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Casual, Comfortable, and Colorful Home

Written by Krissa Rossbund
  • When Beth and Michael Jones bought their Weston, Massachusetts, home, its polished interiors prompted the same thought that often occurs in clothing stores when customers are trying on various pieces of apparel: Beautiful, but it looks better on the hanger than it does on me.

    What the Joneses walked into was a glorious home, fitted with classic columns and arches, an elegant neutral color scheme, and furnishings that were formal and grand—an attractive presentation indeed, but one that was not compatible with Beth and Michael’s lifestyle, which includes three teenage children. Furthermore, Beth’s dream home veered toward an environment that was casual and colorful, providing a foundation for her growing collection of folk art.

    “The existing design was quite nice and plenty livable,” explains Beth. “But I wanted a home that was informed by my art collection. I like pieces that are eclectic and have patina.” 

    The couple hired architect Patrick Ahearn for a major renovation that included building a new rear wing and gutting and reconfiguring the existing interior so that it now bears little resemblance to its previous iterations. It was built in the 1880s as a carriage house and barn, a common beginning for what are now some of  Weston’s prettiest abodes. Paying homage to the building’s roots, Ahearn notes that the peaked entry dormer, stone pilasters, and cupola are original.

    Early in the construction process, Beth also hired Boston interior design talent Gary McBournie, whose work epitomizes casual sophistication, and whose taste and quality expectations were simpatico with Beth’s. In fact, he and Beth patronize the same antiques dealer for their folk-art finds.

    “The guiding principle in the design was Beth’s artwork,” says McBournie. “We wanted the bold shapes and textured finishes and materials to come alive in a way that wasn’t too fancy but had a refined sensibility—all the while remembering that the furniture must stand up to heavy use by teenagers.”

    The large living room and dining area are defined by a cheerful assemblage of reds and golds, colors that play up the warm textures of Beth’s folk-art treasures, such as a metal horse sculpture, formerly a weather vane, that is now stabled on the mantel. Naturally lit during daytime hours by newly installed windows, the room’s walls glow in a wheat-colored glaze.

    In the living room, McBournie created two seating areas that are pulled together by a flat-weave wool carpet and a crewel embroidery fabric covering two curvy chairs on either side of the rust-colored sofa. Facing off in front of the fireplace are matching sofas in nubby white-and-gold cotton. Instead of a coffee table, an ottoman from the Joneses’ former home found new life topped with worn tufted leather. Around the reclaimed wooden trestle-base dining table at the opposite end of the space, chairs in rust-colored Ultrasuede add surprise with a contrasting linen fabric on their backs. An antique country table serves as a practical dining room sideboard.

    Although its fittings are all new, the kitchen was made to recall the past with subtle barn references. Exposed beams on the vaulted ceiling enhance the imperfect texture of a lighting fixture crafted from antique iron. The long center island is painted in the red of a distressed barn. With its beadboard construction, turned legs, and aged wood top, it could easily pass as an antique worktable.

    The adjoining breakfast nook nestles into a window bay, the alcove given architectural interest with a pair of antique wooden brackets found by Beth at a flea market.

    “On this project, the stars and moon all lined up,” says McBournie. “The work went so smoothly because everyone had the same vision, and that made it especially fun.”

    Photography: Gordon Beall

    Architect: Patrick J. Ahearn, Ahearn/Schopfer and Associates, 160 Commonwealth Ave., Suite L5, Boston, MA 02116; 617/266-1710,
    Interior designer: Gary McBournie, Gary McBournie Inc. Interior Design and Decoration, 71 Newbury St., Suite 300, Boston, MA 02116; 617/542-5700,

    Sconces (“Andalusian’’ #F-CD01 by Formations): Holly Hunt, 312/661-1900,, trade only.
    Weather vane on mantel (c.1870 running horse weather vane); three gears on wall (c.1860  iron industrial gears): Victor Weinblatt, 413/533-6435.
    Paper shades (custom): Blanche P. Field, 617/423-0715, trade only.
    Gold sofas (custom); square ottoman: Connors Design, 508/429-4980.
    Ottoman fabricdrapery fabric (“Alban’’/Ivory #F2211-01by Colefax & Fowler): Cowtan & Tout, 212/647-6900,, trade only.
    Sofa fabric: discontinued.
    Green drapery fabric (#3967, discontinued): Calvin Fabrics, 888/732-1996,, trade only.
    Drapery fabrication: Drape-It, 781/209-1912.
    Chinese side tables (antique): Sentimento Antiques, 212/750-3111, trade only.
    Art: owner’s collection.
    Mantel: custom.
    Paint: custom.

