Inspired in large part by Pinterest, Elizabeth Kane envisioned what she wanted her home to look like and gained the confidence to carry it out. “At first I was hesitant to make what seemed like irreversible decisions,” she says. “But I realized if I got excited about something over and over, that I’d be OK.”
Kane, a junior fellow in neuroscience at Harvard University, and her entrepreneur husband, Jeremy Todd, who cofounded the audio technology company iZotope, purchased an airy two-story condo with a roof deck in the South End in summer 2013. The couple were drawn to its high ceilings, abundant light, and old-school charm but wanted to rework the kitchen and stairway. For that, they hired designer Chris Greenawalt of Charlestown-based Bunker Workshop and builder Michel Beaudry of Beaudry Construction, who finished the project in May.
To build upon the expansive feel, Greenawalt removed a 30-inch wall and reconfigured the layout, pulling the kitchen into the dining area. (The refrigerator, clad in wood painted the same flat white as the cabinetry, sits beyond the kitchen proper.) He also flipped the location of the breakfast bar. “It was a minor demolition,” Greenawalt says, “but one that really opened up the space.”
Kane knew she wanted to mix modern and industrial elements for a warm, lived-in look. Because the floor was in terrible shape, it was the couple’s first design decision. With wide planks in mind, they chose high contrast tones of hickory from Hull Forest Products, a mill in Pomfret Center, Connecticut. The wood’s natural character, Kane decided, would lend a rustic, almost barn-like touch.
The original brick wall running along one side of the unit remains exposed but has been treated to a fresh coat of white paint. White subway tile with a rice paper finish edged in gray now covers the kitchen’s drywall — together, the tile and brick create the feeling of a continuous, uniform surface.
Although Greenawalt initially specified a brass faucet for the fireclay farmhouse sink, they swapped it for one made of copper — a material Kane fell in love with on Pinterest. Inspired by a photo of a bathroom with exposed copper pipes, Kane picked up copper tubing and flanges at Home Depot and made them into a pot rail, adding S-hooks from IKEA. The stairwell Greenawalt designed also reflects Kane’s aesthetic. When the installers insisted that the only way to attach the tempered glass panels was to cap them with metal trim, Kane pushed for a handsome solution — minimalist steel brackets that match the hardware on the kitchen cabinetry.
A Moroccan rug was another of Kane’s must-haves; for the living room, which she decorated herself, she found a vintage 1970s Azilal on Etsy. She scored a Danish-style modern coffee table on Craigslist from a restorer in Cambridge who focuses on mid-century modern furniture. The Steinway baby grand and the guitar are Todd’s, while the room’s numerous geometric accessories reflect both her affinity for that branch of math and the couple’s shared love of the video game “Legend of Zelda.”
Kane is so satisfied with the renovation that she’s even contemplating a future in the design business. “If you’re true to what you love,” she says, “it’s hard to make a bad decision.”
PINNING DOWN HER STYLE
During the planning stages of the renovation, homeowner and budding designer Elizabeth Kane became “obsessed” with Pinterest, browsing it extensively for inspiration. “I did little else,” she says. The pinners below — designers, bloggers, editors, and hobbyists hailing from locales that include San Francisco, Chattanooga, Miami, and even Lisbon — are among those Kane admires most. Their boards are chock-full of white-walled interiors boasting wood floors, Moroccan rugs, leather chairs, rustic dining tables, and plenty of brass and copper accents. Find them at pinterest.com.