Top Interior Designers
Justine Sterling Design
About Justine Sterling Design
Justine Sterling has a degree from Cape Technikon School of Art and Design in Cape Town, South Africa. After beginning her career in South Africa, she relocated to Boston in 1999. In Boston, she first worked for Elkus Manfredi Architects as a senior designer, before opening her own design firm. Through Justine Sterling Design, Justine does projects as varied as small residential designs, one-room designs, and whole-house remodels. Her work has been featured in HGTV, Interior Design, Design New England, and The Boston Globe.
Justine Sterling Design renovated a split-level house in Needham. The contemporary update shines most brightly in the airy kitchen. The neutral, patterned upper cabinets in a cool melamine complement to the rift cut oak, espresso-stained lowers, and island. Both the island and counters are dressed with Caesarstone countertops. The kitchen opens to a dining area with a sculptural wood table that comfortably seats six. In the adjoined living room, the homeowners gather around a fireplace with a broad, stone hearth, and a minimal steel mantel. Design New England covered the work Sterling did on her own home in the Boston suburb of Melrose. The New England colonial is a melange of natural and reused materials. Hardwood floors rose to the surface when Sterling and her husband, a graphic designer, took up outdated terra cotta tile. The dining room features a wood-frame chair wrapped in recycled seatbelts, a cowhide stool, and a long, wood bench. A broad dining room table anchors the disparate seating. Throughout the home, photographs of fauna and landmarks from Sterling’s native South Africa recall her life in Capetown.
Oh I Design
About Oh I Design
Jessica Klein, an Oklahoma City native, studied Interior Design at Oklahoma State University. Domino, PopSugar, The Boston Globe, House Beautiful and Better Homes & Gardens have featured her firm, Oh I Design. Klein’s more than 10k Instagram followers and visitors to her blog — also called Oh I Design — follow the home stylist for design inspiration. An Oklahoma City native, Klein honed her skills and built an audience over a few years spent in San Diego before she and her husband — a landscape architect — relocated to Boston.
Klein dug into a first-time homeowners’ art collection to reinvigorate their three-bedroom home in Boston. House Beautiful examined the project, which brought splashes of blue in varying shades to a mid-century spread. The living room’s navy walls play host to colorful paintings, a bright rug, and seating in leather and velour. The bedroom is a tranquil oasis, with a simple, four poster bed with an upholstered headboard. White bathroom tile was an opportunity. The tiles and glass shelves recede into intricately patterned, blue wallpaper. The kitchen, thankfully, was not spared its share of cerulean touches. The skyblue island has seating for two at leather, mid-century modern stools. Open shelving adds storage without visually closing the space. A Wellesley project captured in The Boston Globe reworked a family’s existing layout and furniture. A traditional and sizeable wood dining table and hutch look vibrant and warm against new, Eames-style dining chairs. The front room, with its plentiful natural light, got a dedicated homework space. Gray walls bring to life the crisp white trim and brick fireplace surround.
Elms Interior Design
About Elms Interior Design
Established in 2005, Elms Interior Design is a small practice with a big profile. Design New England, New England Home, Interiors, Renovation Style, and Boston Globe Magazine have all covered the South End firm’s high-end interior designs for residential and commercial clients. Dee Elms is the Boston College graduate behind the company, which handles design budgets reaching seven figures. A multidisciplinary firm, the Elms Interior Design team of designers and project managers partners with engineers, craftspeople, and architects to optimize interiors beyond the decor.
Interiors Magazine noted the Elms Interior Design transformation of a 2,400-square-foot apartment near Beacon Hill. The unit in an early 20th-century townhouse had lost much of its original charm in a contemporary update. The firm’s redesign brought back the unit’s character, and then some. Extending the original architectural panels brought the classical feature to the foreground. A dramatic palette of grays and blacks is welcoming, paired with the living room’s custom velvet sofa and an angora shag rug. The high-gloss trim and steel fireplace hearth are anachronisms, but their gleam in the sunlight lends the room a cheeky glow that just works. In the kitchen, Elms Interior Design resized the marble, waterfall-edge island to accommodate a breakfast banquette and table. The island is still a centerpiece under two, brass dome pendants. Elsewhere in the home, handpainted wallpaper and indoor-outdoor upholstery make for a refined, luxurious space that can stand up to a young family. The firm also revived a two-bedroom condominium in Back Bay. A plain wall became a feature with the addition of a travertine-wrapped, floor-to-ceiling hearth. They enlisted Herrick & White Architectural Woodworkers of Rhode Island to craft a coffered ceiling for the home.
