Name: Christine Gasparich and her husband
Location: Beacon Hill neighborhood — Boston, Massachusetts
Size: 1100 square feet
Years lived in: Renting 2 years
In 2014, Christine's husband was accepted to graduate school in Boston, so they sold their D.C. house, sold or stored most of their furniture, and moved to Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood for two years. "I am an interior designer. We chose to rent this apartment because of its amazing architectural details – built in 1855, it features incredible millwork, bowed windows, a delft tile fireplace, high ceilings. At 1100 square feet, it was a very spacious one bedroom," Christine writes.
"We did not own furniture that was the right scale for the living room, so were very fortunate that my husband's mother who is an interior designer lent us her gorgeous George Smith English roll arm sofa and club chairs. We furnished the apartment primarily with IKEA pieces, flea market finds, and furniture passed down to us from my husband's grandmother. We spent lots of time scouring antique shops in nearby towns such as Brimfield and Essex, Massachusetts, and found that by doing this we were able to achieve a traditional New England style that felt warm, lived in, and appropriate.
As renters we weren't able to change the paint colors, and weren't willing to invest in window treatments for the uniquely sized windows, so I think I'm most proud of the fact that we worked with what we had, and I think our furnishings managed to distract from unattractive blinds and drab white paint!"
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Collected, eclectic and tailored
Inspiration: Our Beacon Hill neighborhood was a great source of inspiration for this apartment. Cobblestone streets, marble steps, super high gloss front doors, bustling shops, overflowing window boxes, narrow alleys, and hidden gardens; nearly every square foot is a feast for the eyes and no matter how many times you walk the same streets, you'll always find new details to admire. I wanted the inside of our apartment to feel like a continuation of the outside: old and new in harmony, plants and flowers lovingly tended, and unique items peppered throughout that pique your curiosity and make you want to tuck in and stay a while.
Favorite Element: Bow windows, millwork
Biggest Challenge: Designing around "renter white" walls and old blinds. Resisting my urge to change them, knowing that we would only be in the space for two years.
What Friends Say: Friends always ask about the art and objects we have around the apartment, and books are always a conversation starter!
Get the look! → Traditional Meets Modern
Proudest DIY: Stripped and fixed up a vintage parsons console
Biggest Indulgence: Four 18th Century nautical Napoleonic prints, each depicting a different different time of day of the Battle of the Nile. We found them in Essex, Massachusetts, an old shipping town. My husband loves their history, whereas I found them visually striking — it was a great compromise!
Best Advice: Say yes to family heirlooms and buy antiques! Right now it seems like there's a proliferation of new furniture (especially mid-century modern style) that's made to look old. This furniture can be great in small doses, but if you're not careful and buy all new things, your space can end up looking like a catalogue and fall flat. I think magic really happens when you play with different styles, including furniture and objects that have real patina and great stories behind them!
Dream Sources: Rose Tarlow, Holly Hunt