In the summer of 2020, Kathy received a message from a young woman who’d been following her on Instagram. At one time happily ensconced in her Beacon Hill townhouse, with the emerging pandemic, our new client and her family were suddenly finding city life vastly less appealing. They were headed for the coast, to a quirky and charming 1935 Colonial Revival in Beverly Farms and wondered if Kathy would help refresh the dated kitchen.
A quick survey of the house revealed several key spaces - and five bathrooms - that were stuck in a 1960s timewarp and holding the clients back from fully inhabiting the whole home. That first meeting became a larger conversation about a sensitive renovation and redesign that would embrace the history of the home, adding back lost character and detail, along with some of the style and sophistication of the 1930s.
Starting in, Kathy knew that the formal living room and dining room held the potential to transform the home. Located between the everyday family entrance and the more modern kitchen wing, these two key spaces needed to handle everyday traffic flow while also serving up special-occasion glamour when needed. Mismatched parquet floors and a dark faux-Colonial paneling on one wall in the living room were replaced with quartersawn white oak floors and a system of pared-down paneling painted in an elegant off-white to unify the elements in the space. To balance these traditional elements, she commissioned a local artisan to create a modern poured concrete fireplace hearth and mantel.
On inspiration and sources, Kathy and her new client were of a mind to combine an eclectic, global aesthetic with a modern sense of fun, confidently combining styles and time-periods. Kathy soon realized she had found a creative partner committed to sourcing materials, furnishings, and textiles with depth, craft, history, and heritage. And in this new partnership, the house had found its champion.
“It's not often that a project is perfectly aligned with my own aesthetic - with how I'd like to live every day - and it's pure joy when it happens.” -Kathy Marshall
In the end, the duo applied their simpatico sensibilities to nearly every space in the home – pairing a bold Kelly Wearstler wallpaper with unlacquered brass fixtures and a Carrara marble sink basin in the first-floor powder room, wrapping rooms in both modern wallpaper by Galbraith & Paul and Schumacher's classic Italian panorama by Iskel, using a daring antelope stair runner alongside a vintage oriental in the main entry hall. One of their favorite spaces is also one of the most private – a sanctuary spa bath in the primary suite featuring a soaking tub, shower for two, and a glass-encased sauna with a statement teak wall that extends out into the main space, warming and unifying the room around a Northern European tradition and aesthetic. The interplay throughout yields a home that feels impressive yet warm, chic yet welcoming, and highly representative of both the client’s personal style, and her designer’s.