Designer Snapshot: Pass It Down

April 11, 2012

By Paula M. Bodah

The tables Christina Oliver chose for our March/April 2012 issue Perspectives section were all crafted by New England artisans. “One of the most rewarding things I do is help my clients create original interiors, reflecting their very personal approach to life,†says the Newton, Massachusetts–based designer. “To bring a distinctive viewpoint to a room I frequently commission local artisans, artists and craftspeople.â€

Sure, she adds, you can get on your computer and buy a roomful of furniture and accessories from Restoration Hardware or Crate & Barrel. “The problem is, your neighbor might have just bought the same thing. I believe, instead, in making connections between people and helping artists to find outlets for their work by pairing them with clients who are seeking heirloom-quality designs and craftsmanship.â€

Here are Christina’s reflections on some of her favorite New England artisans:

“Artists often arrive at their life’s work by building on a number of experiences, and Steve Holman is no different. He segued from building wooden boats on Cape Cod to working for a furniture maker in California to building post-and-beam houses in Vermont before launching into crafting fine custom furniture on his own. As Steve describes his approach, he’s all about design sense, precise workmanship, appropriate joinery and silky finishes. He creates both traditional and contemporary dining tables, chairs, cabinets, bedroom pieces and what he calls ‘whimsy and ephemera.’ â€

Photos courtesy of Steve Holman, Holman Studios

“Sheldon Perry, whose Steepleview Cabinetry is located in Tamworth, New Hampshire, is a master craftsman in the art of custom kitchen cabinetry. Finding early in life that he enjoyed the physical and intellectual balance of carpentry, he has been making cabinets for the finest homes throughout New England since 1978. He is equally talented at making vanities, libraries and entertainment centers. He crafted these cabinets and shelves for a condo I designed in Brookline, Massachusetts.â€

Sheldon Perry Steepleview Cabinetry. Photos by Lynne Damianos

“An innate love of color and pattern led the multi-talented Pauline Curtiss to create not just one design company, but two: Seraser Designs, where she makes hand-knotted wool rugs, and Patina Designs, where she focuses on interior painting, faux finishes and other decorative painting projects. She is passionate about using a variety of finishes and objects to beautify interior spaces. The copper-glazed walls she did for this bathroom in a Newton home I designed show off her expertise.â€

Pauline Curtiss decorative finish. Photo courtesy of Pauline Curtiss

For Christina, it’s not just about making beautiful interiors, but also about commissioning an heirloom to pass on to the next generation.

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