When Nashville-based interior designer Lori Paranjape’s clients discovered her work on Instagram, they knew instantly that she was the right person to help reimagine the interiors of their Georgian-inspired home outside of Boston. What they didn't know at the beginning, is that Paranjape would end up being an even more significant part of their story: Her redesign was so good, he popped the question at the final reveal.
But to backtrack, a bit: It all began with a handsome, historic home. “Back in the day, the house was like the grand dame of its historic district in Brookline,” explains Paranjape. “She was quite the beauty.” Designed and built for philanthropist Sarah Bremer in the mid-1920s by famed Boston architectural firm Kilham, Hopkins, and Greeley, the Colonial Revival was definitely a jewel in the Fisher Hill neighborhood’s crown. Just a few years later, in 1930, Bremer again enlisted the firm to expand the already stately home by adding two additional stories.
Over the next 89 years, not much was done to the once majestic home. Then, in 2019, it was purchased by an ambitious developer with some big ideas. “Before my clients bought the house, the developer made some significant improvements and a major addition on the backside that included a family room, primary bedroom, and guest suite—nearly doubling the square footage,” says Paranjape. And, at almost 10,000-square-feet, the complete interiors of the four-story home were presented to the designer as a blank slate.
“While the exterior maintained its traditional façade, they wanted the inside completely reenergized,” she says of the young couple who, as it turns out, would be embarking on an exciting new chapter in their relationship. “I had no idea a proposal was in the works until a week before the reveal this January,” Paranjape divulges. “He pulled me aside to say he planned to propose [to his long-time girlfriend] on the evening that I finally let them back into the house.”
Delivering on the promise of maximum energy, Paranjape incorporated elements of her trademark style—a combination of rich textures, bold colors, and touches of whimsy—which exceeded her client’s expectations and, more than likely, secured an invitation to the wedding.
“Art became such a driving factor in the design of the house when they asked me to start a collection for them,” says Paranjape. The designer reached out to artists all over the world to meet the clients’ desire for works by artists of color and from a variety of cultures. Table: Aronson Woodworks. Stools: Theodore Alexander. Sheep sculptures: Tuline. Painting: Angela Simeone. Mixed media work: Palecek. Chandelier: Ochre Lighting.
“This space is my interpretation of my clients when they’re dressed to the nines. We have the casual spaces, but this is pure entertainment,” the designer says. Sofa and chairs:Kelly Wearstler. Tables: Baker. Rug: Mehari Rugs. Acrylic sculpture over the fireplace: Paul Rousso. Pink quartz sculpture: Simukai Collective. Framed graphic works: Scout Design Studio.
Full slabs of Calcutta marble cover the range hood, walls, and countertops, while a soft neutral paint from Sherwin Williams takes its inspiration from the veining. “I feel it would be really difficult to put a date on this kitchen—everything about it make it timeless," says the designer. Pendants: Urban Electric. Counter stools: McGuire.
“Our desire here was to create a pretty dramatic space with high visual impact," Paranjape says. "The brilliant blue mohair velvet on the Baker dining chairs is just so luxurious, and the enormous burl wood table is a nod to the home’s history.” Table:The CEH. Chandeliers: Apparatus Studio. Chair fabric and wallpaper: Schumacher. Artwork: Angela Simeone.
“We decided to take the Cowtan & Tout wallpaper all the way up to the ceiling, and the bed from Verellen is an absolute dream," Paranjape gushes. "This room is truly their sanctuary.” Lamps: Kelly Wearstler for Visual Comfort. Chairs: Lee Industries.
“The Gucci ‘Grotesque’ wallpaper—with its vintage feel—is the superstar of this space, and just a little wink at the fact that the house is really quite old without feeling like it," Paranjape explains. Sconces: Visual Comfort.
“This house has the most beautiful all-day light and this space, in particular, was just calling for a banquette," says the designer. "The family is young and relaxed, and this is where they spend a lot of time enjoying the view.” Table: The CEH. Chairs: Made Goods. Lighting: Ralph Lauren for Visual Comfort.
“If the formal living room is the couple all glammed up, then this room is them at their most relaxed," Paranjape says. "It touches the kitchen and breakfast rooms and is meant to be a calming retreat.” Seating: Verellen. Drapery: Custom. Sculpture: Jems Koko Bi.
“Just off the family hallway is what we call the ‘Homework Room,'" Paranjape says. "He has young children, so we definitely had them in mind when we were planning out the home. We designed this space so the kids can work independently or together—and there’s even an area for tutors.” Chairs: Bungalow Five. Wallpaper: Lindsay Cowles.
“We knew this small space just off the formal living was going to be his study," says Paranjape. "I had the idea to lacquer the whole thing in this sort-of Yves Klein cobalt blue from Fine Paints of Europe—thankfully he said yes! The result is completely stunning.”
“This is a space the family gathers to really have fun—there’s a pool table, shuffleboard and oversized games mounted on the walls,” the designer says. Sectional and Ottoman: Lee Industries. Chairs: Verellen. Album Artwork: Walter Lobyn Hamilton. Large flag Assemblage: Stephen Wilson.
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