Custom Furniture/Cabinetry

Two years ago, we were retained to decorate a Back Bay condo on the first block of Marlborough Street. At the time, we were not allowed to professionally photograph the finished project nor use it in any of our publicity. Recently, it came to our attention that the property was on the market showing photographs of the finished interior and we felt free to at least talk about the project here on our blog. As you will see, the existing architecture was gorgeous, thus our scope of work was furniture, fabrics, and selective decorative lighting, artwork and accessories.

Programmatically, our charge was to design/create stylish, easy, comfortable living areas in a traditional setting. Design the first level for entertaining large groups of people. The second level was intended for personal family living/relaxing and bedrooms. (Sally had a ball!!!)

Dining area.

LivingRoom/Parlor with it’s original chandelier for the mid 1860′s. Can’t you imagine a hosting party here, with a small quartet playing the background?


A few vignette snapshots taken during installation.



Note the corner of the custom sectional sofa Sally designed for the space. A true kitchen lounge!

Library on Second Level with it’s original restored paneling. The perfect place to wind down at the end of the day!

My biggest regret is that I never saw nor do we have a photo of the lovely custom console with a built in TV lift I designed that was placed in the living  room, so beautifully fabricated by Hawkes and Huberdeau.

This piece deserves a separate post on it’s development.

(If I can corner Sally for a moment, I’ll come back and add info on furniture manufacturers, etc.)



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As I had mentioned in my previous post, our client wanted to know what an elaborate wrought iron stair would cost, based on these to stairs as conceptual starting points.


Using as many standard components as possible, we created a design that looked like this.


Our client was not happy with the look, so I sketched up another option which she found to be acceptable.

Working with King and Company, the stair fabricator, we priced the stair several different ways, all of which required drawings… (I now call Bob King The Stair Meister! The man id GOOD!) The above the stair priced out at about 3.5 times the originally proposed and budgeted wood stair, which used standard wood balusters from a company such as L. J. Smith, custom hand rail and exposed treads.

We then looked at what a stair would cost using simple individual wrought iron balusters, a custom hand rail and exposed treads. That was about 1.3 – 1.5 times the original budgeted stair. The price was right, but we could not find any balusters that were acceptable.

Our last option was a fully custom wood stair with a curb. This priced out at about 1.3 times the original budget. King and Company turned the custom baluster we used is on the left.


Every step of the way, Bob King showed us what the stair would look like. The final curb design looked like this.


Over, the effect looked like this.


King and Company turned 6 different baluster heights due to the compound curve of the defending stair!


Fast forward to the last month or so…

The walnut stain was selected for the floors and stair treads.


Fabrication was well under way in Bob King’s shop…


And then today’s installation!


With the stair in place, the arched opening under the stair leading to the living room can be completed. YES!!!

Tomorrow, the custom back stairs will be installed. Finally feels like things are coming together!

Note: We have some concerns about the paint color on the balusters and will probably be tweaking them a little, possibly “graying them out” somewhat.


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Several months ago Sally was contacted by a past client with a request to help her design a family room in her walk out basement overlooking the links at Ipswich Country Club. She wanted it to be stylish, masculine and done with flair. Here are two of Sally’s proposals for the large blank wall immediately to the right of the bar. Both were to done by decorative artists. One was rather formal – tromp l’oeil wainscot, columns, crown molding, etc. There was a lengthy discussion as to whether the dogs would be statues or part to the painting.

The second was much more stylish and whimsical. Again, tromp l’oeil, with drapery hung in front of the “open door”. What fun! Sadly, neither of these happened. Instead we’re considering a custom wallpaper.

She’s an interesting client, who likes to take on certain aspects of the project herself, meaning that aspects of Sally’s work is conceptual. It makes for an interesting collaborative process. The project is about 75% complete and yesterday Sally got a call asking for help resolving the profile of the countertop at the bar. So, armed with measuring tape, pencils and erasers, we headed to the job site today to see what could be done. I actually enjoy these little problems. You have to think on your feet and be decisive. Otherwise, the job slows down – or on occasion grind to a halt… Fortunately, this one was easy. In about 15 minutes a solution was sketched out on a piece of plywood set on top of the bar. This was one of several modifications we made.


While we were there, I took several detail snapshots of the job site. First the overview of the bar area, where most of the action is occurring at the moment.

Peaking out from under the floor protection you can see the  handiwork of our talented decorative painters, Zoe Design. (Note the books in the cabinet Sally was testing for appropriateness.)


A detail shot of the floor and the sink.


The Porcelanosa tile back bar backsplash and custom wall paper designed and produced by Zoe Design.

Yes, those are guinea fowl feathers… Incredible texture, yes?

I’ll save the powder room until another day. We all know what spackle looks like…



To visit our website, click here.

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To follow us on Pinterest, click here.

If you would like our assistance on your design project, contact us here.