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‘We needed to transform this neutral shell into a fun, lively place to entertain’

The living room in a Waban Victorian bridges the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.

Sabrina Cole Quinn

The owner of this traditional 1892 Victorian in Waban turned to an understanding friend for help in furnishing the newly renovated (by Chamberlain & Laliberte Design Associates) home. Designer Robin M. Anderson knew she needed to rein in the vibrant palette she usually favors. “She told me I’d have to find inspiration in neutrals,” Anderson says of her client/friend. They did agree that Anderson would introduce a touch of color in the formal living room. “We needed to transform this neutral shell into a fun, lively place to entertain,” she says. “It’s hard to achieve that without incorporating color.” Using lustrous navy tones along with glitzy gold accents, Anderson reimagined the previously formal room into a chic space that wows but still works with the home’s overall scheme. She says, “It’s a surprise for a Victorian living room in the suburbs.”

1. The navy pile Armadillo&Co rug grounds the room and offsets the neutral tones. “Although it’s a single color, there are many variations within it,” says Anderson.

2. A pair of slate-colored velvet sofas by Roger + Chris provide structured yet comfortable seating appropriate for casual entertaining. Custom Kelly Wearstler pillows introduce the blue from the rug.

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3. Anderson commissioned San Francisco-based ceramicist Bob Dinetz to help fill the space on either side of the fireplace. “I kept the bookshelves simple so they would not distract from the rest of the room,” she says of the array of matte black, wheel-thrown pottery in simple forms.

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4. Organic elements, such as vintage cane chairs and olive trees, balance old and new. Says Anderson, “I was conscious that the space not read as over-the-top.”

5. Brooklyn-based artist Lisa Hunt’s screen-printed diptych picturing the symbol for infinity is meditative, energizing, and unexpected. “The Studio 54 vibe sets the mood,” Anderson says.

6. The retro lighting fixture by Aerin was the finishing touch. “The room felt very soft,” Anderson says, “The chandelier adds a touch of modern formality and drama.”