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Lighthouse getaways

May 24, 2013 12:46 PM

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Rose Island Light in Newport, Rhode Island, was originally built in 1871 and restored for overnight visitors in the 1980s.

With summer right around the corner, you, like us, are probably thinking about getting away. For some that means exploring an exotic locale, for others, it is discovering — or rediscovering — the many beautiful spots and/or cultural offerings found right here in New England. A restful retreat on a New Hampshire lake, or a little cottage just steps from an ocean beach can provide the needed change of pace. But for those looking for something more adventurous, an overnight stay in a historic lighthouse in New England holds some allure. As Design New England contributing editor Bruce Irving wrote in his “Icon” column “The Resolute Lighthouse” in our May/June 2013 issue, these maritime beacons are “always signaling — no matter how dark the night or strong the gale.” That’s a message of hope and steadfast loyalty that inspires.

Some of the region’s lighthouses, Rose Island Light in Newport, Rhode Island, in particular, allow guests to stay overnight for a night, a week, or even a month, offering a chance to explore and imagine how life might have been for the hardy keepers of the light.

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Pottery that brings Vermont charm to home and garden

May 17, 2013 03:00 PM

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Farmhouse Pottery founder Zoe Zilian at good boutique in Boston with her line of Hutch+Pantry gift sets.

There is nothing quite as magical and charming as rural New England, and Zoe Zilian, founder of Farmhouse Pottery, can help to bring a little bit of that authentic rustic feel to your home with her stoneware pottery and garden-inspired apothecary collection.

Originally from Camden, Maine, Zilian has an appreciation of the region’s vast network of farmers and artisans. She brings a fusion of these New England characteristics to her work, recently available at good boutique in Boston’s Beacon Hill.

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The art of the craftsman at North Bennet Street School exhibit

May 16, 2013 04:26 PM

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The artisans behind this chaise lounge made use of negative space to create modern but comfortable outdoor seating.

Gorgeous sideboards and cabinets, classic comb-back Windsor chairs, a contemporary wooden music stand, and handmade jewelry, all the work of students and alumni of North Bennet St. School in Boston’s North End, are on display through May 24 in the lobby at Two International Place in downtown Boston. We previewed the exhibit at the annual evening of traditional craft, a gala event packed with guests and sponsors of the 125-year-old school dedicated to offering hands-on training in traditional trades and fine craftsmanship.

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Inspiration for a spring soiree

May 16, 2013 10:20 AM

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A champagne bucket from Tina Frey Designs is handmade with resin and accented with leather handles.

At the Architectural Digest Home Show in New York a few months ago, I was charmed by California designer and artist Tina Frey’s booth. Her pieces, which are also carried by interior designer Liz Caan’s Design Studio & Retail Store in Newton, Massachusetts, and at the gift shop at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, range from bowls and vessels to serving ware and jewelry. All are all made of lightweight resin, which gives the surface an alluring frosty look. Though she often works in bright colors, I covet Frey’s milky white champagne bucket accented with leather handles and know just what bubbly I’d pair it with for a stylish impromptu evening soiree.

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Layers of color bring an expansive space down to human scale

May 14, 2013 02:41 PM

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Michael J. Lee

A neutral palette makes for harmonious seating areas in the living room, which opens to a study where a bold red grasscloth covered wall attracts attention.

From the start, the client who hired Dee Elms and Andrew Terrat of Terrat Elms Interior Design in Boston to help turn a downtown penthouse into a comfortable home for Design New England's May/June 2013 interiors story “In Sync” had his priorities in order. “The views, the art collection, the furnishings are all important, but livability is what really matters,” he says. “Because of its warmth and coziness, this place looks good to me all the time, even with toys strewn about.”

Soon there will be even more toys as he, his fiancée and their 2-year-old daughter are expecting their second child.

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Treasures explored

May 13, 2013 12:53 PM

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Susan Teare

Autumn leaves tumble across the lawn of this “Farmhouse Revival” home designed by Vermont’s Cushman Design Group. The gabled dormers and sturdy columns along the porch elevate the house to gentleman farmer status without taking away from the basic simplicity of the farmhouse inspiration.

