Before & After: Ideas from a Chic Boston Apartment Makeover

published Mar 13, 2016
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(Image credit: Submitted by Marc Houston )

Project by: Marc Houston of Marc Houston Lifestyle & Interiors
Location: Boston, Massachusetts

It’s not hard to make an apartment with great architectural bones look good. Just fill it with some decent furniture and let the tall ceilings, brick wall and crown molding do the heavy design lifting. But if you want to really make a statement with your home’s decor — create a dreamy and dramatic space — then you want to partner with your home’s architecture for a dynamic mix of inspiring elements. This professional project submission is full of them.

(Image credit: Submitted by Marc Houston )

From Marc:

“The project is situated on the main thoroughfare of Boston’s historic Beacon Hill neighborhood, known for its charming gas-lamped cobblestone streets and stately Federal style row houses. The clients are a young, stylish, active couple — he a medical administrator, she a marketing executive — new parents with a passion for the outdoors, travel and entertaining.

The goal for this modestly sized 830 square foot apartment was to modernize outdated systems, maximize functionality and create areas for intimate interaction, while remaining attuned to its urban environment.

A perimeter seating plan was enacted to enable ease of access to the terrace which acts as both a visual and functional extension of the main living space. A mix of vintage and contemporary furnishings is grounded by mid-toned stained floors and set within a neutral envelope intended to unify disparate surface textures and enable bold gestures.

To meet the clients’ budget, existing kitchen appliances were maintained and cabinetry refinished, replacing hardware, finishes and fittings to suit the brief and tastes.

Discreet recessed lighting and stylized decorative pendants supplanted oversize cans and surface mounted spots. A dramatic ceiling contrast emphasizes verticality, capitalizing on the nearly 10′ height of the space. Additional graphic complements reflect the owners’ adventurous sensibilities, injecting an air of exotic spontaneity.

Considered use of natural materials — concrete, brass, bronze, walnut, marble, leather, wool, linen — evoke a sense of heritage, a nod to the area’s historied past.”

(Image credit: Paul Barbera )

Dark ceilings

The ceilings are black with a slight gloss, and the crown molding is, too. This makes the room dramatic but also accentuates how tall the ceilings are while simultaneously making the living room cozier.

From Apartment Therapy → Tackling the Fifth Wall: How To Choose Ceiling Paint Color

Round coffee table

Though square and rectangular coffee tables are more common, don’t forget about the circular shape. It’ll make a statement and visually soften the edges of too many blocky seating pieces.

Oversize coffee table plant arrangement

If your seating arrangement is set up in such a way that you’d be talking over your coffee table, do not obscure the view of your guests with a giant plant or flower arrangement. But if that’s not the case, you could consider incorporating a larger than usual plant or flower arrangement on your coffee table to create a bit of a secret garden feel in your living space — a slightly enclosed nook made out of plants.

(Image credit: Paul Barbera )

High-back banquette seat

Breakfast isn’t usually known as the most dramatic meal of the day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add in a little drama with high-backed banquette seating.

(Image credit: Paul Barbera )

Extra thick countertop material

No matter the material choice of your countertop, going for an extra thick material, or really paying attention to the shape of the edge, can be a way to add luxury and novelty to even a small or simple kitchen.

Resource list:

  • H Furniture
  • Gubi
  • Imports from Marrakech
  • Abhaya
  • O+G Studios
  • Allied Maker
  • Maharam
  • 1stDibs
  • Reside Boston
  • Tom Dixon
  • Legrand
  • Sleep Studio
  • DAMM Design
  • ER Studio
  • Woven Accents
  • Hannoun Rugs
  • Nickey Kehoe
  • Loopy Mango
  • Citizen Atelier
  • Ann Sacks
  • Amba

Thanks, Marc!

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