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Local residents make big contributions to Boston Design Center

Anyone who is anyone in the world of home design is quite familiar with the Boston Design Center ( ). Interior designers, architects, and museum curators know if they can’t find it at the Center, it is not to be found.

Located on the Boston waterfront (a surprisingly quick trip from the North Shore thanks to the Ted Williams Tunnel), the Center is home to 78 vendors whose wares are not available to the general public. Designers and architects shop there for an amazing array of items that ranges from fabric and wallpaper to furniture and carpets. Everything needed to design the perfect kitchen or bath can be found here, as well as flooring, light fixtures, accessories, and, as Classic Revivals Owner and Center tenant John Buscemi says, “high quality items that are not pedestrian.”

Based in Lynn, Classic Revivals is one of numerous North Shore merchants affiliated with the Center.

“I get requests for authentic period fabrics and wallpaper from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Met in New York City, and the Newport Mansions in Rhode Island,” Buscemi says, noting that many interior design customers are considerably impressed to learn that his shop in Lynn imports and distributes fabrics from around the world. “I also supply some very high-end designers from the West Coast who design homes for the stars. I go into the Design Center every day so I can remain on the cutting edge in the business.”

When Buscemi isn’t working with a historical commission, he’s importing fabrics from Ireland, Sweden, or Australia. It was there where Buscemi found the 1960s vintage wallpaper that was used to decorate the governor’s reception room at the Rhode Island State Capital building.

“The Design Center is my temple of taste,” Buscemi says.

While Buscemi may have walls and chairs covered, for the past 20 years, designers who have purchased Asian-influenced furnishings at the Design Center probably bought them from ArtiFacts, which is run by Danversresidents Michael and Sharon Glasser. The Asian antiques dealers sell rare pieces of pottery, ceramics, and artwork that can sometimes be thousands of years old! Several times a year, the Glassers travel to Asia to hand pick the museum-quality items their customers have come to expect from them.

“Some of the Asian antiques we sell are made from wood that’s now extinct,” Michael says, “and I recently saw a bowl that was about three inches wide that sold for $100,000!”

It takes dozens of specialty vendors to make the Center the wonderful resource it is and each contributes something a little different to the mix.

Based in East Point, Gloucester for the past 10 years, the ICON Group, Inc. not only sells furniture but manufactures it as well. As each piece is made to order, customers can get just about anything their hearts desire.

“We’re known for updating classic pieces to make them work in today’s world,” says owner Paul Gaucher. “We also manufacture our own lighting and we import accessories from Europe and China.”

Gaucher is doing so well at the Center that he recently rented a larger showcase space there.

“One thing people love is that people can also visit our retail store in Beverly Farms,” Gaucher says, citing the 2,500 square foot store known as Coast, “where they can see a selection from the assortment we carry at the Center.”

Another vendor who’s been involved with the Center for 22 years hails from Ipswich. Catherine Mitchell, general manager of the family-owned Tile Showcase, makes the drive from the North Shore into Boston every day to make glass, mosaic, marble, and stone tiles available to designers and architects who have come to depend on her considerable experience.

“We have two other locations,” Mitchell says, “but Boston is where I spend most of my time.”

It seems the North Shore is ripe with creative minds. Other Center merchants living north of the Tobin Bridge include John Schieffelin of Blanche Field, Diana Levine of Diana Levine Fine Art, Daniel Gaudet of FDO Group, Jim and Susan M-Geough of the M-Geough Company, and Kelly Kelly of the Martin Group.

Private consumers who want to gain entrance to the Design Center can opt to be part of the “Plush” program. By purchasing a membership, shoppers are welcome to browse 1,200 product lines, and thousands of items for home and office offered at the Center. The $275 annual membership comes with four hours of free design consultation with 25 on-call designers. Plush members are also notified of member-only events.

“The Boston Design Center is just an emporium full of beautiful products,” Mitchell says, “and it’s a pleasure to be a part of it!”