Name: Eva Katz and Philip Sugerman
Location: Jamaica Plain; Boston, Massachusetts
Size: 2,600 square feet
Years lived in: 8 years; Owned
No wonder passersby stop to snap photos: Situated on a charming street near Jamaica Pond in Boston's Emerald Necklace, the exterior of Eva and Philip's pretty Painted Lady is a total jewel. Inspired by art, food, and worldy travels, the inside shimmers just as brightly.
While it may be at the back of the house, visitors to Eva and Philip's home are immediately drawn to the spacious, light-filled kitchen. As a recipe developer and contributing editor to America's Test Kitchen, Eva spent quite a bit of time planning, renovating, and perfecting this space—including knocking down walls and combining four tiny rooms to make it a possibility.
Having lived in Australia, outdoor living is important to the pair and their family. The yard (huge by city standards) is just beyond tons of windows and French doors, and the summer afternoon sunshine floods in.
Any wall space that remains is filled with art, the majority of which was created by Eva's mother, Esther. From portraits of their teenage sons as little kids in the family room to a textured landscape in the master bedroom, the art is personal and striking. Travel finds add their own stories: an original piece of Aboriginal drawing that hangs in the office was found tucked away between books in a Hawaiian Goodwill.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Eclectic – Part rustic, part mid-century modern with some ethnic sensibilities thrown in.
Inspiration: Many of my inspirations come from my travels. I’ve lived and traveled in the Middle East and Australia (Philip is Australian). For years after moving back from Australia I would track down Australian home design magazines. I love how Australians connect the inside of their homes to the outdoors. Granted, they have a lot more fair-weather time to spend outdoors than we do in Boston, but that concept left a lasting impression on me. When we were searching for a new home, I looked for a place that had that potential. The house we purchased has a huge back yard (by city standards). We were able to transform four small boxy rooms off the back of the house into one large open kitchen and family room that accesses the back deck and yard with two sets of French doors and windows galore. The landscaping is a work in progress, but I love all the light flooding into the kitchen and how close to the outdoors I feel. The space really invites the outside in during all seasons.
Favorite Element: Hard to choose – I have a few. On the top of the list would have to be the kitchen/family room. It is the heart and soul of our home and where we spend most of our time (and is my work space). I put a lot of thought and time into designing this kitchen— more so than any other room in the house. It was important to me not to have a cookie cutter kitchen or something out of a showroom. We don’t have a lot of upper cabinets, so in their place we have lots of windows and wall space for art. A friend of mine found a great vintage restaurant sign in the Czech countryside. I absolutely adore this piece. Our cabinets are from Ikea and function very well. However, I didn’t like the look of the veneer panels on the sides of the Island and wall ovens, so we customized them by having a stainless steel panels fabricated to cover them up. Philip's favorite element is the working wood stove in the family room. It creates a great atmosphere and keeps the house really warm in the winter.
Biggest Challenge: When we renovated the home, we removed a full bathroom (shower, laundry, toilet, as well as an out-of-use chimney) from the back of the house. It was situated in prime real estate right between a small kitchen and eating area. We were able to open up the space, both in the kitchen area as well as upstairs to create a large master suite. However, with the bathroom gone and without the financial resources to add on to the square footage of the house, it took a while to figure out where we could sneak in a half bath. It took me four years, but I finally had that “aha” moment. I figured out that we could corner off a redundant hallway and fit in a small washroom. We also don’t have a mudroom and that is a major challenge for us in winter.
What Friends Say: Some friends comment on the number of seriously large shoes at our front door (I have two teenage boys and wish we had a mud room!).
Biggest Embarrassment: When we moved into our home, I bought a pretty piece of cloth-like paper from the Paper Source and cut it out to fit the bottom half of a bathroom window. I taped it in so we could have some privacy and time to source a suitable window treatment. Anyway, it’s still up and looking quite ragged and frayed.
Proudest DIY: Definitely not my window treatments! I would have to give credit to Philip. He built a shed—it’s very functional, but I don’t really like seeing it outside our family room window (sorry Philip).
Biggest Indulgence: Last year we spent a lot of money on transforming our rotting front porch and crazy overgrown yard (think haunted house). The old flagstone walkway and run-down brick steps were replaced with bluestone and fieldstone. The porch was rebuilt from the ground up and we incorporated some lovely chinoiserie design in the railings (see link below). The front yard was professionally landscaped (a first for us!). It was quite the transformation. People now stop and take pictures of our front yard!
Best Advice: If possible, live in a space before renovating and take time to thoroughly plan out renovations. I wish we had that opportunity, because we have had to backtrack and redo a few things. I also think it takes time to pull together elements that really reflect your own personality and individual style. Some of my favorite pieces of furniture I purchased on Craigslist. Don’t be afraid of mixing old and new pieces. Don’t be afraid to take a few chances.
Dream Sources: I would love to replace the existing French doors off the back of our house with Nana walls. As much as I like the look of the French doors, they don’t function properly in the space.
Resources of Note:
- Paint color: Van Courtland blue
- Couch: Crate and Barrel
- Artwork: Esther Katz (my mother!), Myrosha Zduick, Stacey Vetter
- The rest of the furniture was purchased used off Craigslist or at used furniture stores
- Paint Colors: Benjamin Moore Wasabi AF 430 (top); Benjamin Moore Squirrel Tale 1476 (bottom)
- Large 9’ panned artwork painted by Esther Katz
- Dining room table: family hand me down
- Paint Colors: Benjamin Moore Big Bend Beige (kitchen); Benjamin Moore Mt Rushmore Rock (family room)
- Cabinets: IKEA
- Ventilation Hood: Zephyr Trapeze
- Light fixture: All Modern Outlet
- Kitchen Stools: Zuo Modern
FIRST FLOOR BATHROOM
Thanks, Eva & Philip!
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(Image credits: Tara Bellucci)