My BFF's Back Bay Condo: The Reveal
After a year of not-so-patiently waiting, I'm so excited to finally reveal the Back Bay home that I designed for my best friend and her family! If you follow me on social media by now I'm sure you've seen this project, which was recently in both Boston Home magazine and Rue, but there is so more to this home that wasn't published. If you are like me and you always want MORE, today is your lucky day!
10 years ago, I met my best friend Maria (who I not so jokingly refer to as my wife) in baby class when our oldest boys were just a few weeks old. We bonded immediately and for the last decade we have navigated the waters of late night feedings, toddler meltdowns, family woes, and the birth of four more children. (...and two home renovations to boot!) Basically, all the ups and downs that come with life while raising small children.
About three years ago, while Maria and I were on a yoga retreat together, I started to consider whether I could make interior design an actual profession rather than a hobby. We were spending the weekend in a snow covered Martha's Vineyard, and I figured it was the perfect time to ask my best friend for advice. At the time, the one thing that was really holding me back from starting a design business was that I didn't have any "real" training in the field. I felt like I had a knack for it, and loved experimenting with design in my own home, but I questioned if I was confident enough to take my knowledge to the next level and accept clients. I hadn't known anyone who had made a real career shift other than to mom, and I wanted her to tell me to go for it.
During our conversation Maria asked if I would have any interest in designing her home. She had loved what I had done with mine, and since I'd spent so much time in hers she knew that I would have a ton of ideas. Her home was already so beautiful, I immediately jumped at the opportunity without even really thinking about it. Maria, had been considering hiring a designer before this conversation, but finding the right fit was proving difficultShe felt that at the end of the day I knew her taste better than anyone else and with that we left agreeing that I would take on the project but I still wasn't convinced that she was actually serious.
Seven years prior, Maria and her husband had purchased their beautiful condo and had immediately embarked on a full renovation of the entire home. As much as they loved the final result, a few years later she was felling that the home wasn't really reflective of the family they had grown into.The issue with her home was that was architecturally beautiful, and the renovation gave them a wonderfully unique shell, but the interiors felt a little lackluster. They had four young children, all under the age of seven, and the home was full of neutral pieces and hand-me-down furniture that had lived a good life. The consensus was that it just wasn't very "them."
The only issue for me in taking on this project was that this was the first big design job that I had accecpted, and I just wasn't quite sure where to begin. I thought back to what I did to transform my own home and I figured it would be safe to start with the paint. The house was full of warm tones, including butter colored walls, and I knew that lightening all the walls and bringing in some cooler tones in the bedroom would go a long way and make for a quick transformation.
Our first step was to paint the entire home a soft white and the other spaces a cool gray. After the paint was completed my best friend absolutely loved the result and that's when I knew that I could take this on and make both her and her husband happy. Honestly, I still couldn't believe I was being trusted with a project of this scale given my lack of experience, but because the couple was completely on board with my vision from the beginning, I knew I could jump in head first and it would be okay.
After that we really went to work. I started with the living room and master bedroom and room by room we designed our way through the home over a span of two years. Because I was so new at this, I wasn't necessarily able to present and overall vision to the couple from the get-go, but by the time we wrapped one room and moved to the next I had a clear idea in my head of what I wanted the space to look like.
Never once did my friend or her husband question my ability and even when I was doubting some of my choices they stayed the course. This helped me to feel more confident and I think that this house really exudes that feeling. By having their complete trust I was able to really be creative and it became a case of if I can dream it, we can do it.
I can hardly put into words what it means to me to be able to share this project and have it be so well received. I look at these pictures and I can't believe that it was only three years ago that we decided to take on this project together. Since then we have also renovated her Cape house, and just like with this home it was an absolute joy every step of the way. Doing these projects together forced us to really make time for each other and in the end that alone makes this all worth it.
I'm dying to show you how much we actually changed this entire home and in the coming weeks I'll be sharing before and afters, room by room. (With sources!) As you can see there are so many different rooms that we transformed and they are all so unique, I think it's going to be a lot of fun to compare the before shots. Sometimes my best friend and I look at them together and we both can't believe how far her beautiful home has come!
Stay tuned, there is so much more to follow! Xx
All photography by the talented Sabrina Cole Quinn