I am very grateful for Boston Globe Magazine's recent feature of our work in their January Best of the New issue (written by Marni Katz., photography by Michael J. Lee). It gives me the opportunity to showcase how even small interior architectural improvements can "shape space" and dramatically enhance a room.
This contemporary living room enjoys treetop views of the Boston skyline, yet suffered from nondescript architectural details and average-height ceilings. The following BEFORE + AFTER images illustrate a few ways in which the interior envelope was enhanced.
1. Crown now extends out onto the ceiling, adding subtle elegance and perceived quality of construction.
2. High gloss ceiling finish effectively raises its perceived height and reflects light throughout the space.
3. Wallpaper backing adds drama to the bookcases.
4. Picture lights lend another layer of lighting for this family of readers while illuminating shelving objects like art.
5. Contrast color distinguishes the fireplace as a deserving focal point.
6. New pendant light adds a dash of fun. Its reflection in the mantle mirror draws the eye to perceive more space in the room.
7. Drapery rods hung all the way to the crown and wide of the windows maximize perceived height, light and views. Of course, great art makes the room, as exemplified by these Josef Albers works.
An ethereal painting by Charlie Bluett is echoed in soft shapes of the sofa's silk pillows. Sculpture is by Paul Stopforth.
While I am immersed in the world of architecture and design,
I find myself regularly looking to other realms for creative inspiration...
Nature, Art, Fashion.
A year ago this month, the fashion world lost an icon at the age of 66. Franca Sozzani helmed Vogue Italia for 28 years, during which time she elevated magazine editorial to high art. "This is a choice I made... Vogue was in Italian but I wanted to speak to everyone so I thought of creating images that were made to talk."
Sozzani encouraged her editorial teams to look beyond the obvious or commercial. "People want to dream," she says. "They want to take a journey... Fashion isn't really about clothes. It's about life." So she took her readers on aspirational, even fantastical adventures,
Sozzani saw her role as providing readers with "sensations, feelings. moods..."
And she had a lot to say. According to W Magazine, she "transformed the magazine from one simply about clothes into one that championed its photographers, regularly broke boundaries, and never shied away from important issues." For example, in 2010, she stirred up controversy with the magazine's cover story on the BP oil spill. "I didn't expect [the reaction to the BP feature] at all... there was so much buzz... I don't understand those that say that a magazine such as Vogue should not talk about these things," said Sozzani.
Her only child Francesco Carrazzini's tender documentary, Franca: Chaos and Creation, pulls back the curtain to reveal a woman passionately committed to her two loves: fashion and her son, at the expense of finding true love for herself.
I connected to this movie on many levels... the desire to elevate design to something higher, the delicate balance of career and parenting that all working women must strike, my respect for Italy's enduring legacy of design and craftsmanship, and the qualities of strong role models on my mother's Italian side of the family — from my own mom, to my aunts, to my brave great-grandmothers who immigrated to a new land.
Thank you, Francesco, for sharing your mom's inspiring biography. And thank you, Franca, for inspiring me to tell a story, to make people feel, to make them think.. ideals to strive for every day in our work as designers.
The last silk pillow. A sculptural work of art. Polished accessories.
The finishing touches...
Why do the images in top design magazines look so inviting and beautiful?
It is because every detail is in perfect harmony.
Like an artist fine-tuning the composition of a painting,
we balance color, texture, contrast, style and visual weight with finishing touches
in order to fully realize the design vision.
Our talented design team is hard at work,
ensuring that each piece at our Skyline project is perfectly positioned.
[From left: Alex MacMillan, Kelly Hiselman and Emily Lacouture.
Shelley Jain was expertly keeping things rolling back at the studio.]
A modern chair joins a Swedish antique-style daybed to invite lounging and reading.
Coffee table books on art, architecture and haute couture capture the imagination.
Silk pillows dress a comfortable tufted sofa near the marbleized wallpapered bookcases.
The curve of the calla lilies echo the lines of the custom-designed Skyline settee,
L I S A T H A R P C O L L E C T I O N.
In order to better serve our expanding project roster and growing design team, we are pleased to announce our new studio location in Boston. From the architectural gems on every corner to the Boston Public Garden, the Esplanade on the Charles River, and Newbury Street's stylish boutiques, the Back Bay offers endless inspiration for our creativity.
A special thanks to each and every one of our clients on this journey.
You are the WHY of what we do, inspiring us to reach higher in our creativity and our process,
as we strive to help you better enjoy life in your homes every day.
This move establishes a new foundation for our incredible team.
I am amazed by, and deeply appreciative of, all the talent, enthusiasm and skill
each of my colleagues brings to our work every day. When I started my little design firm of one,
I knew I loved the work itself. Now, I also have the gift of loving HOW the work gets done...
collaborating together to bring even better results to every project.
