4 Ways This Innovative Design Team Transformed a Back Bay Brownstone
03.22.2020 | Paula Daher | Features
It was clear the building needed a hard reset. The old and stuffy space was no place to raise a family of six looking for a city escape. Gutting the 8,000 square feet building and building it back beautifully from scratch, though, was no small task. It was time to call the experts. Luckily, the new owners of this Back Bay brownstone knew that when it comes to city restorations and renovations, no challenge is too great for the pros at Daher Interior Design.
“The house was a shell when we stepped in,” says principal designer Paula Daher. “Since we’re unique in that we also do interior architecture, we were able to come up with a plan to overhaul the space and make it relevant to the family’s everyday lifestyle.”
What the design team crafted from the foundation of just four brick walls has to be seen to be believed. Good thing they took lots of photos. From the ground floor to the roof deck, here are four innovative ways Daher Interior Design gave the brownstone the ultimate transformation.
A Fresh Foyer
The home’s “wow” factor shows as soon as you walk into the six-story townhouse. Almost everything is brand new. The only salvaged pieces are the front door, glass sidelights, and stair balustrade, though you wouldn’t know at first glance. Even the walls had to be rebuilt. To amp up the glamour quotient, the Daher design team used molding as a way to tie in the past but painted the entire space in tones of white to create a backdrop for art and an airiness that gives the room a modern look and feel.
“It feels fresh and immediate, yet still keeps this tension between the old and the contemporary so it has a classic brownstone feel in a very glamorous way,” says Daher.
A Modern Kitchen Makeover
Narrow buildings like brownstones aren’t usually conducive to large kitchens. With a whole floor to work with, though, Daher designers were able to open the space to flow seamlessly between the kitchen and living area.
“It’s casual and designed the way we live today,” says Daher. “Our goal is to make these spaces relevant to how people want to use their homes.”
The flow between the two spaces is most evident in the periwinkle blue color palette driven by the traditional handcrafted La Cornue oven and extending to a beautiful blue cloud painting in the cozy dining area. The large windows also allow natural light all the way into the kitchen, gorgeously reflecting off the soapstone island, marble backwash, and glass lighting fixtures.
Beyond the Bedroom
Nothing helps beat the winter chill quite like a bedroom fireplace, especially after a warm soak in the ultra-luxe freestanding bathtub. They’re just a few of the top-tier amenities the Daher design team incorporated into the master suite covering an entire floor with a chic dressing room, an enormous bedroom, and an office with a view.
“It’s kind of like designing a yacht,” says Daher. “”Brownstones are peculiar in that the buildings are narrow, yet the ceilings are very high. People live on multiple floors rather than a suburban home where each floor is much wider. With limited square feet you have to make every inch count. Everything in the design has a reason and a purpose.”
Raise the Roof
Plopping down on the sofa and switching on the TV for gameday doesn’t get much more comfortable than this top floor nook crafted by the Daher design team. Not to mention the patio hot tub and stunning views of the Back Bay skyline. The stunning shiplap clad walls give the space a fresh and casual vibe perfect for entertaining friends and family.
Daher emphasizes that her team’s mission is always to create spaces that are an extension of each client’s tastes and needs. After revitalizing dozens of high-end residences across Boston and beyond, she says her team has developed unparalleled expertise in crafting spaces that allow clients’ personalities and needs to be center stage.
“The goal is always to make these spaces relevant to the clients everyday lifestyle in a unique and perfectly functional way,” she says.
This article originally appeared on Boston Magazine’s website.
3 Inventive Ways This Design Team Maximized the Space in This Small Condo
03.22.2020 | Paula Daher | Features
Good news urban dwellers. A lack of living space does not have to limit your lifestyle. Just ask the team at Daher Interior Design that transformed 1,100 square-feet luxury condo in One Dalton Four Seasons into a roomy pied-à-terre. Here are the three biggest ways the innovative designers supersized the space.
Form Follows Function
No room for frills here. Every piece in the two bed, one family room apartment serves a purpose, most of them multi-purpose. A chair for lounging swivels to become an extra seat at the dining table. Adjustable sconces limit the need for lamps and carry the light to all corners. The built-in wall in the living room? Pulling out a drawer reveals a dry bar perfect for cocktail party entertaining.
“It is really one room doing triple duty,” says principal designer Paula Daher. “We always aim to be creative and crafty about how we design spaces so they are live-able, but also functional.”
Fall sweaters. Winter boots. Spring dresses. Summer swimwear. New Englanders know, there is never enough closets to keep them all year-round. So, where do you fit your whole wardrobe with only a small closet in the master bedroom? For the Daher design team, the answer was hiding it all in plain sight. Drawers in the built-in wall can hold anything from a parka to a printer. Sheets and towels can be stored in the headboard above the king-sized bed. Pull-out bed size tables mean there is no need to store books under the pillow.
