Reader Design: Gemma's Artsy Home

Today, we're off to visit Gemma's bright and fresh home; this Boston place boasts a ton of quirky prints, color and texture, tons of natural light, and some seriously amazing art. Ready for the tour? 


Even the entry way smacks you with style right away! From the design extraordinaire herself:

I have a hard time defining or labeling my own design style in my home; it’s more of a feeling. I definitely have certain shapes that I prefer; for example, I always pick furniture with clean simple lines, and art tends to be the same way. I prefer minimal designs, and I don’t like anything ornate which is probably why I’m attracted to mid century furniture pieces. By sticking with fairly simple shapes, it gives me a lot of room to decorate with other aspects like color, wallpaper, art, and lighting.

Each room uses that basic formula - simple, clean furniture + geometric shapes + interesting accents - and just knocks it out of the park. The use of natural elements like wood also helps each space feel incredibly balanced. 

One of my major design goals is to have the house be interesting and inviting but not cluttered. Some areas have really bold wallpapers, but I try to keep all the other elements very simple so as not to overwhelm the room.

Even the mudroom gives a major statement!

My mudroom is a good example of an over the top wall covering, balanced by very little else in the space - necessities only. But that said, the house is comfortable. We have 3 little boys and they play all over and do what little kids do, so storage is a must. Every cabinet in our family room is packed with games, toys, legos, and stuffed animals so that they can easily access stuff they want to play with, but also put it away again.

One of the key ways Gemma adds interest is art.

My favorite design elements in our house are our pieces of art. Looking at beautiful artwork gives me such genuine pleasure and an emotional connection. We’ve collected our art from all over the place from varying sources, and the pieces are all very different. Many are one of a kind items we’ve found in vintage stores, others are from estate sales, and others are from galleries. Art is the one place we are willing to splurge.

In the bathroom, the star of the show (other than that!) is the iconic Slim Aarons Palm Springs photograph (he's a personal favorite of mine). 

Two other ways to add detail? 

Lighting is another great way to express yourself; it can be a forgotten element yet can bring so much interest into a room. And a personal favorite of mine, books - I read a ton and I love holding and having books. My next project in fact involves some serious shelving to house all of our books that are currently homeless!

This house has to be one of the most original ones I've seen in a while. What a place to raise and spend time with your family!

Gemma, thank you so much for the tour.  Follow Gemma along on Instagram @gemmavanderswaagh for more! 

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Reader Design: Jessica's Vibrant Space

Well folks, somehow we're now in 2018. I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday break because 2018 is here with a vengeance. 

Take New England for instance, the home of today's reader design tour. It's currently piled with two feet of snow! Thankfully, Jessica has her vibrant and eclectic home to keep her warm! 


A little about Jessica:

I live in a 1934 Craftsman Bungalow home with my dashing husband, Christopher, our dopey mutt, Murphy, and silly dog-like cats, Marla and Sylvester. We’ve been here for just over four years, the last year being the most significant design-wise inside. Since then, I’ve taught myself how to hang french doors, rebuild floor molding, and board and batten. I believe you can build anything with a nail gun. My design eye was heavily influenced by my Mom’s desire to create cozy interiors throughout my life. Apparently we had a knack for feng shui and didn’t even know it. I keep at a design until I get it balanced and just right.

My home has rapidly evolved more in tune with my personality over the past year. For years, I had well-loved hand me downs, but I’ve begun to embrace (and trust my gut about) a wilder, more vibrant feel. I’ve always been an eclectic collector and a lover of color. I’m an avid fan of the glammy ‘20-30s, mid century, and the boho vibes of my grandmother-in-law’s Southern California home. I love idea of challenging myself to combine my BBB (big, bold & beautiful) antiques/thrifted goods with my husband’s California roots. My home has since grown into a modern-eclectic-glam abode that’s super cozy to all who enter.

In the dining room, Jessica paired a Spanish revival sideboard she found at a tag sale with a custom 7' poplar table by Mason Dixon Handmade and vintage brass bar cart. Jessica's husband lovingly jokes that the home is "a modern Italian dream based in 1970s Miami," and no room says it better!


This place is just chalk-full of meaningful finds, 'more is more' design, and elements that satisfy all five senses - specifically "incense, good tunes, the velvet blue Article sofa, pretty pattens, and all the home cooking." There are also fun collections that Jessica has accumulated over time, almost by accident, of globes, decanters, and candlesticks. So much to please the eye, and the heart!


If there was a perfect place to wait out this storm, this would have to be it. Thank you for inviting us in, Jessica! Follow Jessica along on Instagram @imjessicabrigham for more.

See you next week,

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Reader Design: Madison's Bold Southwestern Style

When school brought Madison from Arizona to Boston, he took a bit of home with him. The result is a stunning space that is bold, bright, and imaginative and clearly derives its spirit from the Southwest. 

Let's take a look!


Though he tried to resist, the influences of his childhood both followed Madison all the way across the country and followed him through life stages and into adulthood as he put down New England roots and purchased a home with his husband. 

From Madison:

I grew up near Cave Creek, Arizona and a lot of those Southwestern touches have crept into our home. It’s funny because growing up I used to detest homes that were totally blown out in Bonanza. Now I can hardly resist when I go home. I have to stop into some of the local shops and pick up a Zapotec table runner or a piece of Talavera pottery.
We also travel a lot and love to bring home decor items back with us. Because of that we get a little eclectic and global chic thrown into the mix as well. If I had to sum [our home] up in one line I would say it’s Global Southwestern Mid-Century Modern Chic (that’s a mouthful!). Ultimately, we buy the things that speak to us and that give us that visceral response and we find a way to make them work. There’s no other way!

Going with your gut is always the best thing to do, right? Everyone in this new world of authenticity - particularly on social media - preaches staying true to yourself.

But what if you're wrestling with what exactly that means? After all, Madison ended up emulating the very styles he thought he hated while living in Arizona. He even in initially struggled with color - not color choices, but how much of it to use in the first place.  

One thing that I wrestled with is color. A lot of people tell you not to go crazy with color because it will impact the resale of your home or that you will get too tired of it. We sort of just went with it and everyone seems to really love it, including ourselves. It’s not like we redid our entire kitchen with red cabinets - paint is so cheap and easy to fix or change or correct.

Obviously, color won out in this home. And thank goodness it did! At the end of the day, Madison and Sky wanted their home to be "energetic, interesting and fun" and "be a place that is comfortable and inviting." For them,  color did the trick. 


Moving to the bedrooms, the home starts to take on a quieter vibe. 

In our bedroom, we wanted to be a place of tranquility. The room was inspired by a painting my grandmother did in the 70’s with a Native American man in the sky surrounded by Kachina dolls above the Grand Canyon. That picture has always brought me a lot of peace, and I think that’s a good vibe for your bedroom.

The guest bedroom, like its master peer, also has a fun theme. Instead of a family heirloom painting, that theme is..... drumroll please.... 


This is our llama/alpaca room - you will find touches of llamas in almost every corner. I love all of them, but my favorite thing is probably the picture of the alpaca on the yellow nightstand. Sky’s mom surprised me one year, and we want to one of the largest alpaca farms in New England. I snapped this picture of one of them and just can’t get over how much personality shows through the image.

If there's one thing for certain about this home, it's that it has a whole lot of personality. Madison, your home is so, so, so fun, bold, and beautiful. Thank you for inviting us in! 

Follow Madison along on Instagram @mvwetter for more! 

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