The Perfect Blend

Interior designer Emily Shakra combined old and new with mid-century pieces to reflect her clients’ style.

The column-flanked entryway leads to a family room that’s designed to accommodate large gatherings and do so comfortably. There are five ottomans in the room; one that’s fifty-two-inches round centers the room. The colorful zigzag pattern on the Alf Svensson mid-century chair sets the stage for the rest of the home.


“A balance of youthful energy and eclectic style”— that was Emily Shakra’s goal as she designed the interior of this Bedford home. And, no doubt about it, she succeeded.

Everywhere you look, this home is a feast for the eyes. A myriad of material, color, pattern and shape—Shakra, of Emily Shakra Design in Bedford, manages to weave it all together to create a design that dazzles.

Take the entryway. Walk through the custom-made walnut front door, and you’ll find a space that enchants with its variety—there’s even a giant Warhol-style Jackie O peering out from a painting placed low on the wall. It is one of many spaces in the home where art is celebrated.

The hand-painted accent wall replicates a 1950s W. Foxton Ltd. black-and-white wallpaper. A Jonathan Adler red lamp provides the clean, bright color that Shakra uses, as she says, to “take command of the space.”

Of all the items in that space, Shakra’s favorites are the pendant lights, which are made of fishing line formed into a spiraling geometric pattern and set on a Lucite frame. “I found them in an antique shop in their original boxes from Sears & Roebuck,” she says. “In my travels, whether in New Hampshire, New York or elsewhere, I’m always snapping up unique pieces to add interest to a home.”

The column-flanked entryway with its coffered ceiling and arched steps leads into the family room, which is one of three front-to-back spaces on the first floor. The homeowners “wanted to simplify their lifestyle by eliminating the traditional formal living and dining rooms,” Shakra says.

This room portends the theme that carries throughout the home: an eclectic mix of new and old, with many of the pieces authentic mid-century. ”I chose to blend pieces from different eras and styles to create a stimulating interior that is never boring,” she says. “The interior design should mirror the architecture of the home, but it should also be a reflection of the homeowners’ style. I always surround my clients with things that they love.”

‘The sky’s the limit’

Of all the elements in the entryway, Emily Shakra’s favorites are the two pendant lights she found in their original Sears & Roebuck box in an antique shop. A Warhol- style painting of Jacqueline Onassis hangs below the window.

The family room was designed to accommodate large gatherings. This is accomplished with an eleven-foot sofa with two oversized ottomans; a fifty-two-inch round, tufted leather ottoman that centers the room; an Eames-style leather chair; and two side chairs. One of the side chairs is an Alf Svensson mid-century piece upholstered in a zigzag pattern in colors that set the stage for the rest of the home. The subtle tones of the sofa and rug provide a neutral backdrop for the bright and bold fabrics.

All the family room seating, and many other pieces in the home, were re-upholstered or custom-made by Mavrikis Upholstering & Furniture Designs in Nashua. “Re-upholstering allows people to get what they want, with more choices of fabrics,” says owner Don Mavrikis. “The sky’s the limit.”

Adding a touch of whimsy to the room are three, oversized Dorothy Arnold paintings from Art 3 Gallery in Manchester. These are just a few of the many pieces of artwork collected over the years that cover the walls of the home, sometimes hung in unexpected places, sometimes sitting on the floor leaning against the wall, often a mix of mediums.

“Emily thinks outside of the box,” says Joni Taube, owner of Art 3. “That makes it more interesting. For her, art should make a statement. It makes people stop and think.”

Color abounds

Color draws your eye through the three classic French doors to the sunroom and welcomes guests to the indoor-outdoor living space that features a round Lillian August glass table. “Historically, a round table signifies all who sit around it are equals,” Shakra says. The table is surrounded by an orange mid-century Jonathan Adler chair, and a sofa and chairs—all mid-century modern originals, re-upholstered in white vinyl.

In the open-concept dining room, white vinyl is again used for the custom settee and chairs that surround the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams glass table. Above the table is a ceramic drum shade light fixture by Oly. On the table are Jonathan Adler accessories and a floral arrangement, one of several in the home, by Apotheca Flowers in Goffstown.

The sunlight-filled kitchen features a unique navy hutch built around a window for a display area that, this day, includes a décor-matching white cake with navy dots from Triolo’s Bakery in Bedford. The navy woodwork is continued in a desk area with storage, built around an oval window, perfectly placed for peering outside.

The rest of the kitchen cabinetry, painted white and gray, has clean lines and minimalistic design. The large, gray hood dominates the back wall, where its curved design lends a pleasing contrast to the angular lines that define the rest of the kitchen. The custom, quilted stainless-steel backsplash makes a “wow” statement and ties the homeowners’ love of mid-century design into a transitional kitchen.

For the kitchen

The quartz countertop is the kitchen’s real showpiece. Made of Statuario Venato from ColorQuartz, the countertop is thicker and more angular than most—a look long seen in restaurants that is starting to catch on for homes. The thickness is made possible, says Chuck Re of Mossy Creek Marble & Granite in Temple, by mitering 2 three-quarter-inch slabs together. “Because it’s mitered,” he says, “the finished product can have sharper corners.”

An additional counter-height table was designed to create more seating. It’s surrounded by diner-style chrome stools that were refurbished and re-upholstered in navy to blend.

Framing the triple windows is a custom window treatment of grommet top stationary linen panels from J&R Langley in Manchester.

The showpiece of the sunlight-filled kitchen is the granite countertop. It’s thicker than most because it’s comprised of two slabs mitered together. The mitering also allows it to have sharper corners.

For the master suite

The master suite, the third front-to-back space in the downstairs of the home, features both roman shades and operable grommet top panels of blue and white, also fabricated by J&R Langley. The panels are trimmed in pink to give a pop of color—color that echoes the bedding.

“Working with so many fabrics can be like figuring out a puzzle,” Shakra says. Ask her how she solves the puzzle, and she says: “Sometimes one can’t explain why things work in a particular room. My design and decorating aren’t always intellectual, but rather intuitive. The whole space appears in my mind.”

Move into the en-suite bathroom, and you’ll see the décor go from subtle and complex to clean and bold. Although the bedroom’s palette of blue and pink is carried through, the colors are dramatically set against all white.

In the vanity area—with Tech Rail system lighting from The Lighting Showroom in Bedford— the Frost White countertops once again have the drop-mitered edge seen in the kitchen.

And, adding ambience and additional warmth to the space is a wall-hung gas fireplace com- fortably viewed from the claw-foot soaking tub. The floor is a black-and-white basket-weave marble.

Elsewhere in the home

A black-and-white floor is also found in the mudroom—this one boldly checkered tumbled marble. Most guests enter the home through this room, just off an enclosed side porch, rather than through the front door. That’s why Shakra designed the room as “a snapshot of what’s to come.”

You’re greeted with a handsome red sideboard designed by Shakra and handcrafted by Jason Rivers, of J Rivers Custom Furniture in Hooksett. The sideboard is surrounded by original art in bold colors. Above hangs a Hubbardton Forge three-