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Publication Date: 2019-10-07

Behind the Design

Behind the Design: Lisa Tharp

Known for her use of curated artwork and vintage furnishings, Boston-based interior designer Lisa Tharp goes behind the design of two sophisticated interiors. Tharp creates intrigue in each soothing, neutral-toned space with edgy accents, including eclectic furnishings, abstract art, and bold patterns. We asked Tharp to share her inspiration behind the designs, her favorite accessories and accents, and how she created the interiors with her clients in mind. 

Michael J Lee Photography

Q: If you could describe the space in a few words, how would you describe it?

Casual elegance, rooms designed for actual living, and a place that prioritizes friends and family harmony over formality. This active family of four now enjoys a home that is at once gracious yet laid back, just like them.

Q: Can you describe your inspiration behind the mix-matched furniture patterns in the dining room?

A: Like a good party, inviting a mix of personalities makes dinner more interesting. The round table invites intimate family conversation yet also extends to seat 10 to 12 guests. Extra chairs of each type enables clients to mix and match, or create more uniformity, depending on the occasion. The settee carries a rich indigo damask pattern inspired by the opening credits of PBS’ Victoria television series. You never know from where inspiration will strike!

Q: What is your favorite design element in the dining room?

A: It was fun to bring back a timeless tradition like upholstered window cornices in a totally fresh way, with cut-out shapes and patterned fabric from Carleton V.

Michael J Lee Photography

Q: How did you select the window treatments?

A: Upholstered cornices are typically associated with very traditional design. Our design is a new take on this classic. The shaped cornices and panels sport a hand-blocked pattern of blues, ranging from palest aqua to indigo. Their casual elegance invites relaxation and lingering over a shared meal. 

Q: What is the inspiration behind the space's curated art collection?

A: The art is a blend of the clients' previous collection and new works curated by us with an eye to their tastes. The dining room portrait inspired the room’s entire palette. 

Michael J Lee Photography

Q: How is the fireplace used as an accent in the dining room?

A: Who doesn’t love dining by a roaring fire on New England’s coldest days? The traditional brick surround is paired with super comfortable upholstery while contemporary art adds a modern grace note above.

Michael J Lee Photography

Q: What was the inspiration behind the color palette in the living room?

A: The color palette began with one of the client’s favorite colors — a palest warm blue. Its misty-morning-sky quality carries through the grasscloth wallpaper, and is echoed in the hand-blown glass sculpture. Its stronger blue cousin is found in the velvet bands that skirt the draperies, adding subtle visual weight in the space. Deeper warm and cool blues and neutrals balance out the space. Dark accents on the doors and bookcases add contrast in this room.

Q: How is art used in this space?

A: In the living room, we juxtaposed clean lines of the modern abstract by Richard Roblin and the hand-blown glass sculpture with the softness of grasscloth wallpaper and plush custom furnishings.

Michael J Lee Photography

Q: How do the window treatments differ in this space?

A: In the living room, the style is streamlined, quieter and soft.

Q: What are your favorite furnishings and accessories in the living room?

A: I love the sophistication of pairing classic elements with the unexpected, such as  the flamestitch ottoman or the contemporary abstract artwork. I also love the long, comfortable sofa from our own Lisa Tharp Collection. Upholstered in a soft indoor/outdoor velvet by Jim Thompson, it is at once elegant and yet carefree for  kids that play with enthusiasm.


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