Elza B. Design
About Elza B. Design
Barbara Elza Hirsch is the founder and principal behind the Concord interior design practice Elza B. Design. The French-American studied at Ecole Supérieure des Arts Graphiques and Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris, France, obtaining degrees in fashion design, illustration, and comparative literature. Since she established Elza B. Design in 2007, the firm’s work has appeared in The Boston Globe, Rooms magazine, New Old House, Boston Magazine, and New England Home. They have also won the Grand Prize for Overall Excellence in Design and the small bath category Excellence in Design honor from the Designer Shine Awards. Hirsch is a member of the International Furnishings and Design Association and the American Society of Interior Designers. Elza also designed her first furniture line for Dowel Furniture this year.
“I started working as a free-lance interior designer when I moved to Boston with my family. I had a baby at home and needed to reinvent myself after years working in marketing and the book industry. I quickly realized I had found my niche and incorporated my firm in 2007. My background is in Fashion and Graphic Design and the training I received in Paris lent itself well for a lateral switch to Interiors. A strong sense of style, discipline, an understanding of how to build a collection, the ability to think in 3D and draw by hand, a trained eye for color and scale are some qualities that transferred over well.”
– Barbara Hirsch
After 20 years in their Cambridge home, a family enlisted Elza B. Design to reconfigure their traditional first floor. The 1890s layout worked against the family’s lifestyle, but with deep community ties, a move was out of the question. Working with Morse Construction, Hirsch changed up the 815-square-foot story so the homeowners could enjoy the space without giving up its historic charms. Replacing a load-bearing wall with a beam opened up the living room and readied the space for new maple floors. Transitional furniture pieces in soft neutrals and greens further bridge the home’s past with the family’s present. A designer of whole homes and smaller spaces, Elza B. Design has also redesigned a master bath in a 19th-century farmhouse. The room got an elegant and unpretentious makeover. The project was featured in New Old House magazine.
“I create organic, streamlined, yet welcoming interiors that reflect my clients’ personality. My style could be described as a blend of eclecticism with alternation between transitional and modern sensibilities. Inspiration is everywhere! I am profoundly inspired by nature and art in particular, which awaken my creative impulses and love of color. Color is a strong connector in my interiors and I never work without a CAD drawing. Designing a space is like fitting pieces of a puzzle together: a keen sense of observation, keeping an eye on the big picture at all times, and being an excellent project manager and communicator are key.”
– Barbara Hirsch
Catherine & McClure Interiors
About Catherine & McClure Interiors
Boston Magazine, The Boston Globe, Rooms magazine, New England Home, Design Magazine, and Luxury Home Quarterly. Those are a few of the distinguished publications that have asked Wellesley interior design firm Catherine & McClure Interiors to contribute their thoughts on home styling. The business, which was nominated for the New England Design Hall of Fame in 2015, is a partnership between mother and daughter — and second- and third-generation designers — Catherine Skaletsky and Danielle McClure. Skaletsy’s travels around the globe inform her cosmopolitan aesthetics. She founded the firm in Brookline in the early 2000s. Danielle left a career in social work and joined the firm in 2011.
