“I mixed farmhouse and nautical traditions with a SoHo loft sensibility,” says interior designer Lisa K. Tharp, about her living room design that lives like art gallery by the sea. “I call it ‘Coastal Loft’.” Lisa first layered in architectural details, including custom cabinetry and a window seat to frame the view. Linen draperies reinforce 10′ ceilings, while silk roman shades soften the triple window. Slipcovered sofa and rattan chairs anchor the seating area. Reclaimed teak low table acts as foundation for old french chimney piece that Lisa discovered in an antique shop. Driftwood quatrefoil side tables host glazed and linen lamps. Lisa repurposed a vintage glass pie display as unique side table and gave Teri Malo’s “Poem for a Nauset Afternoon” oil painting pride of place over the sofa.
Lisa designed this kitchen as the central, sun-drenched gathering spot for the home. First, she added character to the envelope with simple materials, specifying v-groove board cladding on the gable ends and backsplash, beams on the vaulted ceiling, and reclaimed antique heart pine flooring. She designed the cabinetry to hide all appliances – including pair of SubZero refrigerator/freezers, Miele dishwashers and microwave – save the free-standing range, crowned with custom mantle-style hood. She used 2″ thick pale gray concrete to top the 10 foot island, and more antique heart pine on the perimeter counter. Lisa commissioned large scale linen & twine pendants to illuminate the island, and lit the glass upper cabinets like fine art with library sconces.
Lisa’s custom 9′ tall barn doors, complete with authentic galvanized track mounted near the ceiling, are a strong aesthetic statement that also provide ultimate functionality for this serene office retreat. The room can be opened up along its entire front perimeter, or closed off completely, sharing only daylight through the upper glass. Chunky Mexican table provides ample workspace, while sailboat, antique propeller and “Old Skiff” by Jim Holland complement Lisa’s nautical chart-papered wall.
Featured on the cover of Design New England magazine (Jan/Feb 2012), and in Fine Homebuilding magazine’s 2010 article “Celebrating Ingenuity”, Lisa K. Tharp designed a European Wetroom that feels like part luxurious powder room, part outdoor shower. She conceived a fully tiled open bathing room with wall-hung toilet, vanity and hand-held shower to maximize spaciousness in a minimal footprint, and specified interior clerestory windows high on the rear wall to borrow light from the adjacent stairwell while maintaining privacy.
Lisa selected an unexpected mix of materials – pitched cobblestone-inspired floor tile, wainscot of horizontal limestone plank reminiscent of weathered wood, upper walls tiled in classic white subway, floating carrera marble vanity, topped off with galvanized barn lights – to create a high functioning full bath that is both handicap accessible and perfect for rinsing off muddy boots, recycling bins, and the family pet.
Lisa assigned multiple duties to this dining room, which also functions as library and project work space. She asked the architects for a series of tall, narrow windows on the southern exposure to flood the space with sunshine. Next, Lisa had ceiling beams installed to add visual texture, and designed the long x-brace pine table as the rustic workhorse of the room — equally comfortable hosting fine dining, piles of books or messy art projects. Slipcovered chairs, cane settee, and a burlap-wrapped bench gather around like fun personalities at the party. Zinc-washed lanterns hung with manila rope pay homage to rustic carriage houses found nearby. Concrete stools support an antique weathervane, while bright orange Windsor chairs provide a whimsical twist on New England tradition.
Lisa uses a blend of “rough luxe” elements in this entry, carrying the exterior bluestone walkway right into the house as a stone “runner” that visually connects front door to french doors at the back of the home. She painted the outer trim of the front door the same Amherst Gray as the door itself, to up the “punch” of the entry in an otherwise all-white exterior palette. Historic reproduction lantern with seeded glass stands guard over simple boxwood planter and European enamel address plate.
Inside, a Murano hand-blown glass chandelier found in a New Orleans antique store hangs in jeweled contrast to the rustic waxed pine storage bench. The mirror is crafted from old tin tiles.
Lisa repurposed an antique worktable as the master bath vanity, juxtaposing age-worn pine with the crisp smoothness of white lab-style sinks and polished nickel gooseneck faucets.
Lisa used horizontal plank wainscot as backdrop to a cast iron bateau tub, and designed custom “sail” shades at the windows, complete with pulley hardware and rope. Limestone colored tiles, laid in an offset pattern, remind bare feet of a sandy beach. Antique pine mirror and rustic stool add warmth, while apothecary accessories provide the finishing touch.