“When you have a small space, you have to create areas to store things you may not have in a larger dwelling,” says Daher. “We knew we needed more storage, so we came up with a floor plan that incorporates everything.”
In design, one size does not fit all, especially when it is a small size to begin with. That is why Daher meets with clients throughout the process to design a space that feels like home. Take the chair facing the TV, for instance. Knowing that she was working with a tall couple, Daher found a chair long enough to accommodate them that also fit the cozy and contemporary vibe of the condo. In fact, only the floor and kitchen came with the apartment. Everything else—like the millwork and case pieces—was Daher-designed.
“We wanted the décor to feel light and airy,” says Daher. “It feels modern and refined, yet is still a warm and welcoming space to relax.”
Whether it is a luxury townhouse or chic triplex, Daher says the goal of her team is to work with the homeowners and design a space that provides a floor plan and storage needs, then amps up the design through fabrics, finishes, lighting, and wall treatments. When a home focuses on the client needs and provides for them, she says, size really does not matter.
“My goal is for the client to walk in and say ‘wow this is my house and it is exactly perfect for us,” says Daher.
This article originally appeared on Boston Magazine’s website.
Ironware: Designer Spotlight
10.17.2019 | Paula Daher | Features
Ironware has worked with Daher Interior Design for years, and we are always elevated by the dynamic creativity of Paula and her team. Connecting with Paula is a joy, so it was natural to ask her to answer a few questions for our Designer Spotlight.
PAULA DAHER has been designing exceptional interior spaces since 1995. As the firm’s principal creative director at Daher Interior Design, Paula’s solid strategic foundation coupled with her frequent international travel provides boundless inspiration for the firms many projects.
“Our homes provide nurture and rejuvenation. In our busy lives, that moment you walk through your front door and say ahhhhh .happy to be home, that is what I want all of my clients to feel.” – P. Daher
What is your favorite travel destination?
My latest muse is Morocco. I have been 5 times in the past 18 months (planning my daughters wedding) and the country has become dear to my heart. Marrakech is a designers dream with color, texture, and handwork. All this in a warm and friendly atmosphere. The ceramics bring a level of craft to be appreciated by all and the tile, oh the tile…intricate designs to inspire and send me over the moon! And then the food, the perfect combination of Middle Eastern with a French influence. Trés bon.
Is there a special detail you always add to your projects?
Each project is unique and needs to appeal to the client. Art is the one element for me that, when added to a room, can make it sing and just feel complete.
Most common mistake you see in interiors…
Accessories that do not add to a room or shelves, they detract. Less is more. Elevate the simple without clutter and the simple becomes beautiful.
What are you reading?
Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
Tell us about a lesson you learned on the job?
Ha! When do we not learn from a job? Each project is unique with a different set of parameters unique to the home. Each project has an army of trades people to pull the entire project together from start to finish. There is always something new to resolve and work through and this becomes the basis of our decisions for each next project. In nearly 25 years of business, I have definitely learned a thing or two on the job. ?
Name something that has inspired your work recently…
Morocco has left an indelible mark on my soul and bits and pieces have been finding ways into my work. Nothing is more magical than a piece of pottery made in a Berber village, brought home and placed on display in a contemporary space.
What has been the most outrageous request you’ve ever had from a client?
My latest request, and unbelievably, two clients simultaneously: three TVs on the same wall! Yikes a definite challenge.
What do you especially appreciate about Ironware?
Ironware has become a go-to for my firm. The true customization of the products in terms of size and finish allow us to work them into a variety of rooms of various scales. Many of our projects are in Bostons brownstones, typically thin buildings with ceilings 12 tall. Ironware is an easy resource in terms of customization with efficient fabrication and shipping.
Name something on your bucket list…
My never ending quest ..to be fluent in French and not just a fluent 4 year old. A solid few months in Paris or Marrakech could do the trick!
Why is interior design important?
Our homes provide nurture and rejuvenation. In our busy lives, that moment you walk through your front door and say ahhhhh happy to be home, that is what I want all of my clients to feel.
Frette: Designer Dialogue
10.17.2019 | Paula Daher | Features
Frette sat down with Paula to learn more about her travel-inspired style and thoughts on the most important design elements of a room.
What inspired your passion for interior design?
