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5 inspired rooms

Behind each of these creative spaces is a theme that pulls everything together. Designers and homeowners reveal how they found that spark.

Keller + Keller


DELIGHTED by a pair of cement French garden statuary she took out of storage, interior designer Kate McCusker of Theodore & Company got the yen to redecorate her Beacon Street office. The statues — otherwise known as "Romeo and Juliet" or, if you're talking to Paula McCusker, Kate's mother and business partner, "Catherine and Heathcliff" — are mounted on plinths and very French in style. Kate felt they were best suited for either a funky loft or a distinctly French room. The office, being rather small, made Parisian decor the obvious choice.

It was an easy redo, Kate says. First, she repainted the walls the gray of weathered French stone. Then she appropriated her mom's Louis XVI-style sofa, upholstered in a now out-of-print Stroheim & Romann floral toile. Next, she unearthed an extra bolt of the fabric and had one floor-to-ceiling curtain panel made. She swapped her desk for her late stepfather's metal campaign desk and brought in a turn-of-the-last-century French balloon-back chair reupholstered in bubble-gum pink leather. A framed photograph of Paris plucked from the walls of her own apartment supplied the finishing touch.

Kate, who spent a year as an exchange student in Europe, feels at home in her space. "When other kids headed to Cancun on college break, I went to Paris. It's my happy place."


Louise Michaud


IT STARTED with the dilemma of locating mechanicals for an air conditioning system. Cheryl and Richard Durgan of Beverly, with the help of designer Sally Wilson, decided to sacrifice the shower in a bathroom off their study to house the equipment. That meant redecorating the full bath as a powder room.

When Wilson showed the Durgans Brunschwig & Fils's "Bibliotheque" wallpaper, from the Boston Design Center, Cheryl knew they had found their look. "The study was starting to resemble a traditional English club, and this fit in beautifully," she says. From there, they added a slab of rust Alhambra marble for the vanity, along with a bronze waterspout, handles, and bowl. Wilson, of Salem-based Wilson Kelsey Design, selected faux ostrich wallpaper, which echoes the appearance of a leather-bound book, for below the chair rail.


In keeping with the library feel, a decorative painter did a faux bois mahogany treatment on the original cherry door. Even the camel-colored toilet matches the wallpaper. "You don't realize what the room is at first," says Cheryl. "The effect envelops you."

Keller + Keller/Keller + Keller 2010


TWELVE-YEAR-OLD ELISABETH WEEKS knew what she wanted in a bedroom, even when she was 10. After soaking up Elisabeth's ideas, Hingham-based designer Robin Pelissier conjured Cirque du Soleil as a working theme for her Milton room. "Her descriptions were very whimsical," she says. "We wanted to create a playful space for this young artist who loves to draw and dance."

Elisabeth asked for clouds on the ceiling and pretty things from the outdoors. "I feel like the sky is surrounding me," she says of her blue walls. She loves the tree-and-bird toile of the Roman shades, whose pattern reminds her of "little gardens," and the lime green ceiling fixure with pink flowers by Stray Dog Designs. Pelissier hung multicolored sheer panels by Tricia Guild on a track around the bunk bed, adding privacy with a circus-like aesthetic. "Now when I have sleepovers and my brothers barge in, we can pull the curtains around us," Elisabeth says.


The curtains also allowed Pelissier to pull more colors into the scheme. "Elisabeth wanted all the colors of the rainbow," she says. Pelissier clearly got it.

laura moss


Susan and Glenn Rothman have traveled the world, so when it came time to redo the master bedroom in their Tudor-style home in Wellesley, they knew where they'd look for inspiration. "We love the serenity and architecture of Southeast Asia," Susan says. Plus, they were eager to display the artifacts they had brought back. So the couple hired interior designer Laura Meyer of Boston architecture firm Meyer & Meyer to transform the space.

The model was Bali's Amandari resort, with its open-air villas. "What's so enticing about Balinese architecture is the open walls," Susan says. "Obviously we couldn't do that in Boston." Meyer, however, achieved the effect with a bamboo ceiling that perfectly echoes the feel of a Balinese pavilion. She incorporated an ancient carved column that the couple had packed away, splitting it lengthwise and using the pieces as the posts for a custom-designed platform bed. A Balinese tapestry was framed and hung over the bed, and throw pillows were made with textiles that Susan had carried home.

"When you walk in, you really feel like you're somewhere else," Meyer says. "It's exactly the experience they wanted."

Ben Gebo


When Cathy McCarty and her husband, Shomir Ghosh, decided to renovate the master bathroom in the Brookline condo they share with their two young children, they wanted something that didn't look like it came straight from a catalog, but not something so far out that it could impede resale. "My husband's from Bombay," says McCarty, "so we thought a nod from there could be nice." To make that happen, they turned to Boston-area interior designer Brenda Be.


Be ran with the idea, probably more devotedly than the couple expected, the designer admits. Still, the effect is subtle. The patterned sink from Kohler's Artist Editions series has a definite Indian vibe, but the medicine cabinet, with an intricate latch cast in India, has clean Federal-style lines. The glass mosaic wall tile, an of-the-moment look, is flecked with gold, reminiscent of the metallic threads often woven through saris. The 12-by-12 stone slabs lining the shower hint at the expanse of white marble of the Taj Mahal.

"People wouldn't necessarily make these associations," says Be. "I think of them as our little secrets."

Marni Katz blogs about design at Send comments to