Designer Snapshot: Seeing Red

August 14, 2013

By Paula M. Bodah 

The recent stretch of dry, sunny, perfect summer days (due to return any minute now) makes me long to spend the day in the garden. This summer, after years of terrible luck in my attempts at growing vegetables, I finally have a bumper crop of plump, shiny tomatoes. Heaped in a pretty basket or bowl, they make the perfect decorative accessory in the kitchen, don’t you think? After all, some wise person once said every room should have a touch of red. Here’s a look at how a few New England designers have used the cheerful hue in their work.

A touch of red is all this living room in suburban Boston needed. Designer Andra Birkerts used a soothing palette of soft neutrals, then added depth and excitement with quick hits of persimmon. See more of this home, featured in our November/December 2012 issue.

Photo by Robert Benson

For this Cape Cod barn, a traditional post-and-beam structure now used as an office, game room and entertaining space, Barbara Bahr Sheehan opted for bold color and pattern as a counterpoint to the gravity of the woodwork. Here the red takes on a terracotta tone. Paired with blue, it brings a dynamic quality to the room. In our May-June issue, Barbara showed us some of her favorite floral-inspired things for the home.

Photo by Brian Sheehan Photography

When it comes to red, sometimes a space calls for more than “a touch.” Liz Caan first showed me this powder room when we were working on a blog post together about her fondness for putting unlikely elements together. In this case, she used mid-price fixtures and accessories, then splurged on the dramatic Scalamandré wallpaper to add punch and impact. You can see more of Liz’s work on the feature pages in our upcoming September-October issue.

Photo by Eric Roth