Boston Common + My Story

I was thrilled when Boston Common magazine published an article in their May 2018 issue on the nature of my work. Since I embarked on the journey to launch my own business in the spring of 2014, it has evolved from a design studio with a focus on curated vintage pieces to a full-service boutique firm focused on holistic home design. While Boston Common’s article touches on the core of what I aim to do, I wanted to share a little more about my journey and how this focus has evolved over time.


For most of my life I’ve wondered how my interests, curiosities (and obsessions?) would play out into my future, much less a career. Growing up as a child of creative parents meant spending summers at art camp, collecting crayons and setting up at Brimfield Flea Market (see about page). As a “tween”, I also dreamt about the future and what my career might look like and how I could combine all the things I loved spending time doing, from algebra to art (OK maybe I didn’t love algebra, but I was pretty good at it). From rearranging furniture, to organizing spaces, biology and social sciences, I was always on a back and forth about what I wanted “to be.” Because when you’re eighteen, you are told you need to know what you are going to do with the rest of your life and it feels imperative that you choose the right thing. Even though, has anyone actually figured that out?


I decided to study science and medicine because of an experience self diagnosing in high school. At 18, I suffered from a rash-like acne that you couldn’t see from far away, but up close was always lingering. The dermatologist prescribed antibiotic after antibiotic and finally I asked, “is it something I am eating?” To which they replied, “no” every time (side note: I was eating frozen snickers and French fries for lunch daily). I did my own research and googled “food and skin” (before there was an abundance of info on the subject like there is now) and began a raw diet that I read about on a random site. Within 3 days, my skin was noticeably less inflamed. From that moment on I changed my focus to nutrition so I could help others become better informed on the choices they were making and how it could affect their lives. Though I still loved art and design, I didn’t think it was a practical career choice, mostly because I was uninformed on the potential the industry had.

**Not at ALL condoning listening to google over doctors, but being honest about my experience.


Fast forward post-college and nutrition degree and I still had this desire to learn more about interior design. How could I do this practically? Where did I want to be? I knew I loved Boston, so starting there felt like a natural choice. I moved, became a nanny, worked full time and went back to school in the evenings at Boston Architectural College. I often also went home to NY to work for my father’s auction on the weekends which inspired me even further to build something that would allow me to utilize my history in the antique business and experience buying and selling vintage pieces.


This article means so much to me because it encapsulated this journey and the interconnectedness of what I am passionate about. What I especially love is this photo and that I am holding a mug that my father made and that I purchased that toile Louis chair at his auction over 15 years ago for $20. I love that this chair has stayed with me and brings memories with it everywhere it goes - it has been to four apartments since I’ve lived here (and it needs to be reupholstered badly especially since Otto has been recently using it as a scratching post). As I reference in the article below, our spaces tell our stories and are a reflection of who we are. And when we go through life’s inevitable transitions, we bring the things we love, and the memories they carry, with us.


And when we go through life’s inevitable transitions, we bring the things we love, and the memories they carry, with us.


I also love that my dear friend and photographer, Nicole Baas, took this photo. She truly is gifted for capturing the heart and soul in her subjects. So thank you, Nicole, for getting me and for being the person I share Cardi B’s Instagram stories with.


I personally went through several transitions in 2017 that really impacted my space and my heart. I moved from a larger apartment into a smaller one - but a smaller space that I now love. A space I definitely didn't love when I first went to look at it. But I made it my own - I sold pieces that held memories that maybe didn’t serve me anymore and exchanged them with new pieces that energized my next phase of life. I think a lot of times people think an interior designer is only needed for super high budgets or for forever homes. But in fact, all of the clients referenced in the article below, were living in rental spaces.


As the article states, I want to help you redesign your space in a way that impacts not only what it looks like, but what you feel like when you walk in. I am so passionate about this because I have seen the results - I have seen how it really can change one’s life (and my own).


I want to help you redesign your space in a way that impacts not only what it looks like, but what you feel like when you walk in.


We are told since day one that we need to be in a certain place in our lives by a certain time…and that is really stressful. There is no right time to care about your surroundings - not when you buy a house or have a baby or get married. Wherever you are at right now is the perfect time.

So thank you all for your support thus far and for picking up the May issue of Boston Common with J Depp on the cover.


Email hello@barbaravail.com with any questions, feedback or just to say hi - I would love to hear from you.

Barbara


Here is the link to the digital subscription as well.



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Boston, MA 
hello@barbaravail.com