Name: Brad & Kendra — Small Cool 2009 Little Division Winners
Location: South End, Boston
Size: 820 square feet
Years lived in: 5 years — owned
Our memory of Brad & Kendra's Small Cool entry last year was summed up in one word: WOW. Rarely does such a small space pack such a punch. Soaring ceilings, acres of custom-painted moldings, patterns and textures galore, delightfully aged wood floors, and layered lighting design create an epic impression upon entering. The open plan living / dining / kitchen is vibrant and social, while the back bedroom suite beckons like a warm, lush oasis. They've struck that illusive balance between high drama and accessible luxury.
Brad is a stylist with his own fine interior painting and wallpapering business, Color Theory, and their home feels like a living laboratory. We totally admire their holistic approach to painting this apartment — it is not two separate rooms but one cohesive dwelling. Beyond just paint, plant life plays a huge role in this space. The 10' bow front windows are filled with lush views of the front yard and a complementary indoor garden draws life and greenery all the way back to the bedroom. In a floor-through one-bedroom this kind of continuity really makes the space feel so much larger.
Clearly you all agreed they were doing something right because they walked away Little Division Winners in 2009's Small Cool Contest and invested their $2,000 award from Room & Board in another high drama piece: a black marble Saarinen dining table. These high impact, glamorous pieces, layered with a variety of affordable textures and patterns create a delightful sense of play between luxury and eclectic, everyday comfort. Our favorite might be the bed — that houndstooth blanket is so right in so many ways.
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Our style: We are 100% the definition of a high-low mix and our style is a constant work in progress. Over the course of our 10 years together our home has come together in a very organic way. If we had to pin it down, it would be clean and contemporary lines, mostly neutral colors punctuated with bright and metallic pops, and a definite juxtaposition between objects that are both glamorous and raw.
Inspiration: With regard to admiring their style, Kelly Wearstler, Barbara Bestor, Terrence Conran and Florence Broadhurst come immediately to mind. Most of all though, what is most inspiring is seeing real people's homes both in magazines and on design blogs. When there is a definite informality, sense of humor, and authenticity that people have about their homes, that is what we really respond to on top of just the obvious physical beauty.
Favorite Element: The contradictions of the old and new elements in the unit are really what attracted us in the first place. Living in such an old city, it was important for us to have a home which reflects that and contains a bit of that history within its bones. All of the original elements, the floor, moldings and entry-way, fireplace and high ceilings are what initially drew us in and provide a constant source of inspiration with regard to how they enhance all of the THINGS that we've collected over the years.
Biggest Challenge: Without a doubt, budget has always been our biggest challenge. We've been lucky that we have been able to utilize our workplaces to furnish our home. Beyond just an employee discount, we never pay retail for anything. If we see a great knick-knack, or book, or decorative piece that we have to have and it's on-sale, we will without a doubt bring it home.
What Friends Say: We're lucky enough to have friends that are a constant source of inspiration to us as well but I think that friends really see our personality come through in our home. One of the biggest points of interest are the cuckoo clocks, purchased for .99 a piece.
Biggest Embarrassment: Well, we are not terribly proud of the fact that all of our furniture matches. That was more a matter of circumstance than choice — all pieces were purchased from BoConcept where Brad worked, for a considerable discount. We definitely feel that our living room could benefit from a few more found pieces and are looking forward to reupholstering our sofa and chair in more adventurous textiles.
Proudest DIY: We feel that the paint and wallpaper have really provided the biggest transformation for us and have enhanced the drama of the space considerably.
Biggest Indulgence: Our biggest indulgence is that we never say no to something that we really love if it's a great deal. We exercise very little restraint and thereby have amassed a huge amount of decorative objects which are in constant rotation.
Best advice: Embrace the architectural details of your homes' interior, rather then blend them with the decor. By highlighting Window Trim, Crown Moldings, and even "quirks", this will create instant charm for your home.
Dream source: (online) Velocity Art and Design and 1st Dibs. (in person) ABC Carpet & Home. But we also dream about a vintage buying spree / honeymoon in Palm Springs.
Accessories: Anthropologie, Marshalls
Lighting: DWR, Anthropologie, West Elm, IKEA
Rugs & Carpets: BoConcept, Urban Outfitters
Window Treatments: Urban Outfitters, IKEA
Bedding: Anthropologie, Marshalls
Artwork: Street Artist Todd and Sanchez Circuit, lots of flea market and 2nd-hand finds
Paint: Benjamin Moore, through Johnson Paint
Flooring: Original 100 year old cherry hardwood
Images: Wes & Kayla Schwartz
Originally published 6.30.2009 - AA
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