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Style Watch

With flying colors

Bright artwork, fabrics, and other accents steal the show in this Newton home.

By Jaci Conry
February 27, 2011

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It’s not uncommon for people to walk into a room and think something’s missing, says Winchester interior designer Kristen Rivoli. “Usually the missing elements are color and great art on the wall.”

The owners of this modern four-bedroom Newton home hired Rivoli to create a cohesive color palette that would complement their Danish mid-century-modern furniture. Rivoli, a big believer in colorful spaces, was inspired by a 1960s painting of bright red poppies in the homeowners’ collection. “It gave off this cool vintage vibe,” she says, “and I wanted the decor to play off that feel.”

For artwork that would enhance the vintage aesthetic, Rivoli went to Jules Place, a gallery in the South End. “I looked for pieces that looked like they could be from the 1960s or ’70s, even though they were done by contemporary artists,” she says. Among the artwork she selected is a large abstract canvas by James Leonard with rich shades of orange and deep blues that now hangs over the living room fireplace. Another wall holds a striking painting with yellow and red hues by Rosemary Boyle.

Handmade pillows adorned with colorful crab and rooster motifs, created by Northborough-based company Fabricadabra, sit on bright red vintage chairs from Reside in Cambridge. “The pillows have a great graphic quality,” says Rivoli, “and they pick up the different colors in the room.”

On the wall behind one chair hangs an Amy Maas painting that reminds Rivoli of modern-art pioneer Jackson Pollock’s work. Two distinct Jonathan Adler lamps add more color to the room: One is made of chartreuse glass; the other features turquoise tile framed in wood. “The lamp colors and styles are completely different,” says Rivoli, “but they don’t need to match.”

Kitchens have a tendency to get overwhelmed by lots of wood cabinetry, says Rivoli, so she likes to bring color into that room, too. The chairs around the kitchen table have red seat covers, and a custom banquette is upholstered in a lively red and white fabric. To add more pizazz, Rivoli selected a folk art painting of a bicycle by Wendeline Matson. “The painting has a wonderful rainbow of colors,” she says. “It’s fun and playful.”

Most of the walls in the house are painted a subtle, creamy white. “It serves as a great backdrop for all of the colors in the space to come together,” says Rivoli. Similarly, understated window treatments – natural fiber shades – help ensure the artwork gets prime billing. Says Rivoli: “It’s clean, bright, and minimal, with strong pops of color everywhere.”

  • February 27, 2011 cover
  • Feb. 27 cover
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