As a child, I was obsessed with design in all things – leaves, buildings, clothing, anything visual. Drawing and reading fueled my design world. My bedroom and tiny clubhouse beneath a side porch became my young canvases. With my first apartment and then my first house, I loved the process of designing the spaces, making curtains, painting and tracking down the perfect piece to complete a space. Eventually, a business grew from it. Now, 25 years later with a team of nine, I am proud to say I still love to design. I pinch myself that I have managed to create and sustain a firm that provides interior architecture and design to a wonderful group of clients.
Who are your design mentors, if any?
Design for me was organic with personal trial and error. Back when I began, Traditional Home magazine was one of the few design publications. Monthly, I would pour through the issue enjoying completed spaces, yet my favorite feature was at the end of the magazine – a section containing floor plans of before and after. This opened my mind to re-thinking spaces in new ways. For me, this was an a-ha period where I became firmly committed to interior architecture and getting the bones of a space right.
What are the most important decorative elements in your home?
Artwork adds beauty and soul to a home. For me, the pieces I have accumulated from travel and local finds add the character to make my space my own.
“Travel is an important aspect for my inspiration. Travel domestically or internationally is a wonderful way to move you outside of your daily routine and open up your senses for new and interesting ideas.”
What are your three most important elements when designing a bedroom or room?
The floor plan or flow of a room is critical to the room’s success. Once established, the design of the space can follow with furnishings and decorative elements. When designing a bedroom, the positioning of the bed is so important. You want the bed to face the windows, if possible, allowing morning light to filter in and greet you each day.
Why is quality of sleep important to you?
The best medicine in the world is an uninterrupted night of sleep. My personal luxury is climbing into my bed with crisp Frette bedding and drifting into seven hours of sleep. The following day is sure to be off to a great start!
From your experience, what is the best decorating advice you can offer someone?
Trust a professional.
What upcoming projects are you looking forward to?
We were recently asked to design a model unit for the new Four Seasons Private Residences, One Dalton, in Boston. The challenge has been to design a space that welcomes potential buyers with many different design aesthetics, yet showcases what Daher Interior Design provides as a firm. All the while, we need to be sure the model and its contents are mobile for relocation to another condo should the model unit be sold. We are very excited to install the space in this spring, bringing a new dimension of design and luxury living experience to Boston.
What is your Style of Living?
I try to embody a relaxed elegance in all that I do. I take care to think about my day each morning, where and when I will meet clients, friends or family. I build my outfit around the day, making sure the people I interact with feel welcome and relaxed in this small slice of time we spend together. This mindset leads to positive energy throughout my day.
Where do you go for design inspiration?
Travel is an important aspect for my inspiration. I am just back from Morocco for the fourth time in 15 months – my latest design muse. The patterns, the colors, the linens, the contrasts, I am really loving the country! Travel domestically or internationally is a wonderful way to move you outside of your daily routine and open up your senses for new and interesting ideas.
What is your favourite book, magazine or site related to design?
While Instagram is an important part of our new design world, the library in our studio with design and architecture books from all over the world also provide endless inspiration. Cuisines Intemporelle is one book purchased in France in 2001 that I always seem to gravitate towards for inspiration.
What is on your nightstand?
At the moment, Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver.
A Couple’s City Escape
05.30.2019 | Paula Daher | City
So long, suburbs. Hello, urban oasis!
Going against the trend of flocking to the suburbs, many couples, young families, and empty nesters are either moving back (or staying put) in the city. If you want to embrace the hustle and bustle and celebrate the carless culture, there’s no better place than Boston—that’s why one couple opted for this chic builder’s triplex in Back Bay.
The couple designed their dream city escape as a second home with help from our team, who worked to highlight the natural assets of the space.
The gracious curved staircase connecting the triplex is a favorite feature. Another is the overall ceiling height throughout the condo.
My designers and I also worked to provide an elegant eating space, since the condo didn’t have a designated dining area. We replaced the kitchen island, utilizing a dark-stained mahogany wood and adding antique bronze details throughout. We needed to design a space that worked well for everyday living, yet felt a bit more elegant for formal dinner parties.
We continued the bronze detailing on the opposite side of the room with bespoke bookcases to provide display space for the client’s white pottery collection, flanking the banquette and dining table to establish an intimate area. The mobile-inspired light fixture also adds visual character to the space and the abstract oil painting above.
As I do with all of her clients, I dug deep to get some design direction for this particular couple. We focus on how they live, their entertaining habits, and feelings we can convey with their space. We use our website to review our projects and ask what they like and dislike in the images. Knowing what a client dislikes is actually more important than what they do like.
One of the biggest challenges for a city condo like this is storage; smaller spaces require more creativity. Think of a yacht: each element on the ship is designed to contain various items that can be stored while on the water, yet become easily accessible. We accomplished this with multi-functioning furniture and bespoke millwork specific to the room, so spaces are both tidy and easily transitional.
