Alexandra & John's Clusters of Color

House Tour

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Names: Alexandra Grenham, her husband, John, and their two daughters
Location: North End — Boston, Massachusetts
Size: 1,336 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year; owned

When I saw Alexandra's House Call last month, I was excited to get the job of shooting the full tour. Like you, I couldn't wait to see more of the beautiful brick and beam loft peppered with bursts of color.

When the majority of your space is one open room, decorating can be a challenge, but Alexandra has it mastered. Contemporary practical pieces — like the large outdoor table converted for indoor use — serve as anchors, while color pops up in accessories. John's love of minimalism keeps it all in check. Which I can imagine is a tough job, because as Creative Director for Erie Drive, Alexandra often goes on buying trips, and some of the inventory comes home with her. Since most of the cool stuff in the space (transit signs, robots, typography prints, etc.) originated on such trips, it seems to work out just fine.

Their daughters' room is a girly explosion of pink and pattern. Bright Marimekko prints are how Alexandra's mom decorated her childhood space, and she's done the same. Also a nod to tradition, framed over the crib is a tiny yellow dress, which Alexandra and then her two girls wore home from the hospital.

The girls' room is in the home's master bedroom, but Alexandra hasn't given over the walk-in closet. Since they reclaimed the largely wasted hall closet as usable space and a home for their books, this closet and the one in their bedroom are enough for their needs.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Contemporary, fun, playful, sometimes colorful, and relatively practical. I put things together that I love, but I really like items to be functional or meaningful.

Inspiration: There is great composition and design organically happening all around us. I spend a lot of time walking around cities (not just the one I live in), and I am inspired by the composition of everyday things, like all of the dots and streaks of yellow cabs going up and down the streets of New York. I also think the cereal aisle at the grocery store is a cool and crazy explosion of color.

Favorite Element: The windows, beams, and brick are in a tie. I love them all!

Biggest Challenge: We all share one bathroom! Our biggest design challenge is
balancing John's need for minimalism with my love of clusters and collections.

What Friends Say: People are usually taken aback by the bright and open feel of the space. We hear "Wow!" quite a lot.

Biggest Embarrassment: The kitchen. It is next on the list to be renovated. In the meantime, I enjoy designing the new one in my head.

Proudest DIY: The mobile over my daughter's bed. It started as just paper
butterflies, but it keeps evolving. The latest additions are the paper lanterns.

Biggest Indulgence: The Arco light in the living room. I love it and knew that we
could pull it off with the height of our ceiling.

Best Advice: Live in your space for a little before you furnish it. Get to know how you function in the space and organize your home around your lifestyle.

Dream Sources: Etsy, Brimfield Antique Market, Hive Modern, YLighting

Resources of Note:

PAINT & COLORS

    • Living Room: Benjamin Moore Natura — Cloud White
    • Bedroom: Benjamin Moore Natura — Silver Mink
    • Bathroom Ceiling: Benjamin Moore Natura — Thunderbird
    • Bathroom Walls: Benjamin Moore Natura — Black and Cloud White

ENTRY

    • S&H Construction (John Ellis and Addy) worked with Alexandra to design
    and build the wall, bench, custom doors, and custom metal doors. The wood
    used on the wall and bookshelf is African mahogany.
    • Vintage Boston Map: eBay
    • Transportation Train Sign: Etsy
    • Painting/Collage: Artist Kirby Scudder
    • Chair: Hive Modern
    • Hardware: Raybern Builders Specialty Hardware

LIVING ROOM

    • Credenza: CB2
    • Leather Sofa: Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
    • Pillows: Erie Drive
    • Green Leather Chair: Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
    • Red Fire Truck Spot Light: Brimfield Antique Market
    • Drift Wood: Brimfield Antique Market
    • Arco Floor Lamp: YLighting
    • Accent Tables: Design Within Reach

DINING ROOM

    • Table: Design Within Reach
    • Chairs: Design Within Reach
    • High Chair: Amazon
    • Light: YLighting
    • Ladder: Erie Drive

KITCHEN

    • Lights: Interior Deluxe
    • Subway Sign: Ward Maps
    • Trolley Sign (5514): Erie Drive
    • Arrow Print: Erie Drive
    • Robot: Erie Drive

BEDROOM

    • Chair: Design Within Reach
    • Desk: CB2
    • Bed: IKEA
    • Duvet and Pillows: Erie Drive
    • Painting: Artist June August
    • Collage: John (husband DIY project)

BATHROOM

    • Mirror: Crate and Barrel
    • Arrow Hooks: Erie Drive
    • Shower Curtain: Erie Drive

GIRLS' BEDROOM

    • Crib: Target
    • Bed: IKEA
    • Fatboy Bean Bag: Marimekko
    • Changing Table: Isis
    • Table: Patrick Grenham
    • Chairs: Found at various flea markets, painted by Alexandra
    • Rugs: FLOR, Land of Nod
    • Wall Hanging: Marimekko
    • Alphabet Animal Flashcard Set (on wall): Erie Drive
    • Framed Dress: Alexandra's own
    • Central Park Print: Etsy
    • Cloth Bins: Restoration Hardware
    • Rubber Bins: Amazon
    • Bedding: Land of Nod
    • Comforter: The Company Store
    • Lights: YLighting

OTHER

    • Light Installation: SM Dodge Electric Contractors

Thanks, Alexandra & John!

(Images: Tara Bellucci )

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