Design Project: Home Gallery for a Cambridge Collector

Updated: Feb 1, 2019



Rosemary came to me hoping to transition to her new space in Cambridge, having just moved from New York to start teaching at a local university. With her, she brought artwork and collectibles, each with its own history and memories. I knew that for Rosemary, making her Cambridge home feel uniquely her own would mean wrapping her collection into the plan for her new space. So much of my design deals with not only making a home look its absolute best, but using design as a way to create peace during these transitions.


Our Game Plan


At the end of our process, Rosemary's home would feel like her own personal art gallery. To do this, I knew we needed to open up the color of the space. Before, the walls were a muddy taupe that swallowed up the art and furniture. Once we painted the rooms with Benjamin Moore's Simply White, the walls immediately had space, making everything feel larger. I added soft linen window shades to match the clean, textural feel. And of course, we wanted to display Rosemary's art as a central feature so we sent pieces for framing at Framebridge.


Rosemary's eclectic features were the main highlight in my proposed design schemes. For a flat fee, I gave Rosemary two design concepts based on her floor plan to choose from, which Rosemary decided to execute herself. This option was great for Rosemary and also for other clients who have the flexibility in their schedules or are working with a slightly lower budget. In the end, we went with the first design scheme (though made a few edits!).



The Entry


For the entry, we chose a Moroccan orange runner that would both complement and contrast with Rosemary's African accessories and artwork. The vibrant runner immediately brightened the space from the first step inside and drew the eye up to her unique pieces. We also changed the dreaded contractor grade "boob" light to one with an interesting and modern shape.


Check out that beautiful wooden cabinet from Anthropologie, which perfectly displays the basket above.








The Living Room


A gorgeous feature of the new living room are the Lucite bookshelves that highlight all of the vintage bookends (beautifully selected by the client). The transparency puts the focus on the treasures the shelf holds, and the gold frames add just the right amount of geometric intrigue. For this room, we mixed a lot of high and low budget items, which can be a great way to prioritize. In the end, Rosemary chose a comfortable sofa with a rich velvet fabric.








The final look featured a large piece of art that would hang above the sofa, but it had yet to come back from the framer. This little one is just a temporary place holder, but I still love it.


We removed the old ceiling fan and replaced it with this gorgeous and interesting light fixture from Etsy. Lighting is a great way to add an unexpected touch to a room. We especially loved this one for its open lines and vibrant gold, which complemented the amazing bookshelf.








The Dining Space



Since this room was large and multi-functioned, this dining area was all about finding ways to be in conversation with the artwork. I chose a walnut pedestal table and these bold patterned chairs, which became conversation pieces of their own. In this photo, you can see the beautiful effect of the linen shades, which block out harsh light and still add a soft glow.



The Bedroom


The bedroom was a smaller space with an existing bed, but I still wanted Rosemary's collection to be the focal point. This stunning dresser brings the eyes over to these petite pieces, each with their own personality.




A Personal Gallery


For Rosemary, settling into her new home in Cambridge meant also transitioning all her magical items to this new space. By connecting Rosemary's interests and pieces into the essence of her space, we were able to make a place that felt like home. I love that working with holistic design means that I can connect with clients on a deeper level, working to understand how their homes can improve their lives and state of mind. You can read more about my design philosophy in my blog posts about holistic design. And, in the coming weeks, I'll share another exciting shoot!



Photos by Nicole Baas Photography


#holisticdesign #Cambridge #artcollector #interiordesign #designschemes

  • Instagram - Grey Circle
  • Facebook - Grey Circle
  • Pinterest - Grey Circle
Boston, MA 
hello@barbaravail.com