Paint palettes on the wall of our design studio.
How We Work
Designers often think that design is the outcome of a logical thought process, a problem-solving exercise outside of issues of “style”. Ever since we began the studio we’ve taken a different approach: we confront style head on.
We’ve always had the sense that the way to navigate the vagaries of fashion and obsolescence—the inevitable fact that stylish design becomes quickly dated—is to choose freely from the world of images. We’ve tried to avoid the political and moral issues that are associated with working in a particular idiom—current design sensibilities are often thought of as morally superior to, say, working in a (decadent) period style. Design, for us, is as much about curating and editing ideas and things that we find, as it is about invention. Our inspiration comes from movies and TV and music and fashion and art and history and, as often as not, we just stumble upon it. We try to take as broad a view as possible.
We believe that the only truly modern approach to design is best described as hyper-eclectic.
What We Do
Most of our work is interior architecture and decoration. We also teach and write and make art. Over the years we've designed a lot of residences, restaurants, stores, offices, museum exhibits, logos, and furniture. As design generalists we believe that our design approach—understanding the brand of the client, even residential clients—can be applied to just about anything.
See more of our design work here.
Drink, Boston, MA: Drink is in the Fort Point area of Boston on the ground floor of a 19th century warehouse building. The oak bar that snakes through the space was originally conceived to accomodate existing columns. The result is a bar with as many corners as possible—usually the preferred place to sit—as well as spaces for groups to gather.
Putnam Street House, Newton, MA: This 1890's "Carpenter Gothic" house has beautifully proportioned rooms with tall triple-hung windows. The living room, a detail of which is shown here, has a muted blue gray palette, tailored upholstery, and an eclectic array of antiques: mirrors from the Black Forest, demi-lune tables from France, a Danish tray table. Other rooms include a new library with pointed arches and Gothic details, authentic enough to look original at first glance, but on closer inspection, clearly contemporary.
Spark Capital, Boston, MA: When Spark came to us with space in a very "proper" Newbury Street building—ornate lobby, gilt wood elevator cabs—they asked if we could create a space that looked like an industrial loft. The project became more about demolition than addition. Once the finishes from the last tenant were removed, we were left with concrete ceilings and floors, and exposed systems. We added back the essentials that would make the office function, much of it in walnut, a counterpoint to the otherwise raw space.
Sterling Street House, Newton, MA: The combination of finding a piece of furniture that's odd and wonderful—this bench, for example—and a client who is willing to own it, can create an intriguing foyer. Elsewhere in the house French tables, Swedish chandeliers, Chinese chairs, and Tibetan carpets conspire to make elegant rooms.
South Beach, Miami, FL: This apartment is on the 29th floor of a building at the very south tip of South Beach. Spectacular views of Miami Beach and the Atlantic Ocean were a lot to compete with, so we opted for quiet luxury as a foil for the expanses of glass. In the master bedroom, we covered the walls in silk and designed a bed upholstered in linen. White lacquered nightstands are a nod to mid-century Miami style. The entry has walls sheathed in pale green frosted mirrors: our take on beach glass.
dress, Boston, MA: Martha and Jane had a vision. They wanted to create a stylish women's clothing store unlike any other in Boston. They had selected a group of designers who would be new to the market, but they had a limited budget to create the appropriate environment for their fashionable wares. They came to us to develop a scheme that, with the help of boyfriends and parents to help paint and wallpaper, could make their vision a reality.
Maxey Pond Road House, Nantucket, MA: When we found this stash of 1950's drawings from a Yale architecture student, we knew that standard framing would be prohibitively expensive. Instead, we used factory ticket holders to display them.
Menton, Boston, MA: The interior of Menton is designed to reflect Chef Barbara Lynch’s sensibilities: beautifully crafted with attention to every detail, sophisticated, rooted in tradition yet up-to-the-minute, experimental, nuanced, and convivial. Like the food and the wine, diners will find surprises and detours in the interior that are elegant, honest and delightful.
Waterfront House, Little Compton, RI: This project is a complete renovation of a house on a 2 acre waterfront site in Little Compton, Rhode Island. The original house was a not-too-good-looking amalgam of 70's and 80's additions. But rather than tear down the house—the scale and siting were perfect—we reused as much of it as possible. We added a pergola to the street side of the building to create a more gracious entry. On the waterfront side, we added decks and large windows to take advantage of the incredible views.