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Newton home transformed into rustic Italian villa

Dispense with the formality.

The owner travels quite a bit and was seeking to turn his cottage-style Newton Highlands home into an oasis, a retreat for him and his children, said Jeanne Racioppi, president of Boston’s Williams & Spade Interiors. “He’s really a person that is very laid-back, and he wanted every room in the house to be livable. He wanted something comfortable and casual but lovely.”

He came to Racioppi with a marked-up book on Italian rustic homes. “Everything he had marked I tried to incorporate into the design,” Racioppi said.

As seen here in the living room, that meant jewel tones, painted finishes, and textures on the walls and fabric — elements that are rich yet inviting. The brown paint was stripped off the beams and a finish applied. French casement windows from Dynamic Architectural Windows & Doors of British Columbia were installed.

Visible from the entryway, the room “envelops you and invites you in to sit and relax, listen to music, and read,” she said. “It beckons you.”


For more information about this room, scroll down beneath the photo.

Michael J Lee for The Boston Globe


The fieldstone and the millwork are original to the house. Racioppi said the wood was painted white or yellow (“It was ugly”), so she toned down things a bit by having it painted a sage green with an antique wash. The arch surround has a faux finish to make it look like mahogany. The background of the alcoves was done in a jewel tone, a brownish burgundy from Fine Paints of Europe.


From the owner’s existing possessions.


Made of wrought iron with faux candles, this fixture was purchased at the Webster & Co.showroom at theBoston Design Center.


From Montauk Sofa in Toronto, this piece is made out of rubber-tire treads. “It’s really a guy thing,” Racioppi said. “The kids jump on that.”


Made of leather, these were purchased from Randall Tysinger, an antiques dealer in North Carolina.


These pillows were custom made through Traditions Linens.


Reupholstered in an Old World weavers fabric from Stark called “Strie Amboise” (color “Fox”), this sofa was purchased from Essex antiques dealer Alexander Westerhoff.

- Eileen McEleney Woods

Eileen McEleney Woods is the editor of Address. E-mail her at Follow Address on Twitter at @GlobeHomes.

State approves plan for Salem’s Bentley School to become a charter

Salem’s Bentley School, one of the lowest achieving public schools in the state, will become a charter school next fall.

Last week, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education awarded two new charters, choosing Bentley, a K-5 elementary, and the UP Academy Charter School of Springfield. Both will be Horace Mann charter schools, funded by the local school districts but run by an independent board.

The Salem school will be called the Bentley Academy Charter School.

“The in-district charter gives us an opportunity to focus — and I think in a stronger way — on some of the needs of the students in that school,” said Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, who also chairs the School Committee and supported Bentley’s shift to a charter.

For the last four years, Bentley has struggled with academic achievement.

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