When interior designer Nina Farmer was approached by a longtime friend to renovate her Boston home, she was instantly inspired. The Federal-style townhouse is located in a historic district lined with stately 18th-century buildings dating back to a time when British design influences dominated the area. So it’s not really surprising that the tailored, richly layered interiors she installed have the look and feel of an ancestral manor house somewhere in the English countryside.
“The client travels frequently to the UK and has a strong affinity for British style and history,” says Farmer. Its design philosophy is rooted in a classic sensibility that mixes interiors from different eras. “We discussed many ideas, but in the end we were all pretty much on the same page aesthetically.”
The upscale British style within the four-storey tenement is underpinned by UK-based brands sourced by Farmer for furniture, fabrics and fixtures. The result is a 3,000 square foot home that feels both formal and intimate without losing its distinctly British way of life.
The second-floor parlor has Thorne Britten wallpaper, an antique English mantel, and vintage Cleo Bardon chairs. The Art Deco table in the room was found at an antique shop in London. The curtains in the living room feature an Indian block print, and are paired with a chair and ottoman. This space features another mantel, found in England, with a wicker table and his mid-20th century ceramic lamp above it.
At the home’s entrance, a Natan Moss lamp sits atop a 19th-century French rosewood console. “The inherent Britishness of these items really lends itself to weaving a design narrative,” says Farmer.
The Anglophile client gave Farmer free rein to plant greenery throughout the house, so a variety of shades and tones appear in nearly every room. This includes the kitchen, where a pale mossy green is used to lacquer most of the cabinetry, the custom island, and his two pocket doors.
The home’s owners, a professional couple with two school-age children, weren’t afraid to experiment with interior design, Farmer said. As such, the overall atmosphere is warm and inviting, but with plenty of playful and quirky touches.
An antique mirrored chimney in the living room has a hidden cabinet for the television. The mudroom storage was in a style reminiscent of the luggage lockers found in 19th century London stations. And the gloss-painted wet bar has a saturated, leafy hue that echoes the deep green of the sofa in the adjacent parlor and the cupboard-style pantry in the kitchen.
Farmer said modern accents, such as mid-20th century Scandinavian chairs in the dining room and a Swedish rug in the study, add a subtle twist to the overall British aesthetic. The study features a wicker armchair and ottoman, and a desk chair finished in vintage Nigerian indigo fabric. There are also nods to the New England feel throughout the home, including an antique Federal bullseye mirror above the mantel and an early American chest of drawers in the adjacent study.
“The goal was to ensure everything was relaxing and easy on the eyes,” says Farmer. “Scale and tone don’t matter.”