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Agrarian simplicity (and glamour)

May 30, 2012 02:36 PM

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The Studio North chicken coop, a contemporary structure of fiberglass and maple branches, is home to architect Keith Moskow’s growing flock.

For a romantic take on America’s agricultural heritage, we featured Moskow Linn Architect’s Studio North creation Il Tempietto di Pollo, an architecturally forward approach to housing hens, in our May/June, 2012, issue. Its creators, Keith Moskow and Robert Linn, see it as a prototype for everyday backyard chicken coops, a concept gaining steam as the locavore movement picks up devotees. Certainly, the concept of farming on a small scale, at home, is an attractive idea. Enter design minds like Moskow Linn’s and the folks at Williams-Sonoma’s and it can be a stylish reality.


Made in the shade: A garden guide to low-light plantings

May 23, 2012 04:28 PM

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Rich Pomerantz

In Carol Gilligan’s garden, shade plants make for a magical landscape.

Carol Gilligan’s garden (Growth & Discovery May/June 2012) captivates with its fanning ferns, elegant birch trees, hydrangea vines, and dappled sunlight. That it is a garden that flourishes mostly in the shade, however, is what astonishes. Shade gardens like Gilligan’s thrive when the limited sun is embraced and plants known to excel in low light are smartly given the freedom to grow and develop as nature intended. Many beautiful species flourish in shade or limited sunlight but they don’t get the attention afforded to showy full-sun blooms. Here are some to consider.


Colors and shapes energize the International Contemporary Furniture Fair

May 21, 2012 06:11 PM


Scraplights from Graypants are crafted from recycled boxes, some with the labels still on, to create some seriously chic lighting.

The consensus: This year’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) is right on point. (The show runs through May 22.) Spread out across New York’s massive Jacob J. Javits Convention Center was booth after booth of refreshing designs made with aesthetic and function (and, in many cases, the environment) in mind. Materials, colors, and shapes created a common story along the aisles of wares. We could think of no better way to spend a rainy NYC day.


Living with History: The Barn at 17 Antiques

May 17, 2012 05:29 PM

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Integrating history into design was the topic of last night’s Design Salon with speakers (from left) Gregory Lombardi, Eliza Tan, Jerry Freeman, Stephen Payne, and Dan McAuliffe.

It was a beautiful spring night for our final Design Salon at The Barn at 17 Antiques in Somerville, Massachusetts. Guests (of which there were record number) were greeted by the owner’s shop mascot — their dog, Sydney — and made their way into the 10,000-square-foot warehouse that, filled with antiques as it was, still felt quaint and cozy. The evening moved from mingling to a guided discussion of ways to incorporate history into today’s design.


North Bennet Street School continues to impress

May 17, 2012 02:25 PM


The North Bennet Street School exhibit boasts of achievements by students and alumni. The work in the foreground is by Paula Garbarino.

Outside 125 High Street is the fast-paced bustle of downtown Boston, but just inside the Pearl Street entrance of this high rise building in the heart of the Financial District, things take on a different tone. Here the North Bennet Street School, a private institution in the North End that educates students in traditional craftsmanship trades, has its student and alumni exhibit on view through Friday May 18. Displayed are impressive examples of wood furniture (tables, chairs, desks, dressers, even a few grandfather clocks), jewelry, books, and musical instruments, all stunningly and painstakingly handcrafted by the students who also designed them.


Garden Finds Found at Brimfield

May 15, 2012 04:06 PM

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Signage like this let me know I was at the right place for vintage garden pieces.

Come May, July, and September, the small New England town of Brimfield, Massachusetts, goes all out and transforms itself into an antiques playground for six days by hosting the aptly and simply named Brimfield Antique Show. It bursts at the seams with more than 5,000 dealers, attracting an assortment of designers, homeowners, merchandisers, serious and amateur collectors, and tourists and while this has been happening, rain or shine, for more than 50 years, every day in every show in every year is completely different. One-of-a-kind items are the show’s stock-in-trade, and nowhere else can the astute shopper spot the next big thing in vintage wares than at Brimfield. (An early edition of Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking tucked on a shelf for $250 tells me the foodies are soon to make their mark!). For this spring’s show, however, I was on a mission to find what Brimfield would portend for the season’s trends in garden accessories.


Dream Spaces reach beyond the basics at Roomscapes

May 10, 2012 01:15 PM

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Design New England's Steve Twombly and I took a photograph with our speakers (from left) Todd LaBarge, Michael Coutu, Doreve Nicholaeff, and Cameron Snyder.

Design New England’s Design Salon “Dream Spaces” at Roomscapes Luxury Design Center in Rockland last night rewarded its attendees for venturing out in the rain with a wonderful panel of speakers that tantalized all with their projects. The theme placed importance on paying attention to details when designing a client’s dream space, and the Roomscapes showroom provided the perfect backdrop with winding rooms packed with examples of the exceptional work produced for their clients.


New (and old) designs from Pierre Frey

May 9, 2012 04:20 PM


Choosing Pierre Frey’s fantastic Le Marché (above) for the “et al.” pages of our May/June 2012 issue (now online) was both an easy and a not-so-easy decision. Easy because it is fun and new, evocative of French countryside charm, and arouses appetites for fresh vegetables. Not so easy because there are so many sumptuous fabrics and items in the 7,000 plus Frey collection from which to choose. Every time a new sample lands on our desk, we wonder how could we have loved another. The range is so intoxicatingly extensive because the French fabric house not only introduces new textiles regularly under the Pierre Frey name, it also offers collections for its three secondary brands acquired as the company grew.


Wrought With Care: Vanderbilt’s Gates Restored

May 4, 2012 01:36 PM


Restored and recently reinstalled, magnificent wrought-iron gates mark the northern entry to The Breakers, in Newport, Rhode Island.

On a recent Friday evening, as the sun was casting an orange glow over the ocean waters a few feet away, two tradesmen, working from a cherry picker and their Lodi Welding pickup truck, hoisted a large, intricately crafted piece of wrought iron into place. The piece dangled in mid-air, then settled into place. The men sighed, and then one said with a grin, “We’ve been working on these for two years.” And, at last, the splendid gates are back.


Great Design Goes Green at Circle Furniture

May 3, 2012 02:41 PM

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Advocates of keeping style high and environmental impact low were our speakers (from left) Owen Kantor, Stephanie Birchenough, John Day, and Sally Grant.

There’s no doubt that “Green” is no longer a movement — it’s an unavoidable factor in all things, and design is no exception. That much was evident at last night’s Design New England Design Salon at the new Circle Furniture showroom, 31 St. James Avenue, Boston, where designers, trade professionals, and homeowners gathered to hear what authorities in the field had to say about incorporating green elements into great design.


If you Blog, Tweet, Pin, Link, and Friend, who has time to design?

May 2, 2012 10:46 AM


Media, social and otherwise, to promote your brand was the topic at a forum at K. Powers & Company. From left: Leslie Fine, Kathleen Powers, Kristin Bedard, and Gail Ravgiala.

A roomful of designers asked that question last week at a workshop on social media as a marketing tool. Some 40 guests gathered at the Needham showroom of K. Powers & Company, Decorative Carpets and Rugs, which generously sponsored the event, and found answers from two social networking pros: Kristin Bedard, formerly of The Boston Globe and and now with Forrester Research, and Leslie Fine of Leslie Fine Interiors of Boston and astute blogger.

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.

Real Estate

Globe Home of the Week
Single floor living in Brockton

Single floor living in Brockton

Royal Barry Wills designed this home located on a cul-de-sac in Brockton's West Side.