The region’s rich inventory of architecture and craftsmanship was front and center at our recent Spring Design Salon, “New England Treasures: Innovating with regional materials, heritage, and home design” at Pompanoosuc Mills in downtown Boston. Designer Milford Cushman of Cushman Design Group in Stowe, Vermont, hit on three of the most romantic and quintessential New England building forms: The farmhouse, the barn, and the summer camp.

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Classics at Shafer O'Neil Interior Design

May 10, 2013 03:43 PM

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This entry to a house built by Payne|Bouchier Fine Builders uses an updated take on the classical arch and column motif to create a timeless look.

Now and Future Classics

The first definition of classic is “of the first or highest quality, class, or rank.” The last definition is “of or adhering to an established set of artistic or scientific standards or methods.” We think both apply to the examples we saw at our recent Spring Design Salon, where asked our presenters to discuss “Now and Future Classics: Creating designs that will stand the test of time.”

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Find, buy, admire at MassArt’s Spring Sale

May 7, 2013 01:46 PM

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Ceramic planters by Lucy White.

We always look forward to the annual MassArt Spring Sale, which features original artwork from the college’s students and alumni. This year’s event, in the lobby of the Tower building at 621 Huntington Avenue, Boston, through Saturday May 11, didn’t disappoint. There’s lots to see — and buy at very reasonable prices. Here are a few of my favorite pieces from the show.

Spotting the sweet little planters shaped like baby heads by Lucy White, a senior in the ceramics program, I immediately began to imagine all the things I could grow in them. I chose a pair of glazed white pots with green interiors to add to my kitchen windowsill collection of white objects.

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DNE Spring Design Salons inspire all

May 6, 2013 01:52 PM

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Christian Pleva

The showroom of Boston’s Circle Furniture was filled for our Design Salon on using color and texture indoors and out.

This season our semiannual Design Salon Series has taken us from Belmont to Brockton to downtown Boston in pursuit of inspiration and a bead on the latest trends and products in home design. We discovered techno advances in outdoor audio-video and lighting options, ways to go green in style, and how to go boldly into color and pattern. But there is still more to learn at our final salon of the series, “Now and Future Classics: Creating designs that will stand the test of time,” on Wednesday May 8 at Shafer O’Neil Interior Design in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

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Pattern Selections

May 2, 2013 03:19 PM

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Photograph by Joel Benjamin

A checkered skirt mixes with diamonds on the wall at Paris Ceramics. Boston fashion designer Luke Aaron dressed model Kacy Emmett in a crossover top in silk crepe de Chine and a layered organza and taffeta ball skirt.

It is a design move that may seem reserved only for the brave, but mixing bold patterns and prints has leaped from the elite fashion runway to the home. The trend is showing up in every room, in exterior facades, and even in landscape design, as we demonstrate in our Selections feature in our May/June issue of Design New England.

To inspire us, we turned to Boston fashion designer Luke Aaron, who brought his talent, and luxurious clothing from his Spring/Summer 2013 collection, to the Boston Design Center where we spent the day with photographer Joel Benjamin trying to create the perfect visual to open our fashion-forward Selections. Yes, it took all day to come up with the final shot. In the process, we got plenty of photographs that are way too gorgeous to leave on the cutting room floor.

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About this blog

An insider's look at must-have products, fresh trends, and inspired spaces from the team at Design New England magazine.

Gail Ravgiala is editor of Design New England and a fan of both the region's historic architecture and its growing inventory of modern houses and public buildings.

Courtney Kasianowicz is associate editor of Design New England who scouts the area for new design, charming products, and local artisans both innovative and daring.

Jill Connors, Design New England's editor-at-large, is an antiques maven and design scout and will post about trends and discoveries in the field.

Bruce Irving, Design New England's contributing editor for architecture & building, is a renovation specialist who will share his insights on design and construction.

Estelle Bond Guralnick, Design New England's style & interiors editor, will post about interior design and interior designers and her favorite finds.

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