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Boston Magazine: “Split Personalities”

When she’s French provincial, he’s Japanese modern, and the house is very Brady Bunch, should a designer consult Sister Parish or Sigmund Freud?

Some excerpts:

The Back Bay couple knew they had serious differences, but felt they could work them out. Certainly they could find their own compromise between her love of chintz and his penchant for tweed. But after years of attempting to resolve things on their own, the only common ground they could find was muslin. Realizing they needed professional help, they went to a serene taupe-and-white office overlooking the Public Garden in search of a solution that would let them live together in peace. It was their last, best hope for reconciliation.


    At the first meeting, we ask both husband and wife to attend, because both their issues are important, and we need to know about them from the beginning,” says Lee Bierly, one half of the Back Bay interior design firm
Bierly-Drake. “Often couples will have different tastes,” he continues, pulling out a few photos by way of illustration.

    The case of the Marlborough Street couple was one for the textbooks: The husband preferred informal spaces while the wife fancied sophisticated design to showcase her extensive collection of antiques. “The challenge was how to take her fondness for subtle design and decoration and still make aspects of the home casual and homey for the husband,” says Bierly.

    The solution? Divide and conquer. Bierly designed the library with the husband’s tastes specifically in mind. “Aspects of this room are very warm, with the chestnut woods, his desk, and his prints,” Bierly says. The living room and master bedroom reflect more of the wife’s preferences. “The soft-color palette and textures are where her taste really comes into play. This is often the way we work a project, so that neither client feels ignored.”

. . .