When art consultant Jacqueline Becker returned to this waterside home in Sherborn to help interior designer Kim Macumber and her clients make final art selections, there was one piece that posed some challenges. They hadn’t found a spot for the pop art-inspired piece by Mitch McGee of a comic book-style gal with turquoise eyes, yellow hair, and bubble gum pink lips. Yet the couple was reluctant to let the circular work painted on layered birch go.
The team marched it around the house, pinpointing the sunroom’s ledgestone-veneer fireplace surround as the perfect backdrop for the 40-inch assemblage. Still, the installation wasn’t complete. The piece had to go back to Texas, where the artist sealed it with marine varnish to protect it against the weather, given the three-season location in the home.
It’s all in a day’s work for Becker, who has been playing matchmaker for decades between artists and clients and the architecture of the homes they live in. The Sherborn couple wanted pieces with personality, they told her, and the fireplace wall needed just that.
“A more static work of art that didn’t read well from a distance would have tamped down the entire space,” Becker says. “She holds it all together.”
Macumber was searching for this sort of synergy when she invited Becker to collaborate on the project. Her clients had commissioned Joel Turkel to design the custom prefabricated home, situated behind an original stone wall that stretches across the wooded property. Tasked with outfitting it, Macumber turned to art to inspire the interiors. “By allowing art to lead the way, we crafted spaces that balance the clean lines of the modern architecture and calmness of the view,” she says.
Floor-to-ceiling windows blur the lines between indoors and out, and offer water views from almost every room. They also let in abundant western sunlight, which Turkel balanced with three large light wells (windows high up on the structure protected by an outdoor overhang) that draw in light from other directions. Sunlight permeates the entire open plan.
Macumber kept sightlines clear with low-slung furnishings in colors that blend with the natural accents that are incorporated in the architecture, from the custom walnut slat feature wall to the Douglas fir beams. “The wife wanted punches of color, which we kept muted for a peaceful feel,” the designer says. She relied on the artwork to inject vibrancy. Macumber points to the abstract painting by artist Bernd Haussmann that enlivens the niche in the living room, noting that both husband and wife were attracted to its energy.
The piece was Becker’s first choice, too. “From a distance it looks like standard issue abstract expressionism, but when you get close, you see the glint of metallic auto paint and all these sparkles,” she says. “It’s strong and irreverent and amplifies this area.”
Becker admits that sometimes it’s the client who ultimately finds the perfect spot for a piece of art. For example, she brought a soulful abstract painting by Vermont-based artist Charlie Bluett for the dining area, imagining it would play nicely against the soft gold wallpaper above the bar, and a handblown glass constellation by Bueno Glass for above the piano. The couple loved both, but not necessarily in those spots. The husband suggested they try the shimmering biomorphic glass shapes in the dining room and the painting in the bedroom. Bingo! The glass lends a cozy glow to the dining space and the layered stained canvas suffuses the Balinese-inspired bedroom with a sense of calm.
“I love when a client sees something I didn’t,” Becker says. “Collaborations mean I got them excited; that they made my suggestions even better is the absolute best.”
Architect: Turkel Design, turkeldesign.com
Art consultant: Jacqueline Becker Fine Arts Consulting Service, beckerfinearts.com
Contractor: Sherborn Development Group
Interior design: Kim Macumber Interiors, kimmacumberinteriors.com
Marni Elyse Katz is a regular contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.