Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Boston Home

A former Boston carriage house is revived to reflect its new owners’ eclectic art collection and international travels.

In the library, O’Malley says the team wanted to turn the more traditional idea of this space on its side by preserving the wood paneling but juxtaposing it against rich, bright colors and patterns in the fabrics and furnishings. Additionally, there’s an unexpected sculpture and Max Steven Grossman Rock WJ 3/5 face-mounted photography from Jules Place for added effect. / Photo by Michael J. Lee

Does art imitate life, or does life imitate art? When it comes to the redesign of this Beacon Hill carriage house, the lines are definitely blurred—in the best way possible. Since the homeowners are world travelers who compiled a dynamic collection of artwork based on their adventures, it was up to interior designer Maura O’Malley and her team to blend everything together seamlessly with furnishings, design, color schemes, and patterns that would complement each space of the home in a unique way. “It’s really a reflection of the couple and how they have lived their lives, so with all of that came a lot of color and texture,” O’Malley says, “and because they have such a great collection, it gave us permission to explore every facet of design.”

Additionally, while the couple was open to new ideas and boldness, the designer adds, they also wanted everything in the home to be equally appreciated. “It’s like walking through a gallery in a way, so we didn’t ultra-highlight one area of art. Instead, the design was intended so that one could walk around and experience it all as you meander through.” And like many great artists, the couple was keen to delve into the project and leave no stone unturned. “We would present a lot of the ideas, and they were comfortable posing questions and pushing the design,” says O’Malley, “so it was definitely a collaborative process.”

The dining room, which features a gorgeous gold-leaf wallcovering, is also anchored by a Mooi “Heracleum III” pendant light fixture and mirrors from Artefact in the South End. The buffet is from Noir Furniture, and the chairs are vintage Donghia “Anziano” chairs from Chairish. / Photo by Michael J. Lee


O’Malley and her team relied on several local companies for the project, with a focus on mixing classic and contemporary. The South End was one area in particular that was a favorite spot for resources to fill spaces from the bedrooms to the living room and everything in between. “Furniture-wise, we sourced quite a bit from Lekker Home and Artefact Home|Garden,” O’Malley reveals, “and J.D. Staron did some of the rugs.” In the dining area, for example, bar stools came from Holly Hunt, while the dining chairs were found on Chairish. “They’re vintage Donghia ‘Anziano,’” O’Malley notes. “Those were fun because we wanted to reflect how the couple’s art collection had evolved over time. Even though we featured a lot of new furniture, it was important to find some pieces that also had some history.”

In the guest bedroom, O’Malley notes that the team wanted the space to feel serene but still remain consistent with the layered focal points throughout the home. “So we focused on subtle and quiet moments of pop: art suspended from the ceiling, metallic cork wallcovering, Missoni pillows, and luxe velvet and cashmere accents,” she says. The bed is from Lekker Home in the South End, while the light fixtures are Kartell “Bourgie Tall” lamps. / Photo by Michael J. Lee


A major focus for O’Malley and her team was to make sure every space had its own moment—even the guest bedroom. “That’s the bedroom with the cork metallic wallcovering and cabinetry to the left of it, with the orange chair. It had existing cabinetry, but it was white with different hardware and no color or flair,” she says. “It’s an area where we tried to preserve some of what was there, but we wanted it to be cohesive and reflective of the couple, so we painted the millwork, changed the hardware, and brought in bold colors and patterns. That way, it melded with the rest of the home.”

Photo by Michael J. Lee


This couple loves to entertain, so the third floor (which was previously a bedroom) was transformed into an upstairs bar/lounge setup (see above). “We have this great art collection on the first couple of floors, and [the goal] for this space was to feel like an art piece in itself,” O’Malley says. “That’s where it became really exciting; the homeowners were just so open-minded, so a decision was made to use bold color and wash every wall.” The team worked with Phoenix Home Services to convert the closet into a space to accommodate its custom bar/millwork; Chilmark Architectural Woodworking made the bar cabinets and shelves. The outcome is the ideal spot for socializing.

Photo by Michael J. Lee


The celebratory vibe of the third-floor bar/lounge area flows throughout the space and into the powder room in a truly witty way (above). “The couple wanted to have fun with this, so the wallpaper we found—called ‘Drunk Monkeys’ from Astek Home—features literal party animals; in fact, they actually have cigars and bottles in hand,” O’Malley notes. “Of course, we couldn’t just have a standard light fixture there, so we also got a pendant with monkeys that are hanging down and seemingly swinging from the ropes.” The reaction? The homeowners loved it, especially since they are huge proponents of “the more conversation starters, the better.”

Interior Designer 
Maura O’Malley Interiors + Construction

First published in the print edition of Boston Home’s Spring 2024 issue, with the headline “Making a Masterpiece.” 


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