  • Designer Gary McBournie likes to incorporate livable details into his sophisticated style, often creating unexpected combinations. Here, a mossy orb punctuates the clean-lined living room coffee table.

  • A pattern of striking interlocking circles stenciled across the walls of the entry hall often leads visitors to assume that this striking motif sparked the house’s decorative plan. But the opposite is true. Part of the original barn, the two-story space had enormous volume and required a pattern that was gutsy and full of personality. McBournie settled on a simple geometric pattern executed in a complex color scheme of red, blue, gold, and yellow to deliver a warm welcome.

    “This space was always a question mark that none of us wanted to tackle,” says McBournie. “We left it alone and hoped that it would tell us what it wanted. An antique rug directed its pattern, and we applied bright colors that were tempered with an umber wash so it didn’t have a psychedelic look.”

    Wall treatment (custom): Gedas Paskauskas Studios Inc., 617/233-4307,
    Pendant lantern: owner’s collection.
    Sofa (custom): Connors Design, 508/429-4980.
    Sofa fabric (“Sondma Gingham’’ #LFY29407F, discontinued): Ralph Lauren Home, 888/475-7674,
    Tea bin beside sofa: antique.
    Candelabra sconces (custom); wire planter (antique): Faustina Pace Antiques, 561/804-6682, trade only.
    Upholstered fauteuil: Amy Perlin Antiques, 212/593-5756.
    Console table (“Bastille,’’ discontinued): Holly Hunt, 312/661-1900,, trade only.
    Table lamp (from architectural remnant): owner’s collection.
    Mirror over console (sand-cast gear-form mirror c.1920); lamp on console (mid-19th-century sand-painted woden urn converted to lamp, New England): Victor Weinblatt, 413/533-6435,
    Area rug in front of bench (custom); striped rug under fauteuil (custom); stair runner (custom): Stark Carpet Corp., 212/752-9000,, trade only.

  • Gary McBournie’s skillful mix of patterns and colors gives the large living room-dining area an easygoing attitude.

    Red sofa (custom, “Park Avenue”): Jerry Pair & Assoc., 800/909-7247,, trade only.
    Sofa fabric (“Isla’’-18): Malabar Fabrics, 877/625-2227,, trade only.
    Area rug (custom): Stark Carpet Corp., 212/752-9000,, trade only.
    Knife-edge pillows on sofa (custom): Kim Murphy, 413/967-9775.
    Club chairs (“D’eauville’’): John Boone Inc., 212/758-0012, trade only.
    Chair fabric (“Arbre de Vie’’/Document #2004028-519): Lee Jofa, 800/453-3563,, trade only.
    Coffee table (scroll feet with travertine top); mercury jar lamps (antique): Sentimento Antiques, 212/750-3111, trade only.
    Candlesticks: Hudson, 617/292-0900.
    Zinc stars: Antiques on 5, 617/951-0008, trade only.
    Oak side table (demilune stretcher); painted finials (antique): Carl Todisco Antiques, 617/357-5050.

  • An antique mercury glass lamp adorns the oak side table next to the sofa.

  • A large iron chandelier over the dining table reminds homeowner Beth Jones of old wagon wheels.

    Dining table (“Trestle’’ base #1106): John Rosselli, 212/593-2060, trade only.
    Dining chairs (“Stahl Baroque’’ #2017): Dessin Fournir, 785/434-2777,, trade only.
    Dining-chair fabric (“Almost Suede’’/Desert Sunrise #AMS 1052): Paul Brayton Designs, 800/882-4720,
    Fabric on dining-chair back (“Newfield Check’’/Daffodil #2000135-40): Lee Jofa, 800/453-3563,, trade only.
    Chandelier (“Antonia’’ #8059): Ironware International, 800/850-0460,
    Area rug (“Ottoman Interweave’’/wool #400-010): Stark Carpet Corp., 212/752-9000,, trade only.
    Sideboard (antique): owner’s collection. 
    Antique urn lamps on sideboard; pair of urns: Antiques on 5, 617/951-0008, trade only.
    Antique seltzer bottles: Hudson, 617/292-0900.
    Rug over sideboard (1860 New England hearth rug mounted on stretcher): Victor Weinblatt, 413/533-6435.
    Wall treatment (custom): Gedas Paskauskas, Studios Inc. 617/233-4307,

  • An antique country display table serves as the dining room sideboard. Two new zinc urns with convincing patina form the bases of lamps topped with rectangular parchment shades.

