Subscribe Now

The way someone chooses to decorate his or her home has always been very personal. It reveals things, like what’s your style? Where have you been? Do you hold onto things or let them go? Do you have a budget for pure aesthetics? Do you prefer neutrals over color?

And if you have the answers to these, just watch them shift as you and your family change. Because aren’t we all (and how we live) always changing? 

Our homes are such big reflections of ourselves that designing and furnishing one from scratch can be intimidating, especially for a busy family. But if that family has some ideas to work from and brings together a design team it fully admires, the experience can surpass all expectations. 

This house on the North Shore is a great example. The couple had been living a few towns over when they had twins and wanted more space for them and their now four daughters. Instead of fret about how to get it done, they trusted their builder, Rocco DiPietro of DiPietro Homes, their architectural designer, Jeff Buffum of Alternative Designs, and their interior designer, Gina Baran of Gina Baran Interiors + Design.

The homeowner says building this house came at the perfect time for them. “We wanted to make sure it was really our own and had enough room for everyone,” she says. 

“They had seen something the builder had done before and walked through it,” says Buffum of how the project started. “We pulled out the plan for that house and made some modifications.” For instance, they wanted the kitchen to be open to the family room. They also wanted five bedrooms, with one of them being on the first floor.

Baran, who describes her signature style as having a neutral, monochromatic foundation with lots of textures, got involved just as they were finishing the plans. “The clients came to us asking us for modern farmhouse, so we gave them modern with a side of farmhouse,” says Baran, who worked off a Pinterest board of inspiration images the homeowner had shared with her. “I love Gina’s style and she was really attentive to what I said I wanted,” says the homeowner. “It was really fun. I had thought it would be daunting, but it was a really great experience with her.” 

Finished in 2019, the five-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bathroom house has a foyer that leads to the two-story family room with vaulted ceiling and stained barnwood beams. A palette of white, gray, tan, and green makes the room feel comfortable and cozy. At the center of the seating arrangement is a coffee table made out of pandan rope handwoven in Indonesia and sold at Baran’s store, Abode Shoppe, in Newbury.

With cabinetry by Northeast Woodworking of Raymond, New Hampshire, the kitchen is a mix of dark—the lower cabinets, hood, and island are made of custom hickory wood with indentations that make it look like leather and painted an ebony brown—and light—the walls and upper cabinets are painted white and the countertops and full-height backsplash are white quartz.

In the dining room, brass wall disks, also from Abode Shoppe, are hung as a focal point on the wall, which is covered in denim blue textured grasscloth by Phillip Jeffries. “The smoothness of the disks and the texture of the wallpaper play against each other,” says Baran. To one side, there’s the mudroom, powder room, and a four-car garage and on the other side, past the family room, is the first floor bedroom suite. Upstairs, a master suite plus three bedrooms, two baths, and a laundry room have plenty of space. In the basement there’s a secondary kitchen, playroom, and additional bathroom.

Textural wallpaper was also used in all but one of the bedrooms—the first floor bedroom has a beige-and-black abstract design from Nina Campbell, the master bedroom has a Phillip Jeffries wood veneer wallpaper with an x pattern in tonal grays, one twin’s bedroom has a pink design by Victoria Larson, and the other has a pink design by York Wallpaper. “That really got me out of my comfort zone,” says the homeowner about the wallpaper. “Gina had incredible choices.” 

To install everything, Baran took over the house for a week to make it move-in ready. “These clients were amazing,” says Baran. “They gave us complete creative direction. I think at our presentation they changed two pillow fabrics and that’s it.” 

“We still wouldn’t have had it as put together as she did in one week,” says the homeowner. “She was so personal in how she worked with us and we’re really thankful for her.” 

As it turns out, the couple and their daughters did some exploring and found a new place they loved, so they will be moving again. But having the expert help of these design professionals and the all-inclusive install by Baran this time around was “super helpful in the time of our lives with the little kids,” says the homeowner. Now, on to the next one.