2014 5 under 40 Awards

August 25, 2014

Text by Lynda Simonton    Photography by Hornick/Rivlin Studio

SO14 5 under 40

New England Home is thrilled to present the fifth annual “5 Under 40” awards, celebrating our region’s finest emerging talent in residential design. The honorees—all of whom are under the age of forty—were nominated by their peers and then selected by a committee of local design leaders.

Picked for their early promise, “5 Under 40” honorees over the years have, unsurprisingly, continued to achieve on both a regional and national scale. Google 2010 architectural winner Stephanie Horowitz, and you’ll find her TEDxBeaconStreet talk on living an “Ultra Low Energy Lifestyle.” Interior designer Rachel Reider has been featured in the pages of many national publications for her wonderfully chic residential and hotel designs. Furnishings from Rhode Island furniture makers Asher Dunn, Sara Ossana, and Jonathan Glatt have made a splash at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair and have landed in beautiful homes across the country. We could go on and on, but needless to say these winners have lived up to their reputations!

A committee of professionals representing diverse facets of the New England design community—Sally Weston of Sally Weston Associates; Jill Litner Kaplan of Jill Litner Kaplan Interiors; Eric Portnoy and Brent Refsland of Room 68; Michael Blier of Landworks Studio; and Kyle Hoepner, editor-in-chief of New England Home—chose the “5 Under 40” winners for 2014.

Like their predecessors, each of this year’s honorees has designed a rug that has been produced by the custom weavers of presenting sponsor Landry & Arcari Oriental Rugs and Carpeting. These one-of-a-kind works of art will be auctioned off on September 11, 2014, at a special awards ceremony and cocktail party in downtown Boston. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based charity Barakat, an organization that provides educational opportunities to women and girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

This year we celebrate a particular milestone with the completion of twenty-five rugs and more than $40,000 raised for the charity since the “5 Under 40” program began in 2010. So please join us on September 11 for this festive and worthwhile evening

SO14 Pauline Curtiss

Like several past “5 Under 40” winners, Pauline Curtiss attended Rhode Island School of Design, graduating with a BA in painting. This experience was pivotal to her coming into her own as an artist. “RISD was amazing,” she says. “For the first time in my life I was surrounded by a community of people who took their art seriously and provided me with feedback. That community is still important to me fifteen years later.”

While Curtiss continues to create fine art, her day-to-day work is focused on bringing her passion for pattern into indoor and outdoor spaces. Through Patina, her company in Lincoln, Massachusetts, Curtiss creates, designs, and handprints patterns for both residential and commercial clients. Her artistry can transform a plain surface into a delightful visual surprise.

Curtiss is driven to bring her passion for large-scale pattern to public spaces as well as homes. Last year, as a winner of Michigan’s ArtPrize competition, she brought one of her designs to a Grand Rapids underpass, transforming the barren urban landscape into a work of art reminiscent of a grand ballroom. Her pro-bono work over the years has brought art to many public spaces in the Boston area, including Rosie’s Place, a women’s shelter; the Newton Housing Authority; and the Devon Nicole House at Boston’s Children’s Hospital.

Of all this year’s “5 Under 40” winners, Curtiss may have been the most comfortable jumping in and designing her rug, since she often creates custom floor coverings for clients. Her rug is a series of large-scale medallions whose symmetry is enhanced with the mixing of textures, materials, and pile heights.

What’s up next for the artist? She’s in the process of creating
a retail line of tiles, tableware, and rugs, allowing us all to bring the beauty of her patterns into our homes. •

SO14 GREGORY H. Herman

It seems as if Greg Ehrman was destined to be an architect. Growing up in New Hampshire, he was always outside exploring and creating things. “It felt natural to be building things, assembling things, and making places. There was always a sense of encouragement and adventure in my childhood,” he says. “I can’t remember the moment I thought that I was going to be an architect, but it was just a natural transition.”

Ehrman’s work is undoubtedly rooted in a sense of place, and the New England vernacular is in his DNA. Living and practicing on the architecturally rich Martha’s Vineyard has allowed him to work on a diverse roster of projects, from historic renovations to modern beach homes. So while the family that lives in a house ultimately dictates the design, there is always a keen sense of place reflected in Ehrman’s projects.

After graduating from Northeastern University’s School of Architecture, Ehrman joined Hutker Architects, where he enjoys the creative energy of the collaborative process.

