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Home design inspiration: Layering prints makes for a bold den

A red-saturated scheme makes a big statement in a Hingham home.

A saturated-red color scheme makes a bold statement in a Hingham home's den.michael j lee

Often, people move from the city to the suburbs for a larger home. Not the case for Kristine Mullaney’s client, a cardiologist who downsized. “She headed to Hingham because she wanted a yard for her dog,” Mullaney says. Mullaney had also decorated the client’s Commercial Wharf condo — more like a town house — where the rooms were larger in scale. In the Hingham cottage, they took down a wall “to open the kitchen to the water, but the den is narrow and completely enclosed,” Mullaney says. Designer and client embraced the tight space with a dramatic, red-saturated scheme. “We showed her safer colors, too,” the designer says. “She chose the boldest option.”

1 The homeowner moved just months after receiving two large custom sofas upholstered in a Brunschwig & Fils floral. Mullaney had one remade into a love seat so it would fit. “She waited nine months for this fabric,” Mullaney says. “There was no way she was leaving them behind.”


2 The gestural drawing by Swiss artist Francine Simonin had hung in the client’s previous dining room. “Black and white works well here since the room is so colorful,” she says.

3 Mullaney drew inspiration from the client’s red reading glasses in choosing the crimson-colored, crocodile-embossed wallpaper by Schumacher. Johnson Paint matched the shade exactly for the woodwork. “Using one color makes the room seamless and sharp,” Mullaney says. “Multiple shades would have jogged the eye.”

4 Velvet chevron pillows modernize the oversize botanical print. “The pattern is slightly unexpected,” Mullaney says.

5 A vibrant abstract oil painting by Seth B. Minkin ties to the colors in the sofa and adds a contemporary flair.

6 Mullaney reupholstered an Italian mid-century modern chair she scored at the Brimfield antiques show in a vintage zebra print fabric by Clarence House. “It’s meant to look like a random find that she threw into the room.”


Marni Elyse Katz is a contributing editor to the Globe Magazine. Follow her on Instagram @StyleCarrot. Send comments to