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Belmont villa shows off dramatic designs

Once the site of strawberry fields, the 1853 William Flagg Homer House, named for the prosperous Boston merchant who built it, is a 15-room Bracketed Italianate-French, Second Empire villa in Belmont.

It’s a mouthful, to be sure. And lovely to behold.

In 1927, the Belmont Woman’s Club purchased the property, which serves as this year’s Junior League of Boston Designer Show House. Twenty local designers have transformed its rooms, which are open to the public from Oct. 7 to Nov. 5. Think of it as a chance to leave the world behind for a few hours and revel in beautiful design. Here’s a preview.


The Parlor Elizabeth BenedictElizabeth Home Décor & Design

michael j. lee

Mixing bold plaid with ladylike chintz, Chestnut Hill-based Elizabeth Benedict has created a receiving room where everyone can mingle comfortably. Benedict chose green and purple tartan wallpaper as the room’s backdrop, inspired by Winslow Homer’s landscape paintings that depict the rural fields once surrounding the house. (Winslow Homer was William Flagg Homer’s nephew.) “I was drawn to the works’ tumultuous skies with purple and green horizons,” Benedict says, “The colors of the tartan reflect that.” To infuse femininity, Benedict used painterly chintz, along with a chandelier draped with pale wood beads, and satin draperies that puddle on the floor like the bustle of a wedding dress.

The Morning Kitchen Kelly RogersKelly Rogers Interiors

michael j. lee

Seeing it as more of an Italian cafe, Waban-based Kelly Rogers, who collaborated with Dianne Aucello of Burlington-based Edesia Kitchen & Bath Studio, worked from the premise that not every couple needs a kitchen like that of a professional chef. Rogers outfits her modern day iteration with some high-end essentials — fridge drawers, steam oven, and coffee machine that makes lattes, too. At the center of the softly striped space, hand-painted by Pauline Curtiss of Patina, is a soapstone-topped island with corner sink that keeps the counter clear. “The people who live here,” Rogers says, “are too busy out and about to be cooking.”


Wunderkammer Susan Schaub & Scott BellTheo and Isabella Design Group

michael j. lee

Rather than hide the walls’ newly restored original Lincrusta treatment, wood paneling, and new Venetian plaster behind tome-lined shelves, Sudbury-based Susan Schaub and Scott Bell transformed the home’s large front room into a cabinet of curiosities. “More museum than library,” Bell says, “it’s about displaying collections from the family’s travels.” Treasures include a taxidermy bunny, tortoise shell, ostrich eggs, kudu skull with horns, and reproductions of narwhal tusks. A Moroccan-style rug with asymmetric patterning and bold leather and brass chairs add contemporary edge while remaining true to the global feel, and a saddle oyster shell pendant continues the natural history theme above.

Charlotte’s Closet Robin Gannon Robin Gannon Interiors & Home

michael j. lee/michael j lee

Lexington-based Robin Gannon likens the bedroom, perched at the top of the house and graced with tall windows, to a birdcage. Wrapped with Schumacher Brighton Pavilion wallpaper and drapery in peacock blue, the room is an ode to Princess Charlotte, whose father, King George IV, approved her choice of husband at Royal Pavilion in Brighton. A traditional bed with simple lines is dressed in the crisp hotel-style linens favored today, and a contemporary color block rug is underfoot. The plush settee in tiger print chenille and quilted olive green sateen custom designed by Gannon herself is indeed fit for a princess.

Belmont Woman’s Club, 661 Pleasant St.,

Marni Elyse Katz blogs at