“My favorite color is red,” says the owner of an elegantly renovated condominium in downtown Boston. “But the green just made me happy. It spoke to me.”
Somewhere between chartreuse and apple green, the shade, which graces two upholstered chairs in her living room, was initially spotted on a lively polka-dot textile (“one of the first fabrics I chose,” the owner says) that she and designer Frank Hodge of F.D. Hodge Interiors in Boston used on pillows for the room’s sofa.
Hodge worked closely with his client to create what he calls a “very edited and clean space” with a modern heart, with a palette that evolved from the polka-dot fabric. The project was something of a departure for Hodge, who says he is “generally very traditional in my design aesthetic.” But his client had a clear vision for remaking the space, where she has lived with her partner for several years, from dark golds and browns to bright, light, and bold. They saw eye to eye, says Hodge, and “everything is very intentionally chosen and grouped” to create a fresh, contemporary look.
Where color doesn’t unify the apartment, a deliberate nod to the modern does. “It was the intention to consistently weave this modern aesthetic through the whole project,” says Eric Adams, a principal at Adams + Beasley Associates of Carlisle, Massachusetts, the custom building firm that renovated the kitchen and two bathrooms and worked with Hodge to build out and finesse architectural and design details. “Everything’s very geometric and goes with a more modern language,” Adams says. “You can walk through the unit and feel like there’s a cohesive aesthetic through-line, even though each space has its own little story.”
While the design aesthetic had to change, the client wanted to preserve the layout of the apartment. “The space, the flow,” she says, worked beautifully. A combined living/dining space opens to a large patio that looks over an iconic church spire and scenes of Boston straight out of Currier and Ives. The master bedroom, with its own private patio, takes advantage of the same views and allows its occupants to walk directly into the kitchen without having to cross paths with anyone who might be staying in the study-cum-guest room.
Together, client and design team focused on reinterpreting what was already there. The aim was for a cohesive plan, which is why the green in the pillows wends its way into the fabric on the dining chairs, the round rug in the entryway, and the custom-made headboard in the master.
Working with Area Environments Custom Wallcovering, a Minneapolis, Minnesota, company that employs fine artists to create wallpaper patterns that can then be customized, Hodge installed a mural-like paper with a chimerical pattern on the far wall of the great room. A focal point of the apartment, it has swirls of metallic bronze against a white background and draws the eye across the expanse of space. The rich color picks up on the chocolate brown in the flooring, rugs, and accent pieces, while the background is the “decorator white” used throughout the space.
Adams + Beasley employed unifying colors and materials such as walnut veneer and stainless steel in the kitchen and bathrooms. “A lot of times we panel and integrate all the kitchen appliances,” Adams says, “but in this case, they were a cool materialistic addition to the composition of the whole package, which contributed to the modern vibe.” Radiant floor heat in the kitchen and master bathroom adds to the comfort level. “If anyone is wondering whether they should do radiant heat and they live in New England,” says the client, “it’s a must. And it’s not that expensive in the scheme of things.”
The client is thrilled with the outcome. “Eric and the whole staff [at Adams + Beasley], from the foreman to the people in the office, made the project a joy,” she says. “He has wonderful communication skills.” As for Hodge, “I want to give him as much credit as we can,” says his client, who went on to hire him for the interior design of the couple’s vacation house on Cape Cod. She notes that his contributions go beyond his interior design skills, including a fine art painting he did for the space above a credenza near the dining table.
With the just-so feel of the apartment, the couple enjoy really living and entertaining there. Friends are often invited for evenings of bridge and canasta. Overnight guests come and go. The couple’s combined bevy of grandchildren and great-nieces and -nephews enjoys visiting, too. The brightly unified space has turned out to be just right for everyone.