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Design Ideas
From Drab to Darling: How to Rework a Layout
Fresh color, vibrant pattern and big changes to a small layout give this Hingham Bungalow a breath of fresh air.
When a pair of young homeowners came to Beth Bourque of Beth Bourque Design Studio with a vision for their bungalow-style house in Hingham, Massachusetts, Beth knew they needed a force for change. With dark wood, covered windows and confusing entranceways, the goal was simple: lighten up an uninviting layout and create a more open... Keep Scrolling


When a pair of young homeowners came to Beth Bourque of Beth Bourque Design Studio with a vision for their bungalow-style house in Hingham, Massachusetts, Beth knew they needed a force for change. With dark wood, covered windows and confusing entranceways, the goal was simple: lighten up an uninviting layout and create a more open layout.

This navy-blue lacquered fireplace ties in perfectly with the patterned accent chair and wall art.
This navy-blue lacquered fireplace is a perfect example of how to tie the décor into the house itself. Use simple tricks like paint and photographs on the wall to achieve the same look.

Of course, a simple idea doesn’t always mean an easy project. “Multiple choices are overwhelming,” Beth says. “People come to me to give them one option—a refined vision board with samples all pulled together in one scheme.”

The Hingham bungalow-style home originally contained three separate French doors at the entrance with windows in between, creating confusion right off the bat. An undefined space, it provided a huge challenge when it came to furnishings. Beth simplified the design by salvaging the windows and two of the doors to create a more centralized and more open layout that naturally divided and balanced the room. “What they loved about Hingham was that it was a coastal community, and they really wanted a light, airy, open concept—good for the kids and entertaining,” Beth shares.

This blue patterned accent chair, shown here, and pops of color create a cohesive palette in this living room.
A pop of color is a great touch in any home. Use patterns to tie several colors into a cohesive palette.

When you’re beginning an interior design project, a Pinterest board can be a great tool, but it often leads to an overwhelming number of options that don’t necessarily work together. While trends come and go, a design project should last—through children, pets and passing decades. With this in mind, Beth took inspiration from a piece the couple already had in their possession. “The most important thing for me was utilizing the area rug that she had been given by her mother,” Beth says. “A very geometric Oriental rug, it provided a multicolored palette that we balanced with solids and textures throughout the space.”

Décor accessories make your home inviting, as seen here. A matching blanket folded over the side of a couch is an easy way to glam up the scene.
Style It. When you have guests over, use the accessories you have to make your home inviting. A matching blanket folded over the side of a couch is an easy way to glam up the scene.

Beth kept with a neutral palette that incorporated navy from the lacquer on the fireplace. She brought in a nautical theme to reflect the locale, with touches of coral throughout the space and easy-to-update décor such as maritime pictures on the walls. “The idea was that seasonally she could switch out the décor, from mustards to oranges and maroons in the winter,” Beth says. Flexible décor makes for easy seasonal transitions.

“Its easier to work with a designer than you think and much more cost effective than it used to be,” Beth says. “I think nowadays there is a designer available at every price point and resources available in web design that can find the designer who is right for you.”

When Beth started the project, the couple’s child had just turned a year old. It was key that nothing be too precious or breakable—the rooms needed to be habitable. To do this, Beth incorporated a hint of wear and tear into the design. “It has a distressed style that almost helps with their child,” she says. “The more they use the space, the better it ages.” She brought in that well-loved look through the altar table behind the couch. The design holds its own with the intricacy in patterns from the curtains over the windows to the Pindler and Pindler fabric over a custom chair—all tied together through Beth’s use of color.

In the end, the Hingham home is left with its best attributes: embracing the coastal and familial nature of the New England town, while moving into a modern design with a more open layout that can change and grow with the family.

A centralized layout offers the perfect arrangement for two distinct spaces while maintaining a consistently-themes room.
Central Space. A centralized layout offers the perfect arrangement for two distinct spaces while maintaining a consistently-themes room.

A Designer Dream: Getting A Designer Is One Solution, But Is It The Right One Or You?

“Its easier to work with a designer than you think and much more cost effective than it used to be,” Beth says. “I think nowadays there is a designer available at every price point and resources available in web design that can find the designer who is right for you.”

If you want to build your own look, keep in mind that, with the right resources, anyone can design a personalized home. Beth suggests you get as many samples as you can; then print everything out and put it all together in one place. Idea boards are key as the perfect way to see if all your ideas work together before you make a purchase. Carpet samples, fabric swatches and images of your furnishings—the resources are all within reach.

 

Looking for more rooms transformed by paint? Check out this post on how a bold indigo can work for a small space. Or this one all about finding the perfect sunny shade to cheer up your rooms.

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