My team and I find inspiration in exotic places. Traveling internationally and domestically always inspires our creative souls. Travel coupled with daily infusions of seeing design in all areas of everyday life, storefronts, planters filled with beautiful flowers, colors of the changing sky, magazines, and Instagram. We strive to connect to design on all levels each day.
For city slickers looking for an easy fix to make a high-rise more like home sweet home, I advise bringing in plants and greenery wherever possible. Urban dwellings need to have flowers and container gardens; this offers a way to change the room or the balcony for the season.
And as far as the more complicated decisions go—custom builds, finding fabulous furniture, reworking an entire space to fit your unique needs—you should give us a call.
This article originally appeared on Boston Magazine’s website.
A Forever Home – Part II
03.31.2018 | Paula Daher | Town
As an interior designer the most rewarding projects are those that allow us to re-think a home and arrange all of its rooms and parts to function for the individual needs of a homeowner. Here, as we continue our tour of before and after photos of this beautiful Cottage Farm renovation project, I want to show you how we completed the first floor for family living.
Gracious living awaits!
We begin in the stately library of this English Revival with it’s original paneled walls and stunning, yet hidden, carved forest green marble fireplace surround. For today’s family, the space was too dark and formal. Our task was to retain the existing grandeur while making the space more casual and livable.
Dark paneling makes for a very serious room
Lighter walls help to enliven the space
The walls were expertly stripped and re-stained by a master wood re-finisher. What a transformation! The former marble fireplace surround now stands proud with heightened importance against the lighter walls.
We were asked to make the space work for adult gatherings and to do so we created a floor plan that offered seating to fit 10 comfortably with plenty of room to pull up additional chairs. We added a contemporary dry bar and peppered the room with furnishings that, at first glance, may appear to lean toward traditional, yet take a closer look….a modern cocktail table combined with vibrant contemporary art by Deborah Zlotsky and Michael Zigmond adds a more upbeat, adult sophistication while still making the room accessible to children with the addition of a games table.
Plenty of room to entertain
Light and dark perfected
Beautiful reflections from unexpected angles
Game table for young and old alike
Now let’s look at how we re-worked other first floor areas to accommodate the family’s needs.
Old powder room updated to…
As one of the visiting grandparents is in a wheelchair, we needed to provide a first floor guest bedroom and full bath. The bath whose primary function is a powder room, needed to be an attractive space that met the needs of everyday use.
Our solution was to create a curb-free shower for wheelchair accessibility, a sink that belies the fact a wheelchair can roll beneath and, voila, a cleverly concealed shower behind an attractive black metal and frosted glass wall unit – function and form seamless, together.
chic, modern and accessible
How about children and all those backpacks, shoes and jackets?
Cluttered chaos transformed to…
bright and happy organization
Are you enjoying the before and after images? I hope they help to show how we at Daher Interior Design can translate needs and challenges with fresh, functional design to accommodate all! Want to see more of this beautiful home? Check out our Cottage Farm project on our website and don’t forget to circle back for our next post that will highlight the second floor renovation of this amazing project!
A Forever Home – Part 1
03.27.2018 | Paula Daher | Town
The redesign of a house into a home starts with the people who live in the space. For a designer, a dream project is when you get to know a wonderful family and re-design an entire home to meet all of their needs. If a floor plan does not work – we change it and, for this project, change we did – from top to bottom!
The home, a circa 1918 brick English Revival, had 3 previous owners all trying their best to retain the original gracious bones of the house while adding and reconfiguring for their needs resulting in a warren of interior rooms. While the exterior was charming with lush and expansive gardens, the interior did little to temp modern family living. Our first challenge was to create a large open area that offered generous kitchen space and family room so the 3 young children could be close by. The original plan had a dining room attached to the kitchen through a butler’s pantry in between 2 stairways.
In the existing floor plan you can see how the kitchen was disconnected from any of the actual “living” spaces in the library or living room. There was no casual TV area for the family to congregate. The new plan we came up with removed the staircase to the second floor and re-located a stairway to the basement, creating a large open kitchen and family room. The new space is perfect for a young family. We re-purposed the original living room into a large dining room located just off the kitchen and created a first floor bedroom for visiting grandparents.
How more friendly this space is to entertain! As we all know, everyone loves to hang out in the kitchen, so we made the new floor plan work with that in mind. The separate dining room, which gets used far less in everyday life, still offers a roomy place for more formal dinners and family holidays.