The Catherine & McClure Interiors redesign of a brownstone in Back Bay preserves and highlights the original architecture. In the master suite, cream-colored wall and carpeting make the wood, coffered ceiling the focal point. A butter yellow loveseat and ottoman punch up a sitting area shaped by two traditional, wood-frame scroll chairs. The color is even warmer bathed in the sunlight that glows through floor-to-ceiling sheers. The palette in the kitchen plays off of the natural light pouring through a tall window. A mosaic tiled backsplash extends up behind a contemporary glass and metal range hood set between cream, shaker-style cabinets. Catherine & McClure Interiors designed a comfortable place to enjoy the view for an oceanside property outside of Boston. Drawing on the West Coast style of indoor-outdoor living, the firm was careful to choose a small range of colors and pieces that would carry the design without distracting from the vista. The living areas are furnished with pieces of upholstery in solid shades of green and lilac, complemented by splashes of subdued patterns in similar tones. Two ivory chaise lounges point to a wall of windows facing the sea.
Rachel Reider Interiors
About Rachel Reider Interiors
Rachel Reider Interiors is one of the Northeast’s most prominent interior design practices. Boston Home, Elle Decor, Vogue, The New York Times, and Architectural Digest have published pieces on Reider and her work, lauding her skill for transforming boutique hotels and meticulously outfitting private residences. Rachel Reider, who studied at the New England School of Art and Design, established her eponymous interior design firm in 2006. Coastal Living magazine named Rachel Reider a design trendsetter. New England Home recognized Rachel Reider with a “Five under 40 Design Award,” and the firm landed on the annual Domino magazine list of the “Top 10 Designers” in the country.
A condominium in downtown Boston reached its full potential under the careful design ministrations of Rachel Reider Interiors. The home bridges new and old with contemporary bones and a view of the historic Boston Common. Reider brought warmth to the space with dark, herringbone floors, shagreen storage pieces, textured wall treatments, and velvet upholstery. The children’s rooms are as sophisticated as the rest of the space, accented with youthful colors and graphic wallpaper that will stand the test of time. In Chestnut Hill, Rachel Reider Interiors makes a blend of wood, fabrics, and metallic finishes look effortless. For a family of four, the firm opted for untraditional furniture pieces in a traditional palette and a combination of styles to balance modern living with traditional living. Generous, curved chairs and a circular sofa are more vibrant in the context of Mid-century fixtures and simple, wood trim.
Koo De Kir Architectural Interiors
About Koo De Kir Architectural Interiors
Founder and creative director of interior design firm Koo De Kir Architectural Interiors, Kristine Irving has designed projects all over the Northeast and abroad. With support from Project Manager Caitlin Berger, Irving leads a small team of designers on residential and commercial projects worthy of attention from Boston Magazine, Traditional Home, Travel + Leisure, The Boston Globe, Domino, The Wall Street Journal, and other esteemed outlets. The Food Network and NECN have tapped the firm for television packages featuring her design expertise.
Clients call on Koo De Kir to provide interior architecture and design services for multi-million-dollar renovations — often even before the home is purchased. In this featured project, Irving helped the clients decide on a floorplan for a four-floor townhouse in South End. Koo De Kir gave creative direction a revised layout that would serve the homeowners’ lifestyle. With plans laid, the firm went about selecting custom flooring, stained glass windows, wallpaper and all furniture and finishes for the single-family home. The kitchen is a vision, with a patterned tile floor, a combination of flat-faced and shaker cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, and stone countertops and backsplash. The design also included additional windows to flood the wood floors with natural light.
Koo De Kir brought their talents to another townhouse, this time in Beacon Hill. The firm started by removing details layered onto the original architecture by the previous owners. They then outfitted the space with bold colors, sumptuous upholstery, and kid-friendly furniture in anticipation of the clients expanding their family. The balance of contemporary and vintage accents will grow with the homeowners.
Heather Wells Inc.
About Heather Wells Inc.
Before Heather Wells partnered with Bruce Fox to practice as Wells & Fox, she operated a sole proprietorship. In 2015, she again struck out on her own to design residential interiors noticed by Architectural Digest, New England Home, Luxe Interiors + Design, Boston Home, and Traditional Home. Wells, who studied at Smith College and the Harvard Graduate School of Design, is a licensed architect and a New England Home Design Hall of Fame inductee. The designer also serves as an executive cabinet member of the Leaders of Design Council and an overseer for The Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, and she is also a partner of the Via Art Fund.
