Just over a year ago, Hanwen (Evan) Bai and Evan Fowler-Guzzardo moved from a rental in the Seaport to a 1,273-square-foot condominium in South Boston. Along with a view of the Prudential, the couple gained almost 200 square feet of living space. It’s their largest home yet, but they don’t plan to accumulate more possessions. “Every piece we have is there for a reason,” Bai says. “We’re good at Marie Kondo-ing things.”
Bai, who had been a nationally recognized calligrapher as a child in China, is a scientist and an interior decorator on the side. He founded Hanwen Interiors after decorating their new home. “The process reignited my passion for design,” he says.
Bai’s modern aesthetic is rooted in Eastern design principles, but Fowler-Guzzardo, who grew up in Michigan, favors a more Scandinavian style. Still, both are modernists. “We have slightly different aesthetics, but the feeling we want is the same,” Bai explains. “We both want a restorative, Zen-like sanctuary where we can recharge at the end of a bustling day.”
Bai worked diligently to preserve a sense of airiness throughout. Nearly-invisible roller shades maintain the scale of the windows and let in as much light as possible. Crisp white walls are a bright backdrop for low-slung furnishings that don’t obstruct the view. Such silhouettes are odes to the furniture Bai grew up with in China. “Lower profiles feel more grounded to the earth, keep the room open, and add to the Zen feel,” he says.
A collection of glass vases in deep blues, greens, and browns handblown by Fowler-Guzzardo’s father, Michael Guzzardo, informed the color palette and kicked off the scheme. “His pieces were included in the Corning Museum of Glass journals 45 years ago,” Bai says. “We found these tucked away in [my in-laws’] basement.” Bai displayed the collection museum-style on floating walnut shelves in the living area, including a label detailing his father-in-law’s career.
To create a cohesive, streamlined look, Bai sought out accessible vendors that offer custom solutions. Floating shelves from Ultra Shelf perfectly match the length of the Room & Board media cabinets, which sit end to end for a built-in effect. The pieces anchor the art installation and provide a 10-foot-long stretch of storage for blankets, board games, and gardening tools.
Although the condo offers ample living and storage space, especially with Bai’s enhancements, the kitchen layout presented a challenge. “There wasn’t enough space for a separate dining table,” Bai says. His solution—a custom, live edge walnut table that fits flush against the island countertop—is seamless. Not only does it up the functionality, allowing 10 friends to gather for the traditional Chinese feasts that Bai loves to prepare, it softens the room’s hard, glossy surfaces with warm, natural texture.
It took a bit of thought to work out the furniture arrangement in the bedroom, too. While many might be inclined to place the bed on the wall opposite the window to enjoy the view, Bai positioned the bed in front of it. “The other wall wasn’t long enough to fit a queen-size bed and nightstands,” Bai says. “Plus, circulation to the en suite bath would have been awkward.” So, he chose a low-slung bed with integrated nightstands and looked on the bright (but not too bright) side. “The bed doesn’t obstruct the view and the sun doesn’t wake us in the morning.”
Interior Decoration: Hanwen Interiors, hanwen-interiors.com