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    Style Watch

    A Dorchester loft gets a budget-friendly makeover

    A small space gets a pulled together look that plays up its best architectural features.

    Joyelle West

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    Architectural details go a long way, especially in this loft at the Baker Chocolate Factory Apartments in the Lower Mills section of Dorchester. The project — by designers Steven Santosuosso and Mary Flo Ouellette of Somerville-based Squarehouse Studios for Homepolish — created a stylish space on a modest budget by focusing on the exposed-brick walls, wood-plank ceiling, and sky-high window with river view.

    The residents of the 700-square-foot one-bedroom, a newly married couple with a French bulldog, love their home’s industrial elements. They became the designers’ jumping-off point. “It makes sense to celebrate the geography of the project, all those old factory details,” Santosuosso says. “After all, that’s what they’re paying for.”

    The challenge was infusing the space with enough color, character, and warmth to render it a welcoming home, without cluttering it up. “The bricks carry a lot of visual weight,” Santosuosso says, “so it was important to strike an equal balance of industrial and inviting.”


    1. A wood-stump side table from Sunshine’s Furniture in Davis Square brings in the outdoors, while the mesh lantern reinforces the industrial feel.

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    2. The sectional sofa anchors the seating area and maintains an open feel. “The footprint isn’t that large, so we didn’t want to block circulation,” says Santosuosso. IKEA throw pillows add color along with geometric and organic patterning.

    3. The STAS picture hanging system lets the couple easily suspend new art from the picture rail and rearrange it on a whim.

    4. The IKEA landscape print picks up the colors of the brick and the silhouette of branches outside the window.

    5. The flower painting, bought on a trip to Italy, provided early inspiration for the loft’s color palette, incorporating pops of red and teal.


    6. Next to the kitchen, the high-top dining table from CB2 and tabouret stools fit within the metal frame of a long-gone doorway.

    7. Rather than splurge on a vintage lounge chair, the couple opted for a teal print slipper chair from Sunshine’s Furniture.

    8. The jute rug from West Elm is neutral and durable. “It doesn’t distract from the architectural details and will stand up to wear and tear from the dog,” Santosuosso says.

    Joyelle West

    9. The honeycomb shelf adds geometric interest and display space — among the little treasures are origami flowers made by Santosuosso and an iron finial from a garden gate — to an expanse of plain white wall.

    10. The couple’s dog, Milo, sits on the bottom shelf of a vintage baker’s rack found on a designer-client shopping trip to the Cambridge Antique Market.


    11. The couple loved the live-edge wood plank but were uncertain what to do with it. Santosuosso suggested leaning it against a wall for visual interest. “It represents potential,” he says. “They could turn it into a bench or table.”