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Anders Zorn and Isabella Gardner, together again

February 28, 2013 11:54 AM


Self-Portrait, 1889, from the Galleria deghli Uffizi in Florence, Italy, is one of the 24 paintings in the exhibit of Anders Zorn’s work at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Swedish artist Anders Zorn took America by storm in 1890s. Apparently, American art patrons couldn’t resist his modern edge and with Anders Zorn: A European Artist Seduces America, now at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, we couldn’t either. (With a title like that, who could?)


March/April 2013 cover!

February 26, 2013 05:48 PM


Photograph by Rob Cardillo

We’ve seen a lot of fabulous landscapes in the pages of Design New England, but none are as romantic or mysterious as the Connecticut garden of landscape designer and antiques dealer Michael Trapp. Beautifully captured in images by photographer Rob Cardillo, it graces the cover of our March/April 2013 issue (in homes and online next week). Inside, there is more of Trapp’s one-of-a-kind genius revealed through the insightful writing of DNE contributor Tovah Martin and more of Cardillo’s stunning photos. From there, we take an exclusive look inside the new home of Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian David McCullough and his wife, Rosalee, a charming “Second Honeymoon” apartment in Boston’s Back Bay. Design mavens will also appreciate the best of last year’s show houses, while fans of Modern architecture will see a fresh new take on the style set in coastal Maine.

Clever hearts

February 14, 2013 12:39 PM


Heart Parts designed by Fatima Fazal in New York City function as a fork, knife, and spoon.

This Valentine’s Day, we’d love to share the Heart Part, a simple yet cleverly designed heart-shaped plastic device that snaps apart to become stylish portable cutlery. It’s part fork (when apart, fork tines are revealed), part knife (the heart’s bottom has a serrated edge), and part “scoop” (the heart’s rounded sides). Designed by Fatima Fazal in New York City, these hearts use 66 percent less plastic than standard cutlery and are 100 percent biodegradable. Fazal says her intention is to instill the romance of enjoying food and the comfort of family dining to those inevitable quick meals or take-out dinners.

On the Heart Part’s website, Fazal writes: “So, before you ‘open’ your Heart Part, I hope you think about something you love. Maybe it’s the perfect pairing of steak and jazz. Maybe it’s your dad’s spaghetti Bolognese. Everything just tastes sweeter when you think about what you love before you eat, because now you are eating with gratitude.”

Great idea. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Fresh or faux, spring has sprung at Boston's West Elm

February 7, 2013 04:39 PM


Look again. These flowers from West Elm are paper made to look like (from left) red roses, paper whites, hellebores.

It might be the dead of winter, but Boston’s West Elm knows how to keep our sights on spring. The Fenway store was recently transformed into a lush greenhouse — of sorts. The flora of the hour was paper, an intriguing alternative to plastic, silk, or other faux flower material. West Elm stocks a variety of the species — roses, paper whites, hellebores — and in a demonstration of ingenious mixing and matching, floral and event designers Rose Mattos and Erin Heath of Forêt Bespoke Floral & Installation of Somerville, Massachusetts, created arrangements that combined paper stems with their own fresh-cut blooms. Talk about the best of both worlds, we'll definitely try this at home.


Dorchester, a “hot” neighborhood then — and now

February 5, 2013 05:30 PM


23 Beaumont Street on Carruth Hill: Captain Eugene Thomas House by John Fox from 1889. A post-Victorian study in masculine angularity by Fox for Civil War veteran Thomas.

Some people were surprised when real estate website Trulia recently crunched the numbers for 24/7 Wall Street to determine the nation’s 10 “hottest neighborhoods” and listed Boston’s Dorchester section as Number 5. Not surprised were the 130 audience members who turned out on a recent Sunday afternoon for “Dorchester’s Hidden Treasurers: The Ascent and Revival of the Railroad Suburb,” a lecture given by me and hosted by the Dorchester Historical Society at the Carpenters Center, that sleek new building designed by ADD Inc., whose oversize digital billboard flashes above the Southeast Expressway between Exits 15 and 16. FULL ENTRY

Beauty in the public’s eye

February 1, 2013 03:50 PM


Nic Lehoux

Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was recognized as most beautiful by public votes around the world.

The votes are in! Thursday night at the Boston Society of Architects 2nd annual awards program, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum addition, designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, won over the public’s hearts and was honored with the People’s Choice Award sponsored by They voted on the four buildings nominated for the Harleston Parker Medal, an award founded in 1921 and co-sponsored by the City of Boston to recognize “the single most beautiful building or other structure” built in the metropolitan Boston area in the last 10 years. A jury of 10 design professionals saw things differently, however, and selected the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, designed by Fumihiko Maki and Leers Weinzapfel Associates, for the Harleston, proving that though architecture and beauty go hand in hand, beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. What the public considers beautiful often interestingly differs from what experts in the field consider worthy of note.

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.