Style Watch

Inside a shoe designer’s handsome home office

The work space in a new Back Bay condo combines functionality with global accents.

Michael J. Lee

Boston-based designer Kristine Mullaney’s client, a shoe designer, had just moved into a 2,000-square-foot, two-bedroom condo in a new building on the edge of the Back Bay. His request for gray and black lacquer in his home office inspired Mullaney’s design. She added warm wood tones, a hand-woven carpet, and a curated collection of curiosities to create a space that is both efficient and relaxing. “When we started, the room was just a blank box; it had no architectural detail,” she says. “I wanted to supplement his ideas with elements that were not quite so hard-edged.”

To give the homeowner space to store tools and spread out drawings, Mullaney conceived the L-shaped workstation, of zebra-wood veneer with black lacquered drawer fronts and cabinet doors. She commissioned Jamie Cumming of Somerville-based Loki Custom Furniture to collaborate on the design and build the piece, along with floating shelves and a bookcase. Mullaney compares the job to kitchen design. “It’s a very involved process,” she says. “You want to make sure it’s precise.”

1. To suit the homeowner’s meticulous style, Mullaney and Cumming concealed the printer in a cabinet in the desk. Drafting tools fit in the cabinets above.


2. The custom roman shade, fabricated in Schumacher Gordian Weave, measures a foot wider than the window on either side and is mounted close to the ceiling to give the illusion of an extra-large window.

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3. Accessories, including woven baskets and a sandstone Angkor Buddha head, nod to the homeowner’s frequent business trips to Asia.

4. Mullaney chose custom tweed upholstery that mimics menswear for the BoConcept sofa bed. The homeowner “wanted a handsome, tailored look,” she says.

5. The sofa pillow depicts a Greek battle scene. Jane Kilpatrick Schott of the Etsy shop Empress of the Eye Collections created it out of a vintage needlepoint piano bench cover.

6. The vibrant red wool rug from Landry & Arcari, a new creation based on traditional Afghan Turkmen designs, grounds the space while adding warmth and color. “It looks like he could have picked it up in his travels,” Mullaney says of the client.

Michael J. Lee

7. Benjamin Moore London Fog paint provides a soothing neutral backdrop.

8. Shadowboxes with 19th-century intaglios surround a circa 1920 English convex mirror with gilt-wood frame from Charles Spada Antiques, adding depth to the narrower part of the room.

9. A mid-century French curule chair from Trianon Antiques, with a chrome base and original black leather seat, adds a classic note.