HISTORICAL

DESIGN INSPIRATION:: BOSTON

EXPLORING BOSTON'S ARCHITECTURAL DESIGN HISTORY

View of Beacon Hill from Boston's Public Garden, LGD Team (Crystina Castiglione Photography).

View of Beacon Hill from Boston's Public Garden, LGD Team (Crystina Castiglione Photography).

As a born and raised New Englander, there are few cities that make my little design heart flutter quite like Boston. It’s a city full of architectural and design inspiration, with a new period of history coming alive at every turn of a corner. From cobble street and brick covered, colonial Faneuil Hall, to the Italianate and Gothic Revival churches and public buildings in the heart of downtown, and the art deco skyscrapers of the financial district - Boston really knows how to make my creative juices get excited. I recently went back to explore for the weekend and gathered some photographs of my favorite corners of this magical city.

Art Deco inspired building in Boston's Financial District, LGD Team (Crystina Castiglione Photography). 

Art Deco inspired building in Boston's Financial District, LGD Team (Crystina Castiglione Photography). 

Interior marble archways, chandeliers and John Singer Sargent murals of the Boston Public Library. LGD Team (Crystina Castiglione Photography).

Interior marble archways, chandeliers and John Singer Sargent murals of the Boston Public Library. LGD Team (Crystina Castiglione Photography).

The Boston Public Library is one of my favorite hidden gems of downtown Boston. From the outside it looks very stately and grand already, but when you walk inside you feel like you’re stepping into a palace - in fact it was called the "Palace of the People" when it was first designed in the late 1800's. Designed with inspiration from Paris’s Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève , it’s interior is covered in decadent marble, ornately carved archways, and murals by famous painter John Singer Sargent.

Interior grand foyer marble staircase and archway of the Boston Public Library. LGD Team (Crystina Castiglione Photography).

Interior grand foyer marble staircase and archway of the Boston Public Library. LGD Team (Crystina Castiglione Photography).

I could live in here if you let me!!! I could see using inspiration from this for a grand foyer or entrance way to a home with some of these elements. Upon further exploration, the library opens up to a large Romanesque courtyard right in the middle of the building, complete with classical music playing live from students of Berklee (College of Music).

Interior Renaissance inspired courtyard of the Boston Public Library, LGD Team (Crystina Castiglione Photography).

Interior Renaissance inspired courtyard of the Boston Public Library, LGD Team (Crystina Castiglione Photography).

Perhaps my all time favorite piece of design inspiration in all of Boston though is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Estate and Museum. Tucked away in the Fenway-Kenmore district of Boston, this Venetian Palazzo style palace houses one of the world’s largest collections of artwork and furniture from all periods of history. Isabella was a huge patron of the arts, leaving her entire estate to the city of Boston for public enjoyment - with one exception; absolutely nothing can be moved from where she left it.

Isabella Stewart Gardner interior Venetian inspired arboretum and courtyard, LGD Team (Crystina Castiglione Photography).

Isabella Stewart Gardner interior Venetian inspired arboretum and courtyard, LGD Team (Crystina Castiglione Photography).

Every single inch of this estate is covered in a piece of art, and each room pays homage to specific period in art history. The most amazing part to me? The arboretum centered inside the estate, changed seasonally with specific plants and flora to match. Her estate inspires me to be more playful with ornate and decorative items  - it’s exciting to see the little details in every little piece of furniture, ceiling tiles, lighting fixtures, rugs, and even wall coverings made of hand woven silk. This was a woman who was not afraid to be bold!

Isabella Stewart Gardner Estate interior tile detail, LGD Team (Crystina Castiglione Photography).

Isabella Stewart Gardner Estate interior tile detail, LGD Team (Crystina Castiglione Photography).

Isabella Stewart Gardner Estate gilded ceiling tile detail, LGD Team (Crystina Castiglione Photography).

Isabella Stewart Gardner Estate gilded ceiling tile detail, LGD Team (Crystina Castiglione Photography).

While Boston is filled with incredible design inspiration spots, these are just a couple of my very favorites - I hope you found a little something to inspire you, or perhaps help you to find your own design inspiration on your next traveling adventure!

Boston's Italian North End district, LGD Team (Crystina Castiglione Photography).

Boston's Italian North End district, LGD Team (Crystina Castiglione Photography).

Until next time!

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DESIGN PROJECT:: TIMELESS MONOCHROMATIC PHOTO TOUR, PART I

Timeless, classic, tailored, detailed and monochromatic are a few words I would choose when describing this space I am about to share. This home is so refreshing and calm. I honestly feel a breathe of fresh air (accompanied by lilies, the homeowners always have fresh lilies on display.) right when I walk through the beautiful set of glass french doors in their foyer. Not to mention the Gardenia tree that greets you with it's magical smell at that perfect time of year.

