We Check in With Boston's Design Stars of 2021

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Through the challenges of the past year, the creative forces behind the rooms we love have grown even stronger. We’re seeing innovative uses of spaces, a keener understanding of room function and flow, and an undaunted flair for color and imagination. In short, the past year has given us a stronger appreciation for our homes and the role they play in our everyday lives.

What you’ll see below are the designers in the Boston area who not only bring modern elegance into the homes of their clients, but also share their brilliance with all of New England—and the world—via their social media platforms. Their daily doses of beauty help keep us smiling through this unsettling period and make us look forward to the days when we can share our homes with loved ones and friends again.

Here’s to Boston’s visionaries and design stars, Class of 2021.


Ana Donohue PORTRAIT COURTESY OF ANA DONOHUE

Ana Donohue

anadonohueinteriors.com

@anadonohueinteriors

My design aesthetic is… truly transitional with an edge—I love mixing and creating homes with unexpected and unique details that infuse contemporary and traditional design.

I like my clients to know… my job is not to design what they think they want, but to design what they didn’t know they could have.

I love living and working in Boston because… of the unbelievable design community—many of whom I’m lucky enough to call good friends. To have a group of talented, fun and supportive friends who share a similar passion is a huge impact daily.

One of my favorite maxims about interior design is… don’t create a design so precious no one wants to live there.

My latest venture is… I recently opened a small boutique shop in Melrose on Main Street. It’s a true extension of my design aesthetic and interior design business. I love bringing quirky, fun and gorgeous finds to a retail space.


Rachel Reider PORTRAIT COURTESY OF RACHEL REIDER

Rachel Reider

rachelreider.com

@rrinteriors

My design aesthetic is… fresh, sophisticated, innovative designs with a soft modern sensibility. My deft use of color and interesting layers allows us to create comfortable, inviting spaces that are unique to each client.

Living in Boston inspires my work by… blending the rich architectural heritage of New England with more contemporary interiors suited to today’s lifestyles.

My mantra for great home design is… a truly successful interior is both aesthetically beautiful while also answering your lifestyle needs.

My favorite room to design is… powder rooms. Clients tend to be willing to take greater risks here, so we can really push the design envelope. Powder rooms are a great opportunity to create an unexpected surprise, be it with a bold wallpaper, statement lighting, tile or all of the above!

John Bradfield PORTRAIT COURTESY OF JOHN BRADFIELD

John Bradfield

bradfieldid.com

@bradfieldinteriordesign

My style mindset is modern, informed by all forms of art, with a focus toward refined forms and textures.

When it comes to working with clients, it’s important to create a space that embodies their personalities; [that’s why] it’s essential that I really get to know my clients and develop genuine relationships with them.

My design aesthetic mirrors Boston by striking a sophisticated balance between the new and old. It’s a stimulating challenge to reenvision the past without losing the authenticity it provides, especially when it comes to architecture and interiors.

I love the comeback of wallpaper—it automatically changes the look and feel of a space, more than a paint color could ever do.

My secret design weapon is… I’m an interior architect. I’m not afraid to reconfigure architectural components. I genuinely enjoy working with floor plans, and I have an eye for making clever changes that can improve the flow of a space or transform it entirely.


Tiffany LeBlanc PORTRAIT COURTESY OF TIFFANY LEBLANC

Tiffany LeBlanc

leblancdesign.com

@leblancdesign

I’m a native Bostonian, but also… grew up in Northern California and Italy.

I would describe myself as… a true transitional designer, but I have a love affair with modern and traditional—I like both, and it depends on what the space needs.

When working with clients, my goal… is to come up with the most refined and distilled design in the most efficient way while also honoring the creative process. Clear communication is essential.

In design school, I wanted… very clear guidelines in black and white, but I was taught to see in gray.

My favorite quote about beauty is… by Da Vinci—‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.’

Some home innovations I love are… statement lighting, more approachable sophistication to suburban homes and the architectural nature of well-designed furniture.

Kristen Rivoli PORTRAIT BY CARMEL BRANTLEY

Kristen Rivoli

kristenrivoli.com

@kristenrivoli_interiordesign

My designs evoke… a feeling of comfort, casual elegance and livable rooms, especially for my clients with families. Each design I create is unique to my client.

When it comes to working with clients, I like to… know how they envision using each room and what’s important to them for their daily lives. [I learn] how they live, what the kids do outside of school—sports or music, for example—and do they travel and have amazing [art] collections from places they’ve been.

The best design advice I’ve ever received is… to listen and always keep learning—there’s always room for growth.

One overlooked element of design might be… smart-home technology, [which has] definitely gotten better since it was first introduced; it’s a must for any new construction or renovation project.

My clients will say… I deliver on creating the home they’re envisioning—and then some. My style is listening to my clients and drawing from them the essence of who they are and what their lifestyle is all about.


Kathleen Hay PORTRAIT COURTESY OF KATHLEEN HAY

Kathleen Hay

kathleenhaydesigns.com

@kathleenhaydesigns

I’m considered a… Nantucket ‘washashore,’ having spent more than 40 summers and 35 years on a year-round basis on the island.

The rooms I design are marked by… traditional and modern—transitional spaces that exude a quiet calm and sense of comfort. I like to incorporate texture as a way to bring interest to a space.

My work is inspired by… Nantucket’s natural setting and clear quality of light on the island. I favor clean and simple interiors that invite the outside in. I always want the spaces I design to allow a relaxed lifestyle, while maintaining a sense of sophistication.

My job as a designer is to… create spaces that tell the stories of my clients through lives well lived.

My favorite quote about design is… by Charlotte Moss—‘What we remember most about rooms we like is the atmosphere.’

My secret philosophy for work and life is… I don’t take myself too seriously. [For work], the process should be enjoyable and bring pleasure.

Jeanne Racioppi PORTRAIT COURTESY OF JEANNE RACIOPPI

Jeanne Racioppi

jeanneracioppidesigns.com

@jeanneracioppidesigns

My design aesthetic is… timeless—I may embrace elements of a trend but will never let it define me.

One of the things I love most about working in Boston is… we have some of the finest professionals and craftsmen in the industry. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to work with the crew of craftsmen and artisans that I’ve assembled through the years.

Good design is… not about you; it’s about your client. You need to take their ideas and blend them with your knowledge and expertise to create something that brings [a room] to life. You can never forget that this is their space—a reflection of them.

My favorite quote about design is… by Robert A.M. Stern—‘The dialogue between client and architect is about as intimate as any conversation you can have, because when you’re talking about building a house, you’re talking about dreams.’

My favorite room to design is… the bedroom. If you can make a client feel comfortable and at peace in that one room, you’ve achieved something.



Photography by: Kristen Rivoli portrait by Carmel Brantley; All other portraits courtesy of designers;