Sat. Sep 23rd, 2023

Interior designer Nina Farmer didn’t have to look far for inspiration when longtime friends commissioned her to renovate their Boston home. The Federal-style townhouse sits in a historic district lined with stately 18th-century properties that date back to an era when British design influences dominated the area. So it’s little surprise that the tailored, richly layered interiors she installed have the look and feel of an ancestral manor house somewhere in the English countryside.

“The clients travel to the UK often and they have a real affinity for British style and history,” says Farmer, whose design philosophy is rooted in a classical sensibility that mixes interiors from different periods. “We discussed a lot of ideas, but in the end we were all pretty much in sync with the aesthetic direction.”

The elevated British style inside the four-story row house is aided by the UK-based brands that Farmer sourced for the furniture, fabrics, and fittings. The result is a 3,000-square-foot home that manages to simultaneously feel formal and familiar without losing its decidedly British way of living.

The second floor parlor is bathed in wallpaper from Soane Britain and includes an antique English mantel and vintage chairs by Cleo Baldon. An Art Deco table in the room was found at an antiques store in London. Indian block prints for the curtains in the living room are paired with a chair and ottoman. The space, which includes another mantel found in England, has a wicker table with a mid-20th-century ceramic lamp on top.

In the home’s entry, a Natan Moss lamp sits atop a French 19th-century rosewood console. “The inherent Britishness of these items very much helps weave the design narrative together,” Farmer says.

The Anglophile clients gave Farmer free rein to run with green throughout the house, so the hue appears in various shades and tones in nearly every room. That includes the kitchen, where a pale mossy iteration of green was used to lacquer most of the cabinets, the custom island, and the pair of pocket doors.

The home’s owners—a married professional couple with two school-age children—weren’t afraid to take chances with the decor, Farmer says. So, though the overall vibe is warm and inviting, playful and whimsical touches abound.

An antiqued-mirror-clad chimneypiece in the living room has a hidden cabinet for a television. The storage in the mudroom was styled to recall the luggage lockers found in a 19th-century London train station. And a glossily painted wet bar has a saturated, verdant hue that echoes the deep green of the sofa in the adjacent parlor, as well as the armoire-style pantry in the kitchen.

Modern accents, like the dining room’s mid-20th-century Scandinavian chairs and the study’s Swedish rug, provide a subtle tweak to the overarching English aesthetic, Farmer says. The study features a rattan armchair and ottoman and a desk chair finished with a vintage Nigerian indigo textile. There are also nods to the home’s New England setting throughout, including the antique Federal bullseye mirror over the mantel and the early American chest of drawers in the adjacent study.

“The goal was to ensure that everything felt relaxed and easy on the eyes,” Farmer says. “No matter its scale or tone.”


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