When I first meet with a potential client, there are always some key things that tell me we will either click well (myself and the client) or we will not click well at all. Sometimes it's small things, like an inspiration photo they have pulled that really speaks to me, or maybe a specific style they are drawn too. The first time I met with these homeowners, it was no different. But first, let me show you a few before images of their home. They had just moved into the house, and had a few pieces placed throughout, but as you can see, it was far from finished. 

Myself and the homeowners were chatting, learning more about each other and what their goals were for their home. Then it happened. You know, that moment that something speaks to me and I know this is going to be the perfect project and relationship...

As they were talking, I couldn't help but keep looking past them a little bit, wondering if what I was seeing hanging on their wall, was really what I thought it was. And it was. It was. 

An original signed Slim Aarons photograph, proudly hanging in their (what would soon be) dining room. I died, just a little. That was the moment, that I knew this would be something fabulous, and oh my, how it was. 

I'm so excited take you, on a photo tour of these beautiful space, a space that we turned into a home full of character, love and amazing design.

Because this property is filled with so many details, I've decided to break it apart into different parts, that way we can touch on all the amazing elements throughout the home. So please enjoy, part I... 

When the homeowners returned from London, they brought back a beautiful book filled with botanical sketches. We selected a few of the sketches and had them framed and hung in the foyer on top of the stunning hand blocked wallpaper. It fits perfectly with the tone of their historic home and is a lovely greeting for guests, complete with a cozy tufted wing chair duo. 

The formal living room was a really fun space to work with. The fireplace is on an angle, so naturally you feel like you should surround your furniture with focus on the fireplace. In this situation we decided to throw that thought out the beautiful french doors. Instead of letting the fireplace be the focus, we decided it should be a supporting role in the layout. 

Heirloom quality furniture choices, slivers of gold and different hues of wood tones contrast perfectly with the white textile choices. We decided to add the custom plaid bolsters on the chairs for a bit of a masculine touch to accompany the graceful curves of the sitting chairs. 

I really love antique area rugs, there is truly nothing that compares to modern day. We got the rest the furniture atop this antique vegetable dyed peace of art. 

Our clients have a love for antiques, beautiful books and items that tell stories. We were able to combine the use of heirloom pieces passed down through their families and pair them with modern accessories of today. All together, they blended lovely. 

Just past the formal living room, the stairway boasts beautiful architectural documents of sailboats along with black and white photography of regatta races. We had a lot of fun coming up with the framing and layout for this area.

In the dining room we chose a large scale chandelier to dance over  the Ralph Lauren dining table and chairs. A collection of photos from travels, family, friends and their beloved furry friend, Franklin give the dining room a more casual feel. Not too stuffy and formal for entertaining. Plus lots of light, lots and lots of sunny Florida natural light. My heart just sings in there.

And of course, Slim Aarons stayed right where he had been all along, we just let him share the wall with a stately wine cabinet.

This brings us to the end of our part I story, but I leave you with the above photo, that just gives you a sliver into the not so monochromatic family room... 

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** All professional photography by Native House Photography

DESIGN PROJECT :: THE GAS PLANT BUILDING

Most people think of design as an interior process but sometimes our work takes us outdoors too. That was the case with our Furnish Me Vintage project.

The Gas Plant Arcade building located in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg on Central Avenue was built in the 1920s and over the years it became the little ugly duckling on the block, in desperate need of a good makeover. 

Photo Courtesy of Furnish Me Vintage

Photo Courtesy of Furnish Me Vintage

And we can’t even blame it for letting its looks slip. This 30,000 square foot building was said at one time to have a chicken factory on the fourth floor!

When the new owners Jackie & Todd Wilson of Furnish Me Vintage bought the building last year, though, its time finally came to be transformed. Furnish Me Vintage is widely known for its vast selection of Mid Century Modern furniture so the outside of the building needed to reflect all of the fabulous finds that were inside. At the same time, we didn't want to take away from the industrial warehouse feel that it had always had.

Photo Credit:  A Traveling Broad

Photo Credit: A Traveling Broad

So we kept is simple, a neutral gray that will withstand the lovely St. Petersburg sunshine, emphasizing some of the architectural elements with another shade of gray. 

Photo Credit:   Native House Photography

Photo Credit: Native House Photography

We then added 30 linear feet of Brazilian Teak up the center to really take advantage of the height, and finally placing the signage atop the teak was the icing on the cake for us. 

Photo Credit:   Native House Photography

Photo Credit: Native House Photography

The result was a beautiful swan of a building. We love it! They now have furniture on all four floors. They also have a functioning glass garage door for events and other fun things to come. We balanced it by designing custom mullions on the other side and finished it all off with some decorative sconces — the jewelry to a building that looks as beautiful as all the furniture it houses.

Photo Credit:   Native House Photography

Photo Credit: Native House Photography