Lisa’s floor plan concept for this bedroom includes a bed alcove, which frees up space for daytime use of the square footage. She then specified interior operable windows to enable summer cross-breezes throughout the bedroom level. Traditional five panel doors, painted white floors and furnishings lend a casual cottage mood to sun-filled spaces.
As a painter, Lisa often infuses her interior design work with a fine arts aesthetic. Here, an attic space is reimagined as artist’s loft, complete with reclaimed teak counter and vintage industrial accents. “Grand Battement”, an original painting by Lisa, is in the background.
In this breakfast nook, Lisa turned a mariner-style basket upside down as a textural pendant lamp over the antique Spanish warming table, which used to hold smoldering embers in its lower cast iron bowl at diners’ feet. She mixes in a delicate Swedish dining chair with custom window seat and pillows to keep things cozy.
PROJECTS IN PROGRESS
Master Bedroom Retreat
The parents of a large, active family asked Lisa K. Tharp to design a serene master sanctuary for them. Taking cues from upscale hotel suites and the client’s love of botanicals and coastal colors, Lisa weaves layers of beautiful fabrics on custom pieces, including headboard of her own design, bench and window treatments. Oversize lamps and bedside tables cater to late night reading and breakfast in bed.
Modern Luxe living room
living room – window seat view – design board by lisa kauffman tharp. © 2012.
Client asked Lisa K. Tharp to update this narrow living room (above left) to entertain a crowd, while providing comfortable television viewing for the family. Lisa envisioned a cosmopolitan environment decorated with sumptuous velvet textures and jewel tone accents. First, she designed a curved window seat (inspiration photos above right) as a grace note that reinforces the far bow wall. She reassigned the (non-working) fireplace mantle to another part of the home, freeing up precious space for sufficient seating. The main walls were specialty painted with a pale silver strie effect, while the window seat wall was bronzed to reflect light from the new Hollywood Regency sconce.
living room – key furniture – design board by lisa k. tharp. © 2012.
Lisa selected investment furniture pieces for their sophisticated, sculptural qualities as complements to the architecture. The custom sectional was covered in grey mohair velvet while a television-concealing cabinet was commissioned in zebrawood.
living room – elevation sketch by lisa k. tharp. © 2012.
living room – accents – design board by lisa k. tharp. © 2012.
Inspired by Italian photographer Massimo Vitale, Lisa enlarged a LandSat7 satellite image as oversize art, calling it “Earth Jewel”. (Kudos to the brave client, a savvy art collector, who took a leap of faith on this one.) The photograph’s gem-like colors establish the room’s palette of sparkling accessories, including shimmery velvet pillows, glass and quartz specimens. A curvy low chair and white lacquer cocktail table add modern style, while the Moroccan stool will serve as beverage perch at the window seat.
Vintage Modern library
“before” photo of library
perspective sketch by lisa k. tharp. © 2012.
Lisa created architectural symmetry around the library fireplace by installing a tall window that mirrors french doors on other side. New custom cabinetry (opposite wall, not seen in sketch) provides open display opportunities and hidden storage. Metallic leaf treatments on walls and ceiling now highlight beautiful curved details, while chalky white paint freshens historic molding. Fireplace tile will be replaced with grey slab, complemented by palette of warm and cool hues.
Soft custom furnishings will gather around the library fireplace, amid original art and mid-century modern accents.
Like a secret garden discovered, this English-style conservatory, overgrown and reassigned as a storage space, will soon blossom once more.
Inspired by retailer Dean & Deluca’s original SoHo location, Lisa designed a fresh environment that promotes lounging under sun and stars, with a potting area – anchored by a massive work bench – for cultivating one’s green thumb.
elevation sketch for brick wall (painted white) with potting bench, stainless floating shelf, driftwood mirror and task lamps by lisa k. tharp. © 2012.
Lisa mixes white painted brick, reclaimed teak, and stainless steel with soft white upholstery on antique “stick wicker” furniture and fresh green accents in this streamlined nod to nature. A round chalkboard coffee table keeps things casual. Zinc pedestal fountain adds the soothing element of water to the sound scape.
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photo credits: eric roth photography - design new england magazine - fine homebuilding magazine - jerome eno photography - lisa kauffman tharp