Susan Strauss – “Early July” – 14 x 11 inches – Oil on Panel

Susan’s wooded landscape is a lovely reminder that Spring and Summer return, every year.

Susan Strauss – “Entrance” – 12 x 16 inches – Oil on Panel

078A Susan Strauss - Promising - 12 x 12 - Acrylic on Panel -

Susan’s watery and shimmery “Promising” is painted on an 1 1/2″ thick board, so beautifully stands on a shelf or a console table to complete a composition of objects.

Susan Strauss – “Promising” – 12 x 12 inches – Acrylic on Panel

taste interior design new england rhode island boston susan strauss artist galleryThese oils by Susan have wonderful texture and depth and would be stunning paired side by side or one over the other, providing flexible hanging options.

 Susan Strauss – “Closer” & “Seeing Into” – 12 x 12 inches each – Oil on Panel

Susan’s study of local bridges would be the perfect gift for anyone who appreciates these engineering works of art we travel on every day.

Susan Strauss – “Blue Bridge” – 8 x 10 inches – Oil on Panel

15 - Strauss - Long Swim - 18 x 18 - oil on panel - 1100Susan’s swimmer is one of my personal favorites and would make an ideal gift for anyone who regularly enjoys a dip in our bay.

Susan Strauss – “Long Swim” – 18 x 18 inches – Oil on Panel

Windows, 16 x 16 Kelly MilukasKelly’s tactile encaustic works come framed and ready to add vibrancy and texture to any wall.

Kelly Milukas – “Windows” – 16 x 16 inches – Encasutic Painting in Custom Hardwood Frame

060- A Milukas - Tree Chatter - 9 x 21 - Pastel, Float Maple Frame, Museum Glass - 1200These framed pastels by Kelly are just 8″ and 9″ wide and therefore able to perfectly punctuate one of those slivers of space we all have in our homes.

Kelly Milukas – “Tree Chatter” – 9 x 21 inches – Pastel, Float Maple Frame, Museum Glass

059A - Milukas - Flow - 8 x 18 - Pastel Custom Frame, Museum Glass -950Kelly Milukas – “Flow” – 8 x 18 inches – Pastel Custom Frame, Museum Glass

046A - Milukas -Orange City - 8 x 8 - Encaustic Painting in Custom Ash Frame - 695Kelly’s framed encaustics stand on their own or can be paired together for an always needed dose of color.

Kelly Milukas – “Orange City” – 8 x 8 inches – Encaustic Painting in Custom Ash Frame

taste interior design and art gallery kelly milukas

Kelly Milukas – “Float” & “Beach” 8 x 8 inches each – Encaustic Paintings in Custom Ash Frames

21 - Milukas - Sand and Structure - 10 x 19 - Pastel, Custom Float Maple Frame, Museum Glass - 1100

Kelly’s seaside pastel offers so many shades of watery blue and earthy sand it can find a special spot in just about any coastal home.

Kelly Milukas – “Sand and Structure” – 10 x 19 inches – Pastel, Custom Float Maple Frame, Museum Glass

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Michael Rich – “Sky I” – 12 x 15 inches – Oil on Panel

taste interior design decorating michael rich art gallery

Michael Rich “Sky II” – 12 x 15 inches – Oil on Panel

051A - Michael Rich - Breathe - Oil on Canvas - 26 x 22 - 2800Lastly, Michael Rich’s abstract oils breathe modernity and a fresh spirit into any home and work equally well on richly painted or gallery white walls.

Michael Rich – “Breathe” – 26 x 22 inches – Oil on Canvas

 

inspiration @ work: architecture, art and light

We’re constantly inspired by our collaborators in the field of design and by new technologies we incorporate into our projects.  Lately we’ve had the pleasure of adding personal relationships with artists to our well of inspiration.  This week we’re brimming over with inspiring people and things.  Here’s a snapshot of three people and things bringing excitement to our work.

Daniel Forster Photography

Swiss-born Daniel Forster has covered eleven America’s Cups and ten Olympic Games. His photographs appear in every major nautical magazine in Europe, the USA, New Zealand and Australia, and in general interest magazines like STERN and TIME. He’s also been commissioned to photograph Maxi yacht owners yacht participation at major sailing events in book format.

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of meeting Jamestown-based Daniel and gasping at some of his photographs he so humbling shared with me. As a result, his work now proudly hangs in the gallery at taste and hopefully in our client homes in the near future.

A. Tesa Architecture

Since it’s founding in 2011, A. Tesa Architecture has earned a reputation for designing homes that offer an admired interpretation of classic New England character coupled with modern flair and functionality. For Alec R. Tesa AIA, the firm’s principal, the process begins by taking the time to thoroughly understand the client’s vision and how they live. This thoughtful process, from concept to completion, is a partnership unfolding over time ensuring that every detail is carefully considered.

Alec’s style is one I’ve long admired and I’m so pleased to have been selected as the interior designer on one of his client homes in Narragansett, Rhode Island.  Let the thoughtful and considered collaboration begin…

Radio Ra.2 by Lutron

Designing in layers of light has long been an important part of our practice. Creating scenes with those layers of light enables our clients to easily adjust all, or some, light fixtures in a room to a pre-set level. Add to that the ease of lowering window shades and controlling the thermostat from a keypad or remote, and we’re able to bring an ease to our clients lifestyle and the way they use their homes.

(I’m still tickled when I visit a client home where we installed Lutron’s electronic shade controls a few years ago with a favorite collaborator, Back Bay Shutter. My lovely client still takes great pride in demonstrating how easy it is to raise and lower the room-full of shades in the family room with a touch of a button. It makes her happy and I couldn’t be more pleased.)

Currently, we’re designing lighting plans for two client homes that use Lutron’s RadioRa system. Savvy electricians are key to incorporating a lighting control system and we’re fortunate to be working with two of the best. Bring on the layers and the ease of designing with light.

Stop by taste anytime or click on over for a dose of inspiration!

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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.