Written by Christine Fennelly
If you’ve never enjoyed the Laboure Center Holiday House Hour, this is the year you should definitely not miss it. As Laboure celebrates the 25th anniversary of this wildly popular holiday tradition, organizers have the design help of some pretty heavy hitters, both local to Boston and some with offices along the Eastern Seaboard.
Elizabeth Lowrey is a principal at Elkus Manfredi Architects and Director of Interior Architecture. “This is our second year participating in the House Tour, and we are thrilled to be a returning design firm. We got involved when we initially moved to the Innovation District, and after meeting Sister MaryAdele and learning about the amazing work of Laboure, we are very honored to support the cause,” she said.
Trip the Light Fantastic
Emily Bulkeley, part of Elizabeth’s design team, is the design lead for Jamie and Micheal Amaral’s home at 779 East 4th Street. “Our theme for Jamie and Michael’s home was to commemorate a special night for them, their New Year’s Eve wedding anniversary. The entertainment spaces of their home will be transformed into a sophisticated celebration space. Black and gold sparkle, champagne flutes, and New Year’s decor will turn their home into an elegant party spot. The master bedroom and nursery will be softer to celebrate a white Christmas, with lots of white and beige. We’re transforming Jamie and Michael’s home into a swank black-tie affair which was the inspiration for the Amarals’ big night years ago that included the Rat Pack, big bands, Marilyn Monroe, etc. We would love tour guests to come in and feel like they’re about to countdown to midnight,” explained Emily.
Emily’s colleagues include Molly Randell, Cindy Chhoeun, Vittoria Petrillo and Laetitia Degoul. “Everyone is really devoted to making this a wonderful event,” Emily reports. “We love the work that Laboure does, and each of us brings a strong personal commitment to designing a beautiful, warm, and fun holiday space on behalf of the Laboure cause.”
An Eclectic Holiday
Aimee Schefano, a designer at Symmes Maini and McKee Associates (SMMA), is returning for her third year of decorating for the house tour and her first year as part of the SMMA team. Colleagues Sarah Long and Ani Moushigian are also participating in this exciting endeavor, with additional partnership by Danielle McClure and Marta Lomanno of South Boston’s Neatly Nested. “I’m working with homeowner Heather Carbone; she has a really beautiful backyard with a pool so we decided to incorporate that water setting into the design. Heather’s neighbor is participating too, and his approach has been more traditional, so Heather and I decided to build off her taste for more eclectic design. We are given a budget to use but I like to use as many existing elements as I can (from Laboure’s stock) and be able to give that budgeted money back to the center. The pool design is exciting and tricky, depending on how Mother Nature treats us – but it will look different to a daytime visitor versus a nighttime tour goer. I’m thrilled to be a part of this project each year because I spend most of my time on corporate interiors for clients, and it is nice to look at an intimate home space and decorate it for a client’s style,” she said.
Baby’s First Christmas
Senior Associate Nicole Hathaway of Dimella Shaffer is also returning for her third year on the house tour. “We’re working with Sarah and Patrick Mahoney of N Street. I originally conceived a concept of silver bells to commemorate Laboure’s 25th house tour, but my clients had a much sweeter celebration – it is their daughter Caroline’s first Christmas, so hence the theme. So with the silver bells theme we’ll add baby booties and take a whimsical, less formal approach. We use a palette of ice blue and pale green colors and fresh greenery accented with a raspberry color as opposed to a Christmas red,” she described.
“My colleagues and I really love this annual project – it’s both charitable and a different way for us to work together on a project outside the office. It gives back to a very worthwhile local charity.” Nicole’s core team includes Dimella Shaffer Principal Randy Kreie, Senior Associate Philippe Saad, Client Relations Director Jessica Knapp and designer Brenna Mizuno.
Dying to know where the experts go to get the best decorating loot? Nicole swears by good ‘ol Michaels, SaveOnCrafts.com and Jacobson’s at Boston’s Flower Mart.
Justene Spaulding, owner of JS Interiors, is a local Southie girl. Born and raised on Gold Street, the Laboure Center was her backyard. “The center is near and dear to my heart,” she said. This year’s tour marks her 7th year designing for local homeowners, and this year she’s working with Nicole Costello who lives at 9 West Broadway, Unit 314. “Nicole has been great to work with because she’s got great style and taste, so we had a wonderful landscape to start with.” Justene and her team took a traditional approach to create an elegant chateau/lodge feeling using antiques from Nicole’s family collection and accenting with burlap, mercury glass and fresh greens. “Nicole also has some amazing artwork that we were able to build into the design. I have two little boys so Christmas is big for our family and I love to help others create magical spaces in their homes utilizing a lot of what they already own,” she said.
Don’t miss your chance to tour some of the most elegant and professionally designed homes this year – and remember it’s all for a great cause. Tickets for the day tour or evening tour with reception immediately following are available here: