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Stacey Martin’s clients found her with a hashtag. “I searched #bostoninteriordesigner on Instagram,” the wife says. She and her husband were drawn to Martin’s practice of incorporating something unique in every room, and once they met the Stoneham-based designer, her “cool” personality. 

The couple had recently purchased a home in Swampscott that felt too grand for their tastes, and hired Martin’s firm, The Freshmaker, to take it down a notch. “We’re not formal people,” the husband says. “We wanted Stacey to make it feel more casual and down to earth.” It also needed to be family friendly as they have two daughters who are now one and three years old. 

Martin perused their Pinterest boards to identify underlying themes. Ultimately, the designer took cues from the month-long, cross-country road trip the pair took in 2017 during which they visited nine national parks and slept in a Toyota 4Runner converted into a camper. “I put their mood boards through the filter of the trip to shape the design direction,” Martin says. 

The designer fused earthy, live edge woods, vegan leather, and live greenery with natural materials that feel at home on the coast, then added subtle washes of blue. Everything will weather well and stand up to stains, or else is inexpensive enough not to matter. “The house feels adult while still being kid-friendly,” she says.

The décor says “young family” right up front. Wallpaper with a wavy abstract pattern of dashes and dots wraps the bottom portion of the vestibule, imparting a lighthearted, beachy feel. It also helps disguise scuffs. Enameled metal artist palette trays with convex centers that let water to run to the edges function as handsome, budget-friendly boot trays, which Martin tucked under a Scandi style oak bench. Opposite, low seagrass storage ottomans are a perfect perch for little ones and encourage them to put away footwear solo. “It’s a shoes-off house,” Martin says, noting the gorgeous water-based matte finish wood floors.

A console with a hot-rolled steel finish and custom maple handles sits beyond the glass door in the entry hall, providing a strong but simple contrast in the bright, double-height space. A vintage, live-edge wood bowl is a drop-spot for keys, and a plant in a fluted earthenware vessel brings the outdoors in.

Rather than place a dust collector in the dead space beside the stair, Martin channeled Maria Montessori, creating a self-serve reading nook with natural wood book ledges and oversize clips for hanging art. “Our older daughter sits there with our younger one on her lap and ‘reads’ stories,” the wife says. 

Taking advantage of the fireplace on the edge of the dining room, which functions as a craft and project space, Martin fashioned a little seating area for grownups. A pair of rattan chairs can face outward to keep an eye on the kiddos, or toward the fireplace to catch a quiet moment. Organic accessories, including a reclaimed wood drinks table and a custom driftwood sculpture by local artisan line Suzaluna, make the open area feel intimate.

The space melds with the light, bright family room, where the couple sometimes watch the sunrise over coffee. The couple notes that the French doors to the screened porch are seldom shut; they enjoy the ocean breeze and easy access to the outdoors. Since they didn’t need a television here (the wood-paneled library is for snuggling up to watch movies), Martin pushed the sofa against the wall, keeping circulation paths clear and offering up a leafy view. Lightweight chairs and poufs offer plenty of seating and a tree stump cocktail table carries through the natural vibe and withstands feet, toys, and condensation. “The look is casual cool,” Martin says. “They wanted friends and family to come hang out and not have to use a coaster.” 

Upstairs in the nursery, Martin piggybacked on the national park theme, sourcing screen-printed posters from Fifty-Nine Parks. “The fox and the hare are playful without saying ‘baby,’” the designer says. That was important, given that the wife asked for “sweet, but not pink and sparkly.” Copper seagull decals scattered all over the ceiling nod to wildlife on the coast and shimmer when the sunlight strikes them.

Next, Martin will redesign the couple’s bedroom and bath. They say that Martin understands them; they want her involved in every room. “It comes down to the clients’ personal narrative,” Martin says. “I think, what is it about you that translates into design?”