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Design New England

Room & Board opens in Boston

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A schematic for the new Room & Board, which opened in the refurbished 1908 Sherman building at 375 Newbury Street in Boston.

By Courtney Kasianowicz

The Minneapolis-based furniture retailer Room & Board opens its first New England store this week in a prime location, 375 Newbury Street at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue. The historical Sherman Building, which was built in 1908 and has housed horses and buggies, a car dealership, an indoor golf course, most recently residential space and commercial space including a popular street-level café. Now, with the help of Gensler, a global design company that has worked with Room & Board on its other locations, and The Architectural Team of Chelsea, Massachusetts, the building has been turned into five sleek and organized floors with 39,000 square feet of space to showcase the brand’s American-made furniture and home goods.

The building’s renovation was designed to meet the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver specifications for core and shell construction. In addition to stabilizing the structure and repairing the main building, the team built a four-story contemporary addition sheathed in glass, which enlarges the interior and provides the opportunity for a large central staircase and a second-floor outdoor terrace.

But what’s inside…

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The Fisher Kitchen Island is one of the company’s many pieces designed with small city apartments in mind. It is made by Shell Lake Woodcrafters of Wisconsin.

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Marlow Bed with a storage drawer extending from the foot of the bed is made by Precedent of North Carolina, is a great option for city dwellers needing more storage but don’t have the space, or do not want to deal with cumbersome side drawers.

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A bedroom set is finished with Room & Board’s popular stain called shell, a luminous silky grey that allows the beauty of the wood grain to show through.

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Besides the four floors of furniture and accessories, the basement level is dedicated to children’s furniture. Furniture arrangements are built around themes such as everyday dining, office, and bedroom.

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The top floor is where to find stylish accessories. Philadelphia’s Galbraith & Paul creates linen pendant lights and velvet pillows with its stellar hand block-printing skills.

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The Meyer Bench has a top of spalted maple, a term used to describe wood that is beginning to decay, and a natural steel base.

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How fun do these bunk beds look? Among the many options, there is a powder- coated version in a vibrant emerald green, or a classic wood-and-white design, made from solid maple and medium density fiberboard.

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Then, there is the collaboration between late iconic modernist Eva Zeisel (one of Design New England’s typefaces is named after her) and the New York design studio KleinReid for limited edition silkscreen prints. They are hand-screened, numbered, and signed, and are on 100 percent cotton archival paper and needless to say … beautifully imagined.

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Photo: Eric Antoniou
At Room & Board's opening party, (from left) store manager Dave Nash with wife Jen Cienfuegos, and company founder John Gabbert.

Great design is always at your fingertips! Read Design New England's May/June 2014 issue online!