Bright colors and lively patterns invigorate a remodeled Marion home.
Finding fixer-upper properties is her passion; making them shine again is her specialty. After choosing a harborside home in Marion, Mass., as her latest redo target, the owner set to work on a complete remodel with Scarfano Architects of Chicago, Pimental Contractors of New Bedford and landscape designer Susannah Davis of Marion. The project involved updating the kitchen, redoing bathrooms, opening up closed, dark spaces and installing high-quality materials and fixtures.
Wanting the complete package—not just an updated structure and landscape but also a cohesive interior—she turned to interior designer Bill Barr of Mattapoisett-based Surroundings. “We had worked together on several homes already,” explains Barr of his client, “and I was involved in this project from day one.”
Born and raised in California, Barr has a background in retail merchandising plus nearly 20 years of experience in the interior design industry. He’s worked as the interior designer at Surroundings for the past 10 years, ever since first moving east. His services represent years of growth for the home furnishings and accessories store, launched by owners Louise and Ben Rogers in 2000. Now, not only can customers purchase furniture and accessories as-is from Surroundings’ retail side, they can also order custom furnishings from Barr’s extensive, to-the-trade-only showroom and workroom access.
“We appreciate that, with the Internet, pretty much everything in the world is available to customers these days,” admits Barr. “But the benefit to working with Surroundings is that a designer understands the importance of scale and how to balance color and pattern in a room. Working with us is a good choice for the homeowner who wants an interior that looks like a whole package decision as opposed to choosing items à la carte and hoping for the best,” he explains.
“We can do an entire house based on blueprints or something as small as a slipcover for a sofa,” continues the designer. “Our goal is to work with clients to understand their taste and budget. We take the uncertainty out of furniture selection,” he adds.
From working with her for years, Barr knew that this particular Marion homeowner likes to tread on the bolder side of design. “She loves color and pattern—she actually gets a little bolder with each project and even pushes me sometimes,” he says, laughing.
Most rooms began with her falling in love with a particular fabric, which would ultimately take the lead in a major furnishing. The remaining design decisions involved a supporting cast of complementary colors and patterns. For example, in the home’s expansive great room, a high-wattage fuchsia Romo fabric covers the dining area’s upholstered chairs. Meanwhile, a coordinating Osborne & Little paisley fabric on the chair backs infuses the dining set with playful pattern.
Similarly, the great room’s living area is a study in coordinating fabrics. The window treatments boast an oversized paisley pattern that is predominantly pink with hints of blue—the same pattern appears on the swivel chairs but in a sea of blues. “Using that fabric twice gave us permission to blend pinks and blues throughout the space,” explains Barr. The neutral wall color and quarter-sawn oak flooring are classic bases that allow for so much furnishing creativity.
Besides aesthetics, the designer also had to keep function in mind. Since the owner is a “consummate entertainer,” according to Barr, the furnishings had to cater to large gatherings. “The living area’s rug was custom made by Patterson, Flynn & Martin through F. Schumacher at the Boston Design Center—it’s a blend of wool and bamboo silk and offers great durability. Also, we opted to upholster the swivel chair seats in a durable turquoise fabric knowing that the embroidered paisley would inevitably take a beating,” he explains.
Color continues its perseverance up the stairway, whose fuchsia walls set off a white-painted banister with decorative fish cutouts: the effect looks like a school of fish swimming by. A bubble-laden painted handrail by decorative painter Kathrine Lovell adds to the ocean theme. Built-in bookcases on the landing provide much needed storage and feature glass shelves backed by a shimmery, diamond-pattern F. Schumacher wallpaper.
While the guest bedrooms benefit from colorful details, like an orange canopy bed by Maine Cottage in one and a pair of chartreuse nightstands in another, the master bedroom departs from bold hues in favor of rich chocolate browns and soothing blues. The Hickory Chair upholstered headboard, silver leaf Phillip Jeffries ceiling covering, Jamie Young lamps and Bungalow 5 side tables communicate balance and invoke relaxation.
From her carefully placed collections (lobster plates and sea glass are just a few) to the fun-loving, red-white-and-blue color palette in her Texas-themed study (an homage to her home state), the house embodies its owner’s personality because every design decision was highly customized.
Interior Design: Surroundings
By Jennifer Sperry
Photography by Ed Nute
Article published in 2014-15 issue.