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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…
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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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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

 

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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the devilish details

finishing the Summer ’17 Homes by taste

 

I’ve always preferred to believe god was in the details rather than the devil.  It’s a far more positive way of sustaining the focus and the energy needed to get finishing details right.  Especially now, when the pressure is on for our team to finish the finely crafted and designed homes we’ve been working on for nearly two years.

Every space plan, cabinetry design, coffered ceiling, tile detail, fixture, finish, color and wall covering (this is an endless list) takes its place in the overall vision we’ve had for the home.  And when clients, and even our builder friends we’ve worked with side-by-side,  begin to see color go on the walls and light fixtures installed, they breathe a sigh of relief.

They’ve trusted (sometimes skeptically, but that’s ok; we’re used to the raised eyebrows) our ability to see the final finish and lead decisions about the details we knew to be truly important to the overall design.  And that trust is validated when they stand back and see how the wall covering in the dining room works with the pantry color, and kitchen light fixtures complement the stone countertops.  That “I get it moment” for our clients is pure payoff for us.

Of course it doesn’t end there; just as the hardwood, stone, tile and color go in, there’s another layer of detail ready to be installed.  Features such as cabinetry hardware, the restored settee, the custom draperies and the commissioned artwork truly finish the work and makes those rooms sing.

Stay tuned as we finish and share sneak peeks of the Summer ’17 Homes by taste.  Until then, snapshots of finished interior details follow, to inspire you this summer.

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practice makes better

a progress report on our use of Sketch-up

In 2016, team taste more fully employed the 3D modeling tool Sketch-up than ever before.  From furnishing drawings to cabinetry detailing to full room interiors, we turned to Sketch-up often to work through the scale and proportion of our designs and illustrate our interiors. But it wasn’t always so…

Years ago, taste designer Kevin Baker and I used Sketch-up with some success, yet often found the rough edges of the design program caused more concern with our clients than answered questions. After receiving several raised eyebrows during client meetings, we took a step back and returned to relying on CAD to work through and convey our ideas.

Then — Ashley arrived.

taste designer Ashley DelVecchio renewed our confidence in the tool with her lightening fast speed and plug-in know how. She helped us turn rough sketches into well lit renderings – complete with wood finishes, tile selections and reflections in glass. Soon, we all began to rely on the program and the power it had to enrich our design process and help our clients envision— and build confidence in—our designs.

Our progress continues and we have big plans for Sketch-up in 2017. Stay tuned as Julia Reinalda joins the ranks of savvy Sketch-up designers and Kevin expands the use of the program to convey construction details.

A sampling of recent 3D renderings follow, to inspire and help envision your next project.

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Simple line drawings of a Kitchen island helped our clients imagine the functionality this additional cabinetry brought to their space.

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Renderings of this Kitchen helped us get the scale and detailing of this millwork design spot-on in this historic home. We intentionally restrained from adding additional color and material finishes so we could study the millwork profiles, without the distraction of other surfaces.

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We used this same monochromatic approach in this master bedroom. The lack of color helped us to study the millwork design, custom bed and additional natural light created by the mirrors on the wardrobe doors.

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Then, we used the same Sketch-up approach in the master bathroom at this client’s home. Larger and additional windows produced the abundant natural light our client wished for, and the renderings helped to confirm the positive outcome.

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We turned to Sketch-up once again in this rendering by Ashley. The illustrations provided taste clients with our vision to visually expand the shower with glass, and presented an option for natural wood upper cabinets, or painted. (We all decided the natural wood upper cabinets were best.)

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Kevin has been collaborating with local architect Mary Meagher on a cottage renovation, including the addition of second floor dormers. To help our Chicago-based client understand the options, Kevin’s using Sketch-up to develop massing models that are emailed to our client for review and consideration.

 

Ashley created these Sketch-up renderings of the cottage featured above, complete with artwork from the gallery at taste – patiently waiting to takes its place of honor at our client’s home this summer.

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artist spotlight: ben anderson

 

I’m so pleased to have the work of Ben Anderson gracing our gallery, ready to share with fellow art appreciators.  Thanks to a friend and loyal collector of Ben’s work who needed to downsize her art collection, we’ve acquired a vast and varied number of ceramic reliefs and plates.

Among my favorites are Ben’s molds of a freshly caught fish, not unlike the Japanese fish printing process where a fish is rolled onto a soft paper. The glazing on his fish is luminous and perfectly slippery.  I’m also lucky to have one of his crab and lobster plates too, inspired by the traditional Portuguese dish from Friends Market in Providence.

Learn more about Ben and his series of highly charged compositions that remind us of the simple beauty found in living things.

Only the best,

patti watson interior designer taste interior design decorator rhode island boston

 

The following video features Ben Anderson at his studio. He gives a great explanation of his influences and process as an artist.

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Visit taste to view the following available pieces in person, or view the collection in our web-based gallery at www.tastedesigninc.com.

