We're so excited to have had the opportunity to work with the iconic local PBS program, This Old House. Brian Bechard, our Visual Merchandiser, and Erica Tubman, Communications Director, give us the inside scoop on what it was like to be featured on This Old House.
He says of the project, "We had worked with This Old House 10 years ago on a couple of different projects. When this house came along they thought of us because they knew we have mid-century modern pieces in our collection."
The house, in Brookline, features mid-century modern architecture and our goal was to have the interiors to reflect that style. Brian chose and arranged furniture for the living room, the loft, the dining area, the master bedroom, and the kid's bedroom.
Brian explains, "We had images of the house to work off of and we knew that we had to stick to mid-century modern. We kept that in mind when pulling furniture."
Perhaps the most important piece in choosing the furniture was the scale. He describes, "When you're setting up a room, you have to take scale into consideration. You have to figure out how much furniture you can fit appropriately without cluttering it up."
He states, "Mid-century modern tends to be a "˜less-is-more' approach, so we knew weren't going to go over the top with accessories, end tables, and ottomans."
Although the house was large, it had some unconventional spaces; the living room wasn't rectangular and there were a few obstacles like a protruding wall, a fireplace, and two different staircases. "There were some challenges to work around," Brian explains, "So a lot of the choices came from scale, and we ended up choosing mostly small-scale pieces."
In order to make sure everything would fit, they went to the house prior to installation to get a better feeling of the space and firm up what they could fit.
To see all the pieces used in this project, check out our This Old House Product Page.
When it came to the living room, Brian describes, "We kept the living room simple yet functional with a couple of spot tables that allow you to entertain and put down a book or a drink without taking up the space that an end table would."
He adds, "After seeing the space we wanted to play up the beautiful natural light in the room. The Nash has a floating leg and pairs well with that airy look. The Fayerweather chairs are low to the ground and small-scale so they don't cut off your line of sight. They also rotate so you can look from the living room to the kitchen easily. It connects the two spaces really nicely."
They chose leather on the Nash sofa because the room will be a family gathering space and leather has the durability to withstand a lot of use.
Besides the seating, they also chose the Design Console, which features natural wood and variegated grains. Erica says, "It looked beautiful facing the modern, modular fireplace."
"For the loft, we chose the Avon chairs which have a natural wood arm that complement the mid-century look and match the tones of the Nash. They're small so they didn't take up too much space but they're really comfortable for a reading nook," Brian says, "They pack a lot of artistic punch in a small space with the beautiful channeled leather and interesting arm."
He paired the Avon chairs with a yellow-toned rug and an open, Ã©tagÃ¨re bookcase.
For the dining room, Brian chose the Soul table, which has a glass top"”in keeping with the light, airy feel of the house. It also ensured the table didn't look heavy in a smaller space.
He explains, "A round table was important because the space is multi-functional; there's a backdoor to go outside and we wanted to be able to easily maneuver around it easily. A round table also makes for great conversation at dinner."
It was a perfect size for the family of 3, with enough seating for them a few guests. Finally, Erica says, "The round table and round Fayerweather swivels were a nice contrast to the angles of the house."
There were two bedrooms that they worked on: the master bedroom and the little girl's room. Erica describes, "The shape of the master bedroom maximized the amount of light coming in but it did present a bit of puzzle. Brian had to figure out what we could fit in the room."
"They had built-in closets with plenty of storage so he opted to keep things simple with the beautiful Astrid bed with attached floating nightstands. There was just enough storage to be utilitarian but they didn't need anymore."
Brian says, "We also gave them a chair to sit down when you wanted to and one cabinet to set things down without having to clutter the nightstand."
For the kid's room, he focused on timeless, classic styles at an introductory price point that would grow with the child. Rather than choosing furniture aimed for small children, he opted for adaptable pieces.
Brian says, "There was nothing in the house so we were able to work with a blank canvas. But starting from a blank canvas is sometimes the hardest place to start because you have to find inspiration."
They found color inspiration with the help of the This Old House team and focused on neutrals, blues, yellows, and terracotta tones.
Brian kept the color palette "neutral with a few pops of muted color." The sofas were a sugar cookie, caramel brown, and the fayerweather swivels had some rose and plum undertones.
Erica describes, "We used a lot of natural wood tones to pair with the few pops of color. The bed, sofa, and chairs all had walnut tones. The kitchen had a lot of gray so we played that up in the dining table and the bookshelves in the loft."
The project didn't come without some challenges. "The rooms were challenging," Brian explains, "The loft was a long rectangular space and there were space restrictions in the living room. But overall, the experience was fun and exciting. Everyone from the show that we interacted with was friendly and approachable."
Erica adds, "When you come across design challenges it pushes your creativity. We're really pleased with the final result. We had participated in the show a long time ago and it was so great to be a part of it again. The transformations really are amazing."
Brian says, "The day that we did the installation the camera guys were there. Whether or not we make the cut, it was still exciting to be shot."
The show featuring the final reveal with our furniture is airing on June 27th so mark your calendars! And to celebrate the launch of the show, we're hosting a free event at our Cambridge showroom with the famed Kevin O'Connor for a behind-the-scenes look at the project. We'll enjoy appetizers, cocktails, and then watch the premiere episode together.
To learn more about the house, check out the This Old House profile on the project.
Author: Julia Maiman
Julia is a writer, blogger, and believer in the smell of old books. She has been crafting stories since she could put pen to paper. She is also a lover of dogs, traveling, and Led Zeppelin.