I love to share before and after photos because it truly illustrates how thoughtful and creative we are here at Daher Interior Design – not only does this new, rejuvenated floor plan flow effortlessly from room to room, it also compliments the original style of the house while making the entire space casually comfortable. Try and spot all of the original details of the house we tried to preserve – did you find the original flooring? How about the way we mimicked the pattern of the floor with new molding on the dining room ceiling?
This English Tudor was truly a joy to work on, allowing our creative juices to flow as we designed all of the interior architecture, millwork and furnishings – all the while working with the contractor, homeowner and all the various subs to make this a forever home for our clients.
Log on to our website to see additional photos of this completed Cottage Farm Estate and stay tuned for my next blog to see more of this amazing house transformation!
White Roofs and Sandy Beaches
03.2.2018 | Paula Daher | Travel
A quick trip, a mere two hours from Boston, makes for a destination that feels worlds away. Bermuda, an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean’s jet stream, provides a temperate climate all year long. Here in February, a perfect 3 days in the lower 70’s.
As a designer, I look for inspiration in all that I do. Bermuda provided me with a visual treat with their white roofs. Every building on the island has a white roof and, as I always say, something singular is fine, but, en masse, the same image can create stunning pageantry.
Below you see the up-close details of a white roof. I was intrigued by the step aspect and heavy thickness of each shingle. The roofs are constructed from indigenous limestone, the stone acting as a natural filter. The only fresh water source on the island is from collected rainwater. As rainwater runs down the roof, it is naturally filtered by the limestone. The water then runs through a series of pipes into a cistern or large collecting pool built from limestone beneath each building. Truly remarkable to think this method of providing fresh water to Bermudians began in the early 1600’s! Even newer buildings utilize the same roof construction process and materials from centuries before.
Okay enough of the geek talk, let’s enjoy the visual beauty of the aquamarine blue water, fine white sand beaches and, of course a cocktail! Surely, the pinks, aquas, and teals against a white backdrop will enlighten many upcoming projects. Take a trip over – you will leave feeling refreshed after experiencing this peaceful and beautiful island.
02.15.2018 | Paula Daher | Travel
Travel is the ultimate inspiration for me. Morocco has always been a destination I have longed to visit. Marrakech proved to be the most inspiring spot to ring in the 2018 New Year! The colors, and patterns of tile were extraordinary – the vivid greens were the most amazing. I could not help taking photos at every turn.
In the main Medina of Marrakech, behind a beautiful old door lies Le Jardin Secret. As you enter you are welcomed by the most luminous green jade tile that is used throughout. The walkway is a lovely herringbone pattern that guides you through the gorgeous botanical gardens.
Moroccan culture is rich with color, pattern and visual texture. The gorgeous jade green hue can be seen in so much of the tile patterning. It is a natural contrast to the the lighter buildings. The summer months have extremely hot weather as this city sits at the foot of the Atlas mountains, the Sahara Desert on the opposing side. It is not hard to see why many of the buildings are constructed from lighter sand, stucco and concrete, the walls thick to keep the heat away in the summer. During the January visit the temperatures in Morocco were perfect for sightseeing, upper 60’s and low 70′ by day, however the nights dipped into the low 50’s.
A visit to the Hotel La Mamounia was a treat for the eyes. The beautiful jade green tile appearing again and used in some of their outdoor areas. The tile was used to create chevron, plaid and diamond patterns, all to bring the scale of the buildings and doorways down to make the space feel more in scale with the height of people.
La Mamounia carries with it a prestigious past of Arabic-Andalusian culture, rich with splendid colors, shapes and materials, which it nurtures and celebrates.
“It is one of the most beautiful places in the world” declared Winston Churchill to Franklin Roosevelt in 1943. A true declaration of love, in the same way as all of those that have graced the history of La Mamounia. Artists, statesmen, Hollywood stars, authors, and other great figures have fallen under the spell of this place, its refinement and the exceptional welcome received at La Mamounia. A unique experience. The most jaw dropping tile I found at La Mamounia is this gorgeous low reflecting pool. I hope this image will mesmerize you the way it did for me! This portion of the hotel was formerly a palace. The patterns and visual texture are a true testimony to the craft of the Moroccan culture.
A trip up to Casablanca from Marrakech would not be complete without a visit to the Hassan II Mosque. These images below show yet again how the gorgeous green tile finds its way into floors and walls. The details of each element are complex and hold wonder. The history of this modern mosque was fascinating and the abundance of tile designs, extraordinary.
Morocco will surely inspire my design work with a refreshed appreciation of tile, pattern and color. I am thinking another trip cannot be far in the distance. I invite you to share more of my experience with another blog post soon. All the best and remember where ever your travel may take you, there is always inspiration waiting.