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Ben Anderson – Flounder – Ceramic Plate – 13 x 16 inches

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Ben Anderson – Garlic and Mussels – Ceramic Plate – 6.5 x 4 inches

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Ben Anderson – Fish in Forest Stream – Ceramic Plate – 10 x 10 inches

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Ben Anderson – Blue Fish in Forest Stream – Ceramic Plate – 16.5 x 14 inches

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Ben Anderson – Fiddleheads on Forest Floor – Ceramic Plate – 14 x 18 inches

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Ben Anderson – Two Fish – Ceramic Plate – 13 x 13 inches

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Ben Anderson – Three Trout – Ceramic Plate – 14 x 14 inches

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Ben Anderson – Fish Swimming in Green Pool – Ceramic Plate – 16.5 x 19.5 inches

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Ben Anderson – Shells – Ceramic Plate – 16.5 x 19.5 inches

 

 

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Ben Anderson – Mushroom, Okra and Bay Leaves – Ceramic Plate – 6.5 x 4.5 inches

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Ben Anderson – Blue Crab – Ceramic Plate – 17 x 17 inches

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Ben Anderson – Three Cloves – Ceramic Plate – 6.5 x 4 inches

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Ben Anderson – Mussels on Green Plate – Ceramic Plate – 9 x 6 inches

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Ben Anderson – Shells on Forest Floor – Ceramic Plate – 14 x 17 inches

 

Our gallery furnishings and art are available for our in-home “try it before you buy it” program.

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how design works: post-project stories

A post project check-in

 

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of presenting alongside Jeff Soderbergh, Creator of Custom, Sustainable Furnishings, at the Newport Art Museum during Design Week.

DESIGNxRI’s Design Week is an eleven-day event that celebrates innovative design and architecture throughout Rhode Island. The fantastic team at DESIGNxRI offers talks, tours, luncheons and events such as the Drinks With Designers, where I discussed How Design Works and shared projects with unique challenges/solutions.

To prepare for the talk, I found before photos of three client projects that have been completed for a year or more now, then shared the before photos with my clients to jog their memory of the spaces pre-renovation.  Then, I asked them for insight on how the spaces were working for them now, compared to before, and posed these questions:

— How have the rooms changed your views/relationship to adjacent interior rooms? And to the exterior?
— How has the lighting/layout/finishing changed the way you use the space?
— What happens in these spaces now, when family and friends gather, that didn’t happen before?
— What work gets done in these spaces now, that didn’t flow as well before? Why?
— Any unexpected life moments with your children that have resulted from these improved spaces? With friends?
— Any aspect of the design that you were unsure of that you’re glad you incorporate?

The stories I received in response were generous, heartwarming and incredibly fulfilling as a designer.  Here’s one of those projects – a master suite in a whole house renovation that is living up to the promise of sanctuary for my clients.  And, creating sweet memories.

These client stories are a reminder that thoughtful design can transform our lives.  Sometimes the change is sweeping, sometimes it happens in small, incremental ways that add up to easier, meaningful living. Either way, design remains a powerful tool for better living.  How can it be harnessed in your home?

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locally grown

how an abundance of local talent was tapped for this custom cottage

Everyday we are reminded of the deep pools of design and artisan talent that reside in our tiny state.  (Earlier this week, I ran into three local artisans ready to excitedly share news of their newest projects/work during a 10-minute run into the coffee shop for a mid morning tea.  No August vacation time for these busy artisans!).
Many of the artists and craftspeople we work with went to RISD and are (thankfully!) staying in Rhode Island to launch their careers.  Others are coming from New York, realizing that there are contemporaries here with whom to collaborate, while enjoying the lower cost of living and seaside benefits of the Ocean State.   Like any state, we have our issues.  But access to world-class designers and artisans isn’t one of them.
With commitment, I’ve actively developed my working relationships with local artisans and craftspeople for the past 12 years of my business.  And now my fellow taste-designers are doing the same.  It’s become a guiding principal of our practice.
So nothing gives us more pleasure than these words from a client: “I really want to work with as many local craftspeople as possible on this project”.  Amen.  And so we did.
Here’s a pictorial review of this Little Compton, Rhode Island project and a shout out to the local artisans and craftspeople who helped make this interior happen.
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before & after kitchen interior design renovation
Studio Dunn walnut counter stools are pitch perfect in this simple and honest Kitchen.
Big thanks to Stephen Plaud for lending their craftsmanship to the Kitchen cabinetry.
And that’s a Dora Atwater Millikin painting peeking into view on the wall to the right of the Kitchen.
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Our friend David Ellison at Lorimer Workshop contributed his talent and unerring eye to the dining table, living room console and coffee table in the open Living/Dining Room.
We worked, once again, with O&G Studios and arrayed their chairs around the dining table, providing a no-worries approach to summer dining, just in from the beach.
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Lorimer Workshop‘s coffee table nearing completion at their shop.
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The coffee table at home in the Living Room.
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Lorimer Workshop built the console and the grasscloth covered parsons table, to perfection.
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The console at home in the Living Room.
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The restrained and edited O&G Studio‘s Atlantic Lowback chair is perfect in the lower level of the home.
O&G Studio‘s luggage rack is a welcoming and functional accent in the guest room.
Dunes and Duchess designs and creates their line of home accessories in nearby Connecticut.  Our client loves their Lakeside chair in this custom color and poppy upholstery.
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Whetstone Workshop created this newel post cap for us, to punctuate the walnut and stainless steel balustrade.
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Michael Boulay crafted this headboard and nightstand designed by our own Wendi Dicely Scalora.

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.

taste team members Wendi Dicely-Scalora, Kevin Baker and Ashley Delvecchio

Gibson Building Company, General Contractor

Stephen Plaud, Kitchen Cabinetry

Rustigian Rugs, Living Room Area Rug

Allied Floors, Countertops

Brassworks, Woodstove

Michael Boulay Woodworking, Bedroom Headboard and Nightstands, Sink Vanity (not shown)

Kyle Caldwell, Photography

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