Danielle &amp Derek’s Somerville Sanctuary

published Apr 26, 2011
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Name: Danielle, Derek, and son
Location: Somerville, Massachusetts
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 10 (Derek), 8 (Danielle) — own

It’s such a refreshing pleasure to visit a home where people are living large in a smaller place, figuring out creative ways to maximize their space. Danielle, a sculptor / curator / teacher, and Derek, a woodworker turned Photovoltaic Project Manager, have applied their keen aesthetic eye and hands-on skills to creating a really cozy, inviting haven in the city.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

1 / 33
Kitchen (Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

What you don’t get to see from the photos is that Derek and Danielle’s home lives on a dead-end street, bordered on one side by open green space. Maybe that’s why the amazing, rustic Ash wood table that Derek made from a tree that was dear to his childhood, feels so natural and right at home. If it’s not apparent from my photos, let me be clear: I’m obsessed with this table.

Beyond the dreamy dining table, here are some of my other favorite elements: the expanse of warm wood tones that blanket the entire kitchen from floor, to table to cabinets, complemented by the crisp marble countertops and playful trim color; the easy-access, always open pantry complete with its own little rug; the unexpectedly arranged wall of Derek’s Polaroid photos and handmade Walnut frames; the clever display of records in the living room which was inspired by Derek’s time spent thumbing through LP stores (remember those?); the floor to ceiling bookshelves in their office, flanked by a giant drawing of a cat, which I somehow covet, even though I’m not a cat girl.

This home feels really cherished by the three people (two big, one small) who live here, which imbues the space with a playful, relaxed and welcoming energy. And that’s about the highest praise I can sing of a space. Danielle and Derek, you done good!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: We have a mix of modern and antiques. A lot of our furniture come with a story or has layers of stories in the process of making it. The walnut used in a bunch of the furniture and shelving around the house comes from a truckload of walnut that Derek bought at a farm auction in Kansas and drove back to Massachusetts. Derek just built the kitchen table from wood that came from an Ash tree that he used to play in as a child.

Inspiration: We are big fans of Apartment Therapy. We also get good ideas or ideas that we can modify to fit our specific needs from Dwell and the NY Times Style magazine. The homes of our friends are always a constant source of inspiration as well.

Favorite Element: The marble countertop in our recently renovated kitchen, it turned out to be beautiful and more affordable than we originally thought it would be. It is also from a local Union Square business that we pass by all the time.

Biggest Challenge: We struggle with the can-of-worms aspect of older homes. It was great to be able to gut the kitchen down to the studs and start over but we don’t always have the time or the cash to do that with all of our projects. With an older home there is always something to do and it can be hard to determine the point at which a project is finished.

What Friends Say: Where did you get your art?

Biggest Embarrassment: Our night-tables, we haven’t found or been able to design and build the right substitutes yet.

Proudest DIY: We do a lot of the work ourselves so it’s hard to pick. We are proud of finally finishing the kitchen and pantry renovation.

Biggest Indulgence: Renovating the kitchen this past summer and dividing the pantry to make a bedroom closet. We did a lot of the work ourselves, and got a great deal on the marble counter top but it still adds up.

Best Advice: Renovate your kitchen before having a child rather than the other way around. Also,
alternative art space fundraisers such as the Laconia Gallery’s 150×150 offer amazing opportunities to buy great art at affordable prices. Go to open studio events in your city as well. It gives you a chance to see a lot of work in a short amount of time and you just might find a piece of art that you can’t live without.

Dream Sources: Abodeon in Cambridge. They are such a well curated store with a great mix of new modern design and vintage pieces.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:


    • Trim throughout (except kitchen) Behr Linen White (color matched by Benjamin Moore)
    • Kitchen walls: Benjamin Moore (BM) Latte, trim: BM Wasabi
    • Bedroom: Behr French Vanilla
    • Living room: Behr Cameo White
    • Bathroom: Behr Cappy
    • Son’s room: Pratt and Lambert Nickel
    • Office: Ralph Lauren Flamingo Flower



    • Couch: Boston Interiors floor sample sale
    • Coffee table: made by Derek from Kansas walnut wood
    • Chairs: family hand-me-downs from Derek’s parents, recently re-upholstered by a friend
    • Blanket chest: Derek’s family member was a missionary and brought chest back from China
    • Picture frames: made with Kansas walnut wood, which hold Derek’s Polaroid photos
    • Larger Artwork over couch: Joe Wardwell
    • Rug: Einstein Moomjy


    • Cabinets, Hardware, Stove, and Faucet: Ikea
    • Fridge: Frigidaire
    • Dishwasher: Craigslist (Whirlpool)
    • Kitchen Table: Built by Derek with Ash wood, and legs from Ikea
    • Artwork above toaster oven: Ann Tracy
    • Black and white acrylic artwork above dining table: Brian Zink
    • Drawing above dining table: Kanishka Raja


    • Bed and night tables: Craigslist
    • Bookcase: family hand-me-down discovered and refinished by Derek
    • Dresser: from Derek’s family, previously painted bright pink and orange and cut in half to fit into an attic space
    • Artwork above dresser: Ann Tracy
    • Artwork to the right of bookshelf: Joe Wardwell
    • Artwork above bed L-R: Danny O’Connor, Melora Kuhn, Dominic East


    • Brown chair: Craigslist
    • Dresser: Heywood Wakefield from Craigslist
    • Rug: HomeGoods
    • Bookshelf: an early woodworking project of Derek’s
    • Walnut Floating Shelf: made by Derek from Kansas walnut wood


    • Daybed: Ikea via Craigslist
    • Desk: old solid core wood door / steelcase filing cabinets from office supply store
    • Giant cat drawing: Melissa Davenport

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Danielle and Derek!

Images: <a href="<a%20href=" https: boston cleaning cloud-9-organize-redesign-affordable-design-service-092451>Kyle Freeman

• HOUSE TOUR ARCHIVE Check out past house tours here
• Interested in sharing your home with Apartment Therapy? Contact the editors through our House Tour Submission Form.
• Are you a designer/architect/decorator interested in sharing a residential project with Apartment Therapy readers? Contact the editors through our Professional Submission Form.