A pair of well-traveled clients tapped Heather Wells Inc. for the redesign of their Beacon Hill pied-a-terre. Wells gave the home a formal update, with classic window treatments and glamorous finishings that play off of the house’s traditional trims and layout. A South End townhouse project called for something a bit different. Wells styled the bachelor pad for an eclectic, urban lifestyle. The bottom floor is painted in masculine hues and punctuated by artful pieces of sculptural furniture. Upstairs, a wide open layout creates a flexible space for family visits and dinner parties worthy of city life. Somewhere on the spectrum between the Beacon Hill and South End renovations is the Heather Wells Inc. reimagining of a Back Bay townhouse for suburban transplants. The historic brownstone was recently renovated before Wells came in to make the contemporary spaces more intimate and fit for a family. The firm also arranged the client’s art collection among the home’s magnificent high columns and mahogany wall panels.
Carter & Company
About Carter & Company
Michael Carter, a New England Design Hall of Fame inductee, founded Carter & Company in 1996. Carter’s first major project was a seven-story townhouse in Back Bay. He has since established a reputation for prowess in both traditional and trendsetting interior design. The firm has won Bulfinch Awards from the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art New England for residential projects, as well as coverage in national and regional presses. In addition to cover features in New England Home and Traditional Home, Carter & Company designs have drawn the attention of ID Boston and InStyle magazines, and a Carter & Company home also graces the cover of the design book Spectacular Homes of New England.
The owners of a Georgian Colonial — surrounded by greenery and resting at the end of a cobblestone drive — discovered Carter & Company through the design firm’s relationship with TV’s This Old House. After years of renovations, the clients were ready to properly dress their house with the pieces they had been collecting. The architects of Design Associates, Inc. collaborated with Carter & Company to change the 1920s layout, expanding the home with a family room addition large enough to host fundraising events, or for the family to just unwind. The palette is a collection of warm neutrals and carefully chosen textiles that help tie together furnishing in varied styles and finishes. Another client tasked Carter & Company with reimagining a luxury unit at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel & Residences on Boylston street. The firm added custom built-ins and a custom fireplace mantel from London. Finished in exotic wood veneers and layered in jeweltone rugs and upholstery, the apartment is now in luxurious balance with the building and its amenities.
Duffy Design Group
About Duffy Design Group
Following years of work with design firms in Miami and establishing his own practice in New York City, Dennis Duffy, IIDA and LEED Advanced Professional certified in Building Design and Construction (LEED AP BD+C), came to Boston, where he has led Duffy Design Group since 1999. The firm is highly decorated. Apart from a Gold PRISM Award for Best Interior Merchandising of a Model from the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) New England Chapter, Duffy Design Group has also earned recognition from the American Society of Interior Designers Dream Homes Awards, and multiple Best of Boston awards from Boston Magazine. Look for Duffy Design Group work and design advice in New England Home and Boston Common magazine.
“I was trained in science all the way through college and only discovered interior design a few years later and went back to school. What I love about this profession is the marriage of art and science. We use technology to realize the design concept of each project. I’m inspired daily by the things that I see around me – a metal grill panel, an unusual color, found in the natural environment, the texture of a building, and the work of my peers – to name a few. I catalogue all of this, and in the right context, call it up, to use in a project.” – Dennis Duffy
A couple from New York began discussions with Duffy Design Group before purchasing their Weston home. The homeowners gutted and renovated the 1980s kitchen and expanded the family room, putting a small garden room to better use. Stainless steel appliances and white cabinetry help bounce natural light around the L-shaped kitchen. A dining area framed in white, painted brick features a fireplace and built-in buffet. The unique, five-sided shape of the family room called for a custom sectional, which the firm upholstered in a durable flannel suede. The bones of the master bedroom are simple, but fine bedding, classical window treatments, and a plush chair and storage bench in deep blue make it a space in which anyone could find comfort. The master bath wears more on its sleeve, with a full wall of glass tile in deep, earthy tones.