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Your Home | Make It Your Own

Beige is beautiful in Newton

A homeowner’s devotion to the quietest colors sets a calm, elegant tone.

The living room’s tufted velvet sofa is from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. The Bernhardt chairs from Hudson in the South End satisfied T.J. Rose’s request for a high-backed lounging spot.
Michael Lee
The living room’s tufted velvet sofa is from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. The Bernhardt chairs from Hudson in the South End satisfied T.J. Rose’s request for a high-backed lounging spot.

Jody Rose has been drawn to neutral palettes for as long as she can remember. Her teenage bedroom was white, with only a few black accents, and her wardrobe is much the same, with a healthy dose of cream and beige. “Those colors center me,” she says. “It’s important for my home to radiate peace and calm, too.”

Interior designer Stephanie Sabbe worked to bring that aesthetic to Rose’s Newton home, which she shares with her husband, T.J., and their two young children. “Jody does not like color,” Sabbe says. “She wanted beige on beige on beige. It was a challenge finding so many shades.”

Sabbe and Rose met at church and bonded over being pregnant with their first children and their interest in design. Rose asked Sabbe to help her pull together the nursery in her Back Bay condo — she loved that Sabbe was so collaborative.

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When the Roses bought a house in Newton in 2012, they asked Sabbe to decorate, starting with the family room. Rose says: “I told her I wanted it to be 50 shades of gray. Gray walls, gray furniture, gray everything.” It took them a year to complete that room, which ended up not gray — Rose concluded it was too dark — but bathed in beige, with ivory accents.

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The space channels Rose’s self-described “laid-back casualness with an overall elegance.” A coffee table with reclaimed-wood top is perfect for the kids to run their trains over. A pair of wingback chairs from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams upholstered in an ivory pinstripe by Kravet flank the fireplace, above which hangs the television, as directed by T.J. The extra-long sofas from Pottery Barn are great for family movie nights and provide additional lounging space for their extended families during the holidays.

The room opens onto the breakfast nook, where Sabbe introduced metal with industrial-style chairs, a material she mirrors in the dining room with Klismos outdoor chairs fitted with custom velvet cushions. Sabbe persuaded Rose to top off the rustic dining table with an almost minimalist brass chandelier instead of the crystal one Rose had envisioned.

“We learned a lot about each other,” says Rose. “Stephanie learned when to listen to me and when to push back, and I learned to trust her.”

When it was time to decorate the living and dining rooms, Rose was ready to go gray. They chose Phillip Jeffries grass-cloth wallpaper as the starting point and added a huge custom Stark rug that spans the space to tie the two areas together. Rose knew she wanted a tufted Chesterfield sofa, which she declared should be emerald green. Skeptical and amused, Sabbe trotted out heaps of swatches, all of which Rose rejected as the wrong shade. Sabbe says, “It wasn’t the shade that was wrong; it’s that they were green.”

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Sabbe says she enjoyed her role on the project, steering Rose back to her original plan when she veered off course. “This was the Jody show. Her house reflects her tailored, perfectly pulled together personal style.” Rose concurs: “I love my house. It’s completely me.”

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