Five years ago, Kirsten Marchand (who designs retail environments for New Balance and has a blog all about design inspiration, Design Marchand) and her husband, Dave, were looking for a farm property to call home, but when their realtor showed them this property in Rocks Village, Massachusetts — a tiny historic village on Boston’s North Shore — they fell in love. The home is filled with history: The back is from the late 1700s, and the front addition is from the early 1800s. During its long history, it’s been everything from a tavern to a doctor’s office to a farm house. What clinched the deal were the Rufus Porter murals. Rufus Porter was an artist and inventor who painted hundreds of murals in New England between 1820 and 1845. His work in this home captivated Kirsten and Dave, who felt it would be perfect for their growing family; they now have twin toddlers. Kirsten met the challenge of designing a home filled with history by finding pieces as special as the house — objects with a patina, quality craftsmanship and character — while also making the space livable for the family. (And protecting those murals from twins armed with crayons!) Thanks, Kirsten and Dave! Photography by Malcolm Brown Photography (except where otherwise noted). — Amy Azzarito
Image above: Kids’ guest room/my office. I wanted to create a cozy guest room for our nephew when he visits us in the summer. This ended up being one of my favorite spaces in our house. The bed was a Craigslist find that I painted Benjamin Moore Polo Blue. Wallpaper from OhHoy, Fine Little Day. Trim paint is Benjamin Moore November Rain. Duvet made by my mom with fabric from ABC Home & Carpet. Lampshade is ReGo LLC. Voz Art bracelet.
Image above: We spend a lot of time in the kitchen and love the big hearth (we’ve since covered it with a safety gate for the twins). Trim paint Benjamin Moore Gray Mirage.
See more of Kirsten’s Massachusetts home (and those murals) after the jump . . .
Image above: I wanted to find a prominent place for my grandfather’s apron — this was from a supper club he was part of in Taiwan in the ’60s. The title of Hawg of the Month was awarded to the guy who ate the most and who was the sloppiest while doing it. The red cabinet (originally a Maine storefront) was one of the first pieces I bought after college. When it was delivered to my Hoboken, NJ, brownstone, I realized there was no way to get it upstairs. I had a carpenter take it apart and reassemble it with screws, which has come in handy as it has been moved five times since.
Image above: Living Room. We found the 1930s Heriz rug at the Madison Bouckville, NY Antique Show in 2010. I was so nervous for the whole five-hour drive home that it wouldn’t fit. Now I can’t imagine the room without it. Frequently, the Heriz is covered with a sea of Duplo blocks from the kids! The French chicken trunk from Vintageweave Interiors in LA and was my 30th birthday present from Dave. Vintage Chinese art from my grandfather. Chairs are Lee Industries. Pillow fabric is Elizabeth Eakins. Paint is Benjamin Moore Gray Wisp.
Image above: Kitchen cabinet paint is Gray Mirage. Tiger maple countertops were handmade by our home’s previous owner. I took a sewing class five years ago and made the valances with Brunschwig & Fils fabric. (I’ve since forgotten how to sew!) The chicken and rooster were in my grandmother’s kitchen.
Image above: Rufus Porter murals (1830s) in our front stairwell
Image above: The Rufus Porter murals in our bedroom are monochromatic grey green. The dealer I purchased the Armenian rug from told me it was either a rug created to celebrate a birth or to commemorate a funeral. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’s a birth rug!
Image above: Murals in our bedroom. The carpenter’s tool chest was my great-grandfather’s.
Image above: The Chinese red lacquer chairs are from my paternal grandmother.
Image above: Door hardware
Image above: Kids’ guest room/my office. The Chinese panda and tiger paintings were in my late father’s office. I dressed up plain Martha Stewart vertical file folders with fun accent paper. Acrylic console, CB2. My daughter’s wood and chalk laptop is next to mine.
Image above: My closet is long and skinny — 8 1/2’ wide but only 33” deep, so I use a combination of retail face-outs and cubbies for storage. To create custom book illustration cubbies for my closet, I used inexpensive bins from Ikea, an old copy of Blueberries for Sal and some Mod Podge. (The project instructions are here.) Those are custom New Balance 574s that I designed on newbalance.com. My twins’ initials are on the heels. Closet paint is Benjamin Moore Mountainview.
Image above: The twins’ nursery. The cribs are from Ikea. We painted them with Old Fashioned Milk Paint in Sea Green. Painting all the slats on both cribs turned out to be a major undertaking right before the twins were born. I designed the valances and ottoman skirt with Elizabeth Eakins fabric, and my mom’s friend sewed them for us. My mom made the changing-table bin wraps with some of my fabric samples — also from Elizabeth Eakins. The walls are grass cloth with Benjamin Moore Stormy Monday trim. The sign above the cribs is from a carnival in the ’50s.
Image above: In the twins’ room, we disguised a rather awkward chimney with an antique mantel and chalkboard paint. Shanna Murray illustrated decals are on the chalkboard; bear print is krisblues via Etsy; blackbird watercolor is atelier28 via Etsy; small reclaimed frames are Recycled Relics via Etsy. Leather loop dresser pulls are from Doug Mockett & Company. (Image by Kirsten Marchand)
Image above: Brainstorming in my office. I found the vintage director’s chair on Etsy.
Image above: Out in the yard this summer. Boat from Tweet Toys.
Image above: Everyone at the front of the house.
Image by Kirsten Marchand