Design & Architecture

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.

 

Kitchen.

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.)

 

Cheers,

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

 

 

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.

Cheers,

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

 

 

 

As I began to map out the post it became clear that in order to tell the story properly, it needed to be broken down into parts. It has been a long, interesting, educational and at times painful journey. Having said that – all ended well, but not at all where we started… Today, I am sticking just to the pretty pictures and sources of inspiration, to give you an idea of where we started.

The floor plan below shows locates the stair in the context of

the floor tile layout and several adjoining rooms off the foyer. It is a two story space with the second floor stair landing/hall running from right to left above the family room and kitchen.

In reality the stair and tile layout were conceived simultaneously. The following images are examples of stairs and tile layouts we drew inspiration and ideas from.

Our client loved the tile pattern/border in Brooke Astor’s Holly Hill House. We also drew inspiration from how the stair lands and flairs, which will be more evident in my next post.

SERGE J.F. LEVY/AP Photographer

 

The sweep of the hand rail form the Nathaniel Russell House… Look closely, the hand rail is composed of many individually carved curved segments.

Sje fell in love with this older wrought iron stair balustrade.

And this more modern spin on a similar motif.

 

Sally and I had budgetary concerns and in fact much preferred the character of stairs with simpler wrought iron balusters, as in these examples.

 

Before our client was willing to consider a simple baluster, we had to go thru the “exercise” of what would the more complex balustrade cost.

And so the adventure began…

Stay tuned…

Cheers,

To visit our website, click here.

To follow us on Facebook, click here.

To follow us on Pinterest, click here.

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