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Catherine & McClure Interiors injects a California spirit into a condominium on the North Shore

A homeowner in Greater Boston was starting to chafe at her suburban surroundings. As a single woman in her 50s, she wanted more of a small-town feel and broader sense of community. “She was looking for a change in lifestyle and location,” says Catherine Skaletsky of Catherine & McClure Interiors, a mother-daughter team that also includes Skaletsky’s daughter, Danielle McClure. “So we thought she would love being on the water.”

The designers are very familiar with the North Shore, and after they drove the homeowner around the area, she opted to buy a condominium in Swampscott. “The water view was magnificent,” says Skaletsky, who grew up in the town and knows it intimately.

As often happens with designers and their clients, a friendship had grown out of the working relationship established earlier when the three women collaborated on redoing all the interiors of the client’s big suburban residence. In many ways, the condo was the antithesis of that home, which was very traditional in style. “Our client has great taste and gave us the opportunity to be as creative as we wanted,” says Skaletsky. “We had a clean slate to work with.”

This time around, in her downsized space, the homeowner wanted to have fun with the decor. Catherine & McClure’s first step was painting the sallow gray walls a crisp white. “We played to the sky and ocean by way of lots of white with accents of blue, the homeowner’s favorite color,” explains Skaletsky.

In the open-concept living/dining room, a pair of blue armchairs complement the white Holly Hunt sofa, and the silver leaf dining chairs are upholstered in blue velvet from Schumacher. Bookcases painted a sophisticated cobalt from Fine Paints of Europe have a high-gloss finish, as does the room’s white trim. “We love playing with different sheens,” says
McClure, “and also using a single, bold color against a neutral palette.”

The design team is heavily influenced by the South (they spend a lot of time in Raleigh, where their cousins have a design business), and that is where they source a lot of antiques. The light and airy California style also serves as inspiration. “New England can be dreary and dismal several months of the year,” says McClure. “We want you to feel happy in your home, since that’s where you spend a lot of time.”

The white credenza by Peter Alexander and combination acrylic-and-glass dining table attest to their penchant for a “less is more” vibe and clean lines. “We didn’t want the dining table to stop your eye from appreciating the beautiful furniture in the living room and the water views when you’re standing in the kitchen,” says McClure. “Our intention was to keep the room feeling light and somewhat minimalist.”

Peacefulness was a quality the homeowner sought. In contrast to the ocean-matching blues in the living area, the bedroom is a sanctuary cocooned in soft pinks. Luxurious velvet drapes are a blush that fades into a lighter shade in the trim color and pales even further on the ceiling. With plush carpet underfoot, blush-colored grass cloth on the walls, and damask bed linens, the overall impression is of layered textures that give depth to the room. “The homeowner wanted this space to be playful and sexy,” says Skaletsky. “She’s a girly girl who loves her shoes, pinks, and crystal.”

The juxtaposition of an elegant handcrafted M-Geough chair and a modern acrylic side table from The Martin Group gives the bedroom’s reading nook a transitional flavor. “The sunlight bounces off the angles of the table and literally makes the bed’s paisley upholstered headboard glimmer,” observes McClure.

One thing’s for certain: Despite its location in New England, where the weather gods are fickle, this condominium’s personality is sunny all the time.