Inside the sun-drenched showroom of Oliver Blumgart Designs in Hamilton, it’s easy to get lost in a fantasy land of haute décor. The shop, which opened in September, is filled with pieces that are both classic and modern, understated and sophisticated. Beautiful sheer curtains drape elegantly over windows; stacks of thick, linen-cotton pillows beg to adorn beds and sofas and chairs; beautiful tiles for indoor and outdoor spaces spark the imagination. The element that these pieces have in common? They all feature chic geometric patterns created by Oliver Blumgart of Beverly, and each of those patterns—from their size, to how they repeat, to their precise colors—are completely customizable.
How does Blumgart create such exacting designs?
“With a lot of espresso,” he jokes, as he walks around the showroom on a recent Saturday morning. Each of his designs begins as a watercolor painting, before being digitally transferred. Once the painting is digitally rendered, the patterns can be manipulated, allowing for variations in size, layout, repetition, and color, depending on what the customer wants.
“They’re not done from a computer. They’re done from paintings that will absolutely, geometrically align themselves and repeat,” he says. “The things we do are absolutely endless.”
The Welsh-born Blumgart had been something of a nomad, living in Scotland, London (where he attended St. Paul’s School), Switzerland, and New York, before coming to Massachusetts to attend Babson College. He always drew designs as a kid, for fun.
“Just doodling while I wasn’t listening in class,” he says.
But it was being stuck on hold, trying to get his Internet service restored during a Nor’easter in 2008, that got him doodling again.
“I was on hold with the utility company forever that night,” he says. In his boredom, he drew the North Star, the intricate pattern that would become his company logo. He started painting them later. When his sister, visiting from the United Kingdom, held his design up against a recessed light and declared that it would make a beautiful lampshade, the seed was planted and the idea for a business began to germinate.
The company, Oliver Blumgart Designs, launched in October 2012, and since, his work has extended beyond the North Star to include imaginative and whimsical designs like Gyroscope, Petal, Kaleidoscope, Vertigo, and Bermuda (“It’s called Bermuda because you just get lost in it,” Blumgart says of the triangular design). And the same design can look very different depending on the pattern size, color, and spacing.
“A few silly scribbles” have borne a variety of fabrics—chintz, cotton, linen, silk; some of which are hand-screen printed in Rhode Island and Florida, and others that are digitally printed—pillows, heirloom-quality furniture, and even totes that are made in Massachusetts with leather from Maine and zippers from Italy. Oliver Blumgart Designs also offers peel-and-stick wallpaper, lampshades, tiles, serving trays, napkin rings, and more. And, as with everything the company creates, all of it is customizable. The patterns can be small and compact, “or we can do it all the way up to the size of the Hood Blimp,” Blumgart says. For a New York client, he even created a wallpaper to match the unique color of marble in the bathroom.
Oliver Blumgart Designs has caught the eye of designers like Boston–based Annsley Interiors, which Blumgart says purchased his North Star wallpaper for use in the historic Roberts House Inn on Nantucket. Although he works on the commercial side often, his products are also available to individual consumers for the home décor market, and the showroom is open by appointment. He encourages customers to bring the colors they like or want to match and talk with him and his team about their ideas. (They can make custom fabrics relatively quickly.)
Oliver Blumgart Designs also offers a wide variety of off-the-rack items—from delicate, high-end silk sheers to heirloom-quality furniture—that are just as attractive and versatile as those that are custom made. All have the remarkable ability to either blend into the décor or become the focal point. The designs are understated, elegant, and effortless. But Blumgart is ever humble.
“It’s just nice to see it in use,” he says.
Photos by Eric Roth