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Style Watch

A change of pace

Moving out of their traditionally decorated brownstone, a couple seeks a fresh new aesthetic in a high-rise condo.

“The home melds contemporary with an infusion of the unexpected,” says Paula Daher. Michael J Lee
Michael J Lee

It was a leap for the homeowners of a traditionally decorated three-story Back Bay brownstone to move to a unit in a modern high-rise. While the couple embraced the idea of living in a more contemporary space, they sought interior designer Paula Daher’s expertise in creating an aesthetic they were comfortable with. “The living area had breathtaking city views, but the ceiling, walls, and trim were very dark and heavy,” says Daher. She kept the space elegant by opting for lighter shades of gray as a backdr

op, accented with teal and small pops of orange. Save for an early 20th-century concrete garden statue and a few treasured items, none of the couple’s existing furnishings made the move. While the new pieces are contemporary, nothing is too edgy; the feeling is refined but relaxed, and everything is oriented to playing up the astonishing skyline view.


1 | The antique garden statue was among the few pieces Daher brought over from the owners’ former home. “I felt it would serve as a cool, unexpected element,” she says.

2 | Draperies are made of a sheer woven-silk Lee Jofa fabric that doesn’t obstruct the view. “Because there is so much glass,” Daher says, “the softness of fabric was needed around the windows.”

3 | The Montage sectional, upholstered in wool flannel, is the room’s darkest gray furnishing. Floral and striped pillows in Osborne & Little fabrics bring lightness to the ample piece.

4 | The raffia-wrapped coffee table, custom-stained to match the room’s color scheme, adds subtle texture.

5 | Versatile and eye-catching footstools are upholstered in teal chenille by Glant.

6 | An Indian silk woven rug sits atop the wide-plank bleached oak floors. “The openness of the pattern felt simplistic and tribal to me,” says Daher. “It has charcoal tones that really ground the space.”


7 | A handy drink perch with a whimsical design, the bronze Julian Chichester canard table was fashioned to resemble a duck’s bill.

8 | Daher added “a little life and drama” to the built-in shelves with orange accents from the owners’ existing possessions: an Asian black-lacquer box with orange roping, a copper candlestick laid on its side, and books with orange spines.

9 | Two A. Rudin swivel chairs are upholstered in a teal-and-gray striped velvet Lee Jofa fabric. “You can turn toward the outstanding view and back to face what’s happening in the room,” says Daher.