    Beth loves to collect objects full of quirky personality like the three antique soda bottles on the sideboard. On the wall above, an antique hooked rug echoes the strong reds and golds of the room.

  • A charming ruffled valance of red-and-yellow checked cotton softens the curve of the large kitchen window on the sink wall.

    Chandelier (“Turin’’ #6025): Dessin Fournir, 785/434-2777,, trade only.
    Lantern at window: Antiques on 5, 617/951-0008, trade only.
    Countertop: honed black granite.
    Bar stools (“Village’’): Crate & Barrel, 800/996-9960,
    Paint: custom.

  • Homeowner Beth Jones loves the hunt for antique pieces—like this old round window frame and the antique table she uses as a desk.

    Desk (c.1840 New England tap table with scrub top, tapered legs and original paint); architectural window above desk (mid-19th-century star motif architectural window from New England barn): Victor Weinblatt, 413/533-6435.
    Painted floors (checkerboard): Gedas Paskauskas, 617/233-4307,
    Paint: custom.
    Fabric on chair seat and back (“Oscar’’/Jaune #7338-06 by Boussac): Pierre Frey, 212/213-3099, trade only.
    Fabric on chair front (“Tullgarn’’/Saffron #105155 by Travers): Zimmer +Rohde, 212/748-7925, trade only.
    Red trim on chairs (#F199-2): Osborne & Little, 212/751-3333,, trade only.

  • Chairs in the breakfast nook were slipcovered in tweed and banded in red piping. The table and chairs rest on a hand-braided rug that forms a series of circles.

    Pedestal table; chairs: owner’s collection.
    Fabric on chair seat and back (“Oscar’’/Jaune #7338-06 by Boussac): Pierre Frey, 212/213-3099, trade only.
    Fabric on chair front (“Tullgarn’’/Saffron #105155 by Travers): Zimmer +Rohde, 212/748-7925, trade only.
    Red trim on chairs (#F199-2): Osborne & Little, 212/751-3333,, trade only.
    Lantern (French tole #700-1): Michael Smith Reproduction Furniture, 310/315-3018,, trade only.
    Slipcover fabrication: Kim Murphy, 413/967-9775.
    Area rug (custom): Country Braid House, 603/286-4511, Valance fabric (#F15475-0001, discontinued): Old World Weavers, 212/355-7186, trade only. Architectural corbels (mid 19th-century New England): Victor Weinblatt, 413/533-6435

  • The house that Beth and Michael Jones bought in Weston, Massachusetts, was built in the 1880s as a carriage house and barn. Through the years and various remodelings, the structure has retained its original peaked entry dormer, stone pilasters, and cupola.

  • A mélange of pretty fabrics gives the master bedroom visual interest. Silk panels over embroidered sheers at the windows, a quilted coverlet and plaid skirt on the bed, and a cut-velvet upholstered bench all work together for a serene ambience.

    Bed; bench; Fortuny ceiling fixture: owner’s collection.
    Bed-skirt fabric (“Cabrieres’’): Pierre Frey, 212/213-3099, trade only.
    Drapery fabric (“Serenity’’/Azure #2511-09 by Larsen): Cowtan & Tout, 212/647-6900, trade only.
    Sheer fabric (“Kafi’’ #04, discontinued): Malabar, 877/625-2227,, trade only.
    Sofa (custom): Connors Design, 508/429-4980.
    Sofa fabric (“Well Woven’’/Haystack #1432-07 by Great Plains): Holly Hunt, 312/661-1900,, trade only.
    Sofa trim (“Complement Loop Border’’/Ocean #39076-267, discontinued): Brunschwig & Fils, 800/538-1880,, trade only.
    Floral pillow on sofa; striped pillow on sofa: FDO Group, 617/737-2800,, trade only.
    Upholstered chair by sofa: owner’s collection; garden urn/side table beside chair; upholstered club chair; upholstered bench: owner’s collection.
    Coffee table: Antiques on 5, Antiques on 5, 617/951-0008, trade only.
    Night stands (“Veneto Cabinets’’): Niermann Weeks, 212/319-7979,, trade only.
    Lamps: Blanche P. Field, 617/423-0715, trade only.
    Carpet (“Teague’’/Beige): Stark Carpet Corp., 212/752-9000,, trade only.
    Paint: custom.

  • A sofa in tweed cotton sports soft cotton pillows.

  • When asked to describe his style, designer Gary McBournie says, “I’m not formulaic, and I don’t want to do the same design over and over.” His infectious fusion of happy palettes, charming geometrics, and fresh spins on antiques—all polished to casual perfection—make him one of our readers’ favorite designers.