Ehrman didn’t have to look far for inspiration in designing his “5 Under 40” rug.  He had been working on the designs for an organic dairy farm in Chilmark for four years, and several images from that project were pinned above his desk. In one photo, the growth rings in a stack of wood are juxtaposed with the circular cuts of a saw blade. The image, suggesting the synergy between nature and the craft of building, was a fitting representation of Ehrman’s architectural work.

It may seem like a stretch to go from being a young boy building forts in the woods to having projects showcased in national design magazines, but Ehrman makes it all look perfectly natural. •

SO14 Jill Goldberg

It’s been a big year for interior designer Jill Goldberg. In addition to being honored with the “5 Under 40” award, she was named one of the “10 New Traditionals for 2014” by Traditional Home magazine. Goldberg is also a member of the Interior Design Committee for the Young Collector’s Night at New York City’s 2015 Winter Antiques Show. Somehow she finds time to run her thriving Hudson Interior Designs business, as well as ­Hudson, her popular home boutique in Boston’s South End.

Goldberg is modest about the accolades, crediting all the years of hard work she has put in. “It takes a long time for a project to come to completion and get photographed,” she says. “People are finally able to see the range of work and the scale of projects that I have done.” The awards have also lent credibility with clients, who are happy to give Goldberg the freedom to create interesting, layered, and comfortable homes that reflect both their desires and her vision for the space.

Although she attended design school, it is lessons learned in the field that Goldberg most appreciates. She began her career working with friend and mentor Daniel Reynolds, absorbing the ins and outs of working with clients and vendors. This zest for knowledge continues even as she becomes more seasoned. “I learn something every day, and I’m not shy when working with professionals—the painter, plumber, or electrician. Teach me why something is this way or that way and I feel a bit smarter at the end of the day,” says. She also learns by studying design masters, getting inspiration from their approach to design and the way they mix colors and materials and play with scale.

Considering what a whirlwind 2014 has been for Goldberg, we are excited to see what the future holds for this dynamo. She hints at the possibility of a fabric and wallpaper line. Whatever comes next, we have no doubt the rave reviews will continue. •

SO14 J. Brandon Jones

J. Brandon Jones was working on the construction side of the landscape business, thinking he was on his chosen career path, when a fortuitous relationship with the renowned landscape architect and professor Grant Reid opened his eyes to the creative process of landscape design. It was then that he realized he could weave his creative interests with his construction background to work in landscape architecture.

Working at Glen Gate for the past eleven years has been instrumental to the evolution of Jones’s work. The philosophy at the Greenwich, Connecticut, company is to bring people in
and give them room to grow.
“The emphasis is on creating great design, not on the bottom line,” Jones says. “So we are always putting out the best work we can. This philosophy has naturally led to business growth and to more-interesting and larger-scope projects. Our clients are often leaders in their fields, and they expect us to be the best in ours.” The result is a collaboration between landscape architect and client that pushes the boundaries and strives for excellence.

Jones’s quest for the best has not gone unnoticed. In addition to being a “5 Under 40” winner, he was the recipient of the prestigious International Designer of the Year award from the Association of Professional Landscape Designers in 2012.

While Jones’s landscape designs may be complex, the subject matter for the rug he created for the “5 Under 40” auction is simple. It is his interpretation of the bark of a birch tree. The tree is one that has true appeal to Jones because it brings beauty to the landscape 365 days a year. •

SO14 Alec Tesa

Architect Alec Tesa grew up in a family of serial renovators. In fact, he lived in five different houses as a child. His family was always on the hunt for houses to buy and redo simply for the joy of the process and the creative release. It was not unusual for his father to pick him up from sports practice and then head over to the latest construction site to inspect the work that had been done that day.

The family often vacationed in Maine, and the Shingle-style homes he saw along the coast greatly influenced Tesa’s work. A. Tesa Architecture, his Newport, Rhode Island, firm, is well known for its expert interpretation of that vernacular.

While Tesa’s houses are deeply rooted in tradition, they are also designed with modern living in mind. The homes may look traditional on the outside, but the use of space, materials, and technology are well suited for the way people live today. The combination of craftsmanship and details gives him the satisfaction of knowing his homes will be enjoyed for generations to come.

The rug Tesa designed with the team at Landry & Arcari Oriental Rugs and Carpeting reflects this fine balance of modernity and classicism. At first glance, the rug is a conventional five-foot by seven-foot size, but on closer inspection, you discover that there’s an unusually shaped insert that can be lifted out, standing on its own as a contemporary piece of art. Either way it’s used, this rug will have staying power—just like an Alec Tesa–designed home. •



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