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Your Home | Family Living

A designer creates her dream home. (And it can withstand young kids.)

The Weston house incorporates sophistication and drama with durability.

The Fagins’ 1-year-old son takes a joy ride in his room, painted Benjamin Moore Lime Sorbet. “We chose a gender-neutral color when it was the guest room, hoping it would soon be a nursery,” says his mom. Emily O’Brien

The year 2014 was prodigious for designer Kathryn Fagin. She started her own business, married, and purchased a house — eventually.

The first house in Weston that she and her new husband, Brett, were interested in was a tear-down, and the deal fell through. Another property was in better shape, on a prettier lot, and on a more desirable street, but it still needed some work. “We knew we would have a family soon, and I really wanted a project,” Fagin says.

With the deal done, she turned to modernist architect Adolfo Perez, who had built her parents’ house, to help transform it inside and out. “I love how much glass he uses and the super clean lines,” Fagin says. The family moved in 2½ years ago.


To ensure an open, airy feel and guarantee that no room would sit unused, the architect and the designer/client collaborated closely on the interior layout. The focal point is a double-story wall of windows facing a sculptural walnut staircase with glass rails. “The stair is a showpiece,” Perez says. “It’s the wow when you walk in.” Secondary spaces — powder room, storage, and stairs to the basement — form the core around which the primary rooms circulate. “It’s essentially a racetrack,” Fagin says. “The boys ride their cars around and around.”

Brett and Kathryn Fagin and their sons gather on the modern walnut-and-glass staircase designed by architect Adolfo Perez. Emily O’Brien

The boys, ages 1 and 4, were the driving force behind many of her design decisions, from the durable bamboo floors to the kid-proof upholstery. That doesn’t mean she skimped on sophistication, though. Almond-colored grass-cloth wallcovering runs through the main level, starting in the entry, where a sapphire-edged mirror greets guests. A colorful installation of acrylic panels from Lanoue Gallery in SoWa hangs just beyond, in the blue-and-ivory living room. “I wanted some color because everything I own is blue,” Fagin says. “I love that you see it every time you walk in.”


The couple splurged on numerous stone slabs, all from Cumar Inc., that are both dramatic and, given their indestructibility, family-friendly. Azul Aran granite, a swirly blue stone with pale gray veining, was the starting point for the kitchen. “I immediately knew it was ‘the one,’ ” says Fagin. Perez embraced the bold choice, using it not just for the countertops but also to wrap the cabinetry throughout the kitchen. The pattern enlivens the space, while a wall of walnut cabinets and the walnut-slab dining table add warmth.

The living room design started with the paisley leaf rug by Galbraith & Paul. Next came the sofa. “I went through 30 navy velvets to find the right shade,” Kathryn Fagin says.Emily O’Brien

Brett and Kathryn both work from home, making highly personal offices must-haves. Brett, who asked for a masculine feel and ample sunlight, got the office in the front of the house, with walls painted Benjamin Moore Old Navy. When he requested the same style of chair his grandfather had in his office, Kathryn admits she cringed. It turned out to be an Eames lounge. “I was like, ‘OK, yeah, your grandfather had good taste.’ ”

For her own office, Kathryn went femme, with green and violet inkblot wallpaper by Eskayel. “Brett thought it would give me vertigo,” she says. “But I totally love it.”

Along with the four bedrooms with en suite baths upstairs, the laundry is outfitted with lots of storage and pretty handmade ceramic tile.

“Adolfo asked if I was sure about the square footage,” Fagin recalls. “But I’m in there all day!”

The boys have identically sized side-by-side rooms, complete with comfy gliders and easy-access toy storage. Save for the playful Around the World fabric by Designers Guild she used for Roman shades in the baby’s room, Fagin decorated with an eye toward longevity so that the children could grow into the spaces.


The sapphire frame of the Bunny Williams Home mirror in the entryway hints at the home’s multiple shades of blue. Emily O’Brien

A slab of smoky-blue onyx with cloud-like veining is the backdrop for the scalloped freestanding soaking tub in the master bath. Perez also used it for the vanity countertop and to edge other areas in the spacious retreat. “He really brought it to life,” says Fagin. “Everything plays off the stone.”

The master bedroom features the home’s only non-family-friendly feature — hand-painted, embroidered custom silk wallcovering by Fromental. It’s installed behind the bed, mostly out of reach of little hands. Fagin fell in love with the line when she was a graduate student interning at Studio 534 in the Boston Design Center. “Somewhere, someday, somehow, I was going to use that paper,” she says. No time like the present.


Architect: Adolfo Perez Architect, adolfoperez.com

Builder: Gaboury Building, gabourybuilding.com

Cabinetry & Millwork: Herrick & White, herrick-white.com

Interior Design: KJ Designs, kjdesignsboston.com

Stairs: Hardwood Design Inc., hdistair.com

Stone & Tile Installation: A&S Stone Fabricators, aandsstone.com


Fagin chose a low headboard for the master bedroom so as not to obscure the custom wallcovering. A pillow by John Robshaw plays off artwork by Larry Horowitz from Cove Gallery in Wellfleet.Emily O’Brien
In the kitchen, Beetle dining chairs by Gubi are upholstered in easy-to-clean periwinkle vinyl. The Bolle chandelier by Giopato & Coombes doesn’t impede the view of the windows.Emily O’Brien

Marni Elyse Katz is a frequent contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.