So thank you, my dear team mates, for all that you do.
Lastly, I am often asked if this move represents a shift in the "style" of our work. My answer is always the same. Rather than a "signature style", we employ a palette of common ingredients in every design... light, proportion, scale, a balance of color and texture... all with respect for architecture and setting. The fun is in channeling these elements to uniquely celebrate each client's own personal definition of living well. That is why no two projects will ever look alike. As we take on more work in town, the materials may vary from our country and coastal projects (which we still love to do!), but the end result will hopefully be the same: bespoke environments that are warm, inviting and memorable.
Master Bedroom Design Concept - City Suite project
I am pleased to announce the addition of two new Design Assistants to Team Lisa Tharp.
They each bring wonderful experience, skills, insights and infectious enthusiasm to their roles,
while expanding our firm’s capacity to bring a little more joy and beauty to the world.
A Master’s of Interior Architecture candidate at the NEW ENGLAND SCHOOL OF ART & DESIGN, Alex is recognized by many in the industry as a talented rep for several showrooms (TOTO USA, most recently, WEBSTER & COMPANY). Her eye for fabrics, finishes and cool new wallcoverings, along with her speedy AutoCAD skills, have helped us ramp up momentum on several projects, most notably the 5-floor gut renovation in Center City Philadelphia. Plus, her tales of study abroad and weekend adventures remind us of the joie de vivre + inspiration that she brings to her work every day.
With an education in architecture (BOSTON ARCHITECTURAL COLLEGE), and a passion for interior design, Emily has always been interested in how we experience space holistically. Her prior design work — at NOW Interior Design Studios and others, as well as within her own construction and remodeling endeavors — is a terrific complement to our interior architecture and design planning efforts. Lastly, she inspires us all as she deftly juggles motherhood, yoga instruction and au fait trend spotting in fine foods, art and travel.
Please join me in welcoming Alex and Emily.
They can be reached at the studio at 978.341.8121 or by email:
It is wonderful when a renovation can incorporate inspired details
from around our beautiful world — in this case, from Venice, Italy.
Our Delancey Place client shared a favorite image (above) of the mosaic floors
at St. Mark's Basilica with the project's design team.
A lovely collaboration began
between client, architects, ourselves and tile vendors,
with the goal of recreating this mosaic on the home's entry vestibule floor.
Seeing St. Mark's mosaics up close and in person this summer got me even more inspired!
The talented folks at Joanne Hudson and New Ravenna Mosaics have been working on samples
to get the colors, proportions, shapes and finishes just right.
We gathered recently at Joanne Hudson's Philly showroom to finalize selections,
with an eye to recreating the patina of age.
Even through the shiny protective layer of plastic, one can see beauty emerging in these design samples.
Soon, this mosaic will provide a warm, memorable welcome to our client's friends and family for years to come.
Grazie for my own memories, Venezia!
It is my pleasure to introduce two new hires at L I S A T H A R P D E S I G N.
We have the wonderful good fortune of expanding our team with individuals who share our vision of creating beautiful, nurturing spaces for our clients, and for consistently striving for excellence, authenticity and integrity.
Jamie Hansen, Design Assistant
A candidate for a Masters Degree in Interior Architecture + Design, Jamie quickly proved her value during her internship here at the firm. She jumped in with solid contributions all along the design process, from furniture layouts to final styling. She brings a wonderful blend of creativity, an instinctive eye, enthusiasm and discipline that we have come to rely on in a short period of time. Jamie's professionalism and maturity belie her years. Plus, she shows up every day with a smile on her face, and a "let's do this" spirit. In sum, Jamie rocks.
Shelley Jain, Bookkeeper/Office Assistant
With a background in banking and accounting, and an MBA in Finance + Marketing, Shelley brings invaluable expertise to her new position. She has quickly assumed responsibility for managing the many transactions of a busy design studio, and has already initiated several smart process improvements. We appreciate her kind, heartwarming attitude... not to mention her willingness to share her own special blend of spicy chai tea.
Our favorite Shelley-ism? "No problem."
Kelly Hiselman tests out the new settee at a recent install.
I also want to give special ackowledgement to Kelly, our VP of Joy. Kelly has been carrying a huge load on behalf of the firm. She has kept our many projects moving forward with speed, grace and calm in a way that our clients, industry partners and our own team deeply appreciate. She has been instrumental in guiding, training, and cheering on our new team members to ensure their success. She consistently rallies the team to make our clients' dreams come true. In many ways, Kelly is the heart of this firm. She sees the good in everyone and the possibility for a winning outcome in any challenge that comes our way. It is hard to imagine our firm thriving without Kelly.
Please join me in celebrating these terrific team members.
They can be reached as follows:
From the desk of