The Art of Design

Written by Maria Allen  |   Photography by Derrick Zellmann

Three interior designers with a shared passion for creating art.

Pamela Copeman

With over 20 years of interior design experience, Pamela Copeman strives to create exceptional living spaces that her clients will love coming home to. The Hull resident is an accomplished painter and mixed-media artist known for her bold use of color and penchant for raspberry-pink pillows and crystal chandeliers.

Which did you fall in love with first, art or design?

When I was a teenager, my Mom allowed my sister and I to select wallpaper for our bedroom. I can distinctly remember turning the pages of the wallpaper book and loving the smell of the sample pages. My mother is a fine artist and my childhood home was always filled with her art. I started to travel in my 20s and Paris was the first European city I experienced. When I saw the artists painting en plein air in the Montmartre neighborhood, I promised myself I would try my hand at painting someday.

How would you define your art?

Happy, colorful and always evolving. I love to paint subjects that I have an emotional reaction to, such as fashion, faces, sunsets, interiors (of course) and still life. Some of my pieces are mixed media, which allows me to incorporate fabrics and trims into my artwork and combine my passions.

How has being an artist influenced your design work?

Being an artist has fine-tuned my color sense and understanding of space and composition. When it comes time to select artwork for a space, I am confident steering a client toward art that will best complement their design. If desired, I am able to create a custom piece of artwork just for them.

What is your favorite room to design and why?

I have always loved to design nurseries. One of the most memorable and unique spaces I’ve ever designed was a “Make Way for Ducklings” nursery for the 1997 Junior League Designer Showhouse in the Back Bay. I used shades of pearl and sterling silver and created a truly dreamy space. I still get inquiries from people wanting to purchase the bespoke swan crib that was the centerpiece of the nursery.

What is a decor trend you love?

I love the re-emergence of wall coverings. Whether colorful patterns, textural grasscloth, neutrals or special finishes like dazzling beads, mother-of-pearl or Capiz shells, the right wall covering adds pizzazz.

Foolproof decorating tip?

Jazz up your ceilings. It’s the only flat surface that is not covered with carpets or furnishings so why not add another layer of interest. You can add molding and intricate wood designs to create a coffered ceiling, or embellish further with wallpaper in recessed areas. I especially adore a wallpapered ceiling in a powder room. If you are on a budget, paint is a very reasonable way add a “wow” factor. Pick an interesting finish or color and the space is instantly more stylish. Don’t forget about distinctive lighting.

Most women have a shoe fetish, but I have a chandelier fetish. I believe that every space (including closets) that can handle a pendant light or chandelier should have one. The one caveat is that your light fixture needs to be in proportion to the rest of the room.

pamelacopeman.com


Diana Aveni

A skilled painter and potter, Diana Aveni has always had an eye for design. The Hingham resident opened her first custom framing shop in 2003 and now operates Hingham Furniture & Design in Hingham.

The full-service design center offers everything custom upholstery and gifts to elaborate home renovation services. One of Aveni’s specialties is incorporating works of art into the décor of her clients’ homes.

Which did you fall in love with first, art or design?

Art and design have been my lifelong love affair. I started making clothing patterns for myself at age 9. Today, in my business, I aim to utilize creative talents to create living spaces that fit the needs of my clients.

How would you define your art?

Clairvoyant. I envision the finished product before I even start working, and my hands tend to have a mind of their own.

What sparks your creative inspiration?

Emotions and smells often spark my creativity. Sometimes I will formulate a design idea after visiting a place that moves me.

How does being an artist influence your design work?

My background as a painter and sculptor enhances my design work. I like to think outside the box and I have an obsession to create. Ultimately, my designs needs to evoke a special feeling for my clients, just like fine artwork would to an art collector.

What is your favorite room to design and why?

I enjoy designing for a wide range of spaces, for both commercial and residential projects. Custom framing is one of our specialties at Hingham Furniture & Design. Over the years we have established a loyal clientele who come to us with everything from fine art photography and paintings to sports memorabilia.

What is a decor trend you love?

I’m not really a trendy gal but one thing I love is combining old with new. I respect antiques and reclaimed wood, but I like updating historic elements with modern fabrics and colors to bring out the contrast and texture.

Foolproof decorating tip?

Hang at least one mirror in every room. Mirrors help make the most of a room’s natural light, enhance views, make a small space feel more open. A well-placed mirror provides sparkle and adds oomph to decor. The key lies in pairing the right mirror with the right location to maximize its decorative potential. I will sometimes make custom mirrors for my clients in order to create that perfect reflection.

hinghamfurnituredesign.com


Wendy Callahan

In an effort to create a to-the-trade resource for members of the local design community, Wendy Callahan opened the South Shore Design Center in Duxbury last fall. When she’s not busy designing inviting spaces for her clients, Callahan practices her art, creating large-scale abstract paintings that feature washes of color in ocean hues.

Which did you fall in love with first, art or design?

I have always done art. When I was in kindergarten, all I wanted to do was stand at my easel and paint. I studied fine art at Syracuse University and got a master’s degree from Ball State University in Indiana, with a focus on ceramics and painting. For a while, I put my art on the back burner and worked for a sports marketing company in Manhattan.

After moving to Boston, getting married and having kids, I was looking for a more flexible job and started doing interior design for friends. My business has grown and evolved over the years. Most recently, I launched the South Shore Design Center—a place where designers can come to look through fabrics or bring their clients. I started painting again about five years ago and I love it.

How would you define your style?

I would describe my style as New England transitional. I like clean lines and well-edited spaces that evoke a calming feeling. I really listen to my clients and try to match their personal tastes. I want them to feel 100 percent comfortable and happy in their home space.

What sparks your creative inspiration?

I’m inspired by my surroundings. I love water and nature. I do what is called color field painting, with blocks and splashes of color, without a structure. People often say my paintings are calming.

What is your favorite room to design and why?

I really like family rooms and kitchens. I love when clients say that their whole family loves to spend time in the room I’ve designed. Kitchens are kind of like a puzzle. Most people spend a lot of time in the kitchen so the design is important. When I’m working on a kitchen design I really look at the whole space to see if a wall needs to come down or if a doorway should be moved. Once you make one decision, everything else falls into place.

Foolproof decorating tip?

I think in coastal homes, a lot of people are looking for fresh, light interiors that are comfortable and family friendly. If you’re going to buy a sofa, choose a neutral color. There are a lot of great fabrics that are stain resistant, which is great if you have kids. If you are looking for an easy way to update a traditional home, bring in some art. A large abstract painting will bring in a freshness that you really can’t get any other way.

wendyhcallahan.com

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