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Venegas and Company: Solving Problems


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Speakers at the Venegas and Company Design Salon include (from left): Dan Hisel of Dan Hisel Architect, Donna Venegas of Venegas and Company, Jean Verbridge of Siemasko + Verbridge, and Chris Magliozzi of Bay Point Builders.

With the beautiful Venegas and Company kitchen showroom at the Boston Design Center as a backdrop, Design New England’s fall salon series wrapped up with a flourish. “Problems Solved” was the topic and our panel of four distinguished design professionals launched into discussions of creative design ideas, innovative products, and solid building solutions.


Dan Hisel of Dan Hisel Architect in Arlington, Massachusetts, used his recent projects to illustrate how he solved the problem of integrating typical vintage New England architecture with the more contemporary building design his clients wanted. Form and function go hand-in-hand in projects like the house addition he designed with a large horizontal overhang on the exterior that integrated beautifully with the lines of the design and also served to block the uphill view of a neighboring yard.

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A project by architect Dan Hisel involved extending a flat roof out past exterior windows in order to minimize the uphill view of the neighboring yard and give the home more privacy.

Lucky for us, design problems are relatively easy to fix compared to, say, global warming or world hunger. That was the refreshing take Jean Verbridge of Siemasko + Verbridge of Beverly, Massachusetts, had on the topic. Whether the design of a space or the choice of the products that fill it, solutions usually involve either some level of organization or some level of multifunctionality. She showed us some innovative furnishings such as clever extending tables and handsome modular sofas that address multifunctionality handsomely. In her work on a North Shore restoration featured in Design New England’s September/October 2012 issue, Resurrection, Verbridge brought versatility to the kitchen by incorporating a square table on wheels into the center island. The wood-topped extension can be pulled away when needed for specialty pastry making or to be used as a movable bar or hors d’oeurve server.

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The wood-topped movable square kitchen table was a solution to Jean Verbridge’s necessity to find a “strudel table” for a client. It’s part of the kitchen island but can be moved around the room, or even out into the dining room as needed.

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Donna Venegas, the showroom’s owner, invited us to simply look around us to see examples of what is new, practical, and pretty in kitchen products and design. Flush cabinets offer a sleek, sophisticated look, while a pleasing aesthetic is often achieved from a technique of framing cabinetry with an attractive, complementary choice of wall and backsplash.
And lastly, Chris Magliozzi of Bay Point Builders in Newton, Massachusetts, addressed an issue that has come up repeatedly among our salon series speakers: Teamwork is tantamount to good work. The best projects are those where architect, designers, builder, craftsmen, and specialist such as lighting and landscape designers are involved from the beginning. That segued into a lively questions and answers session that left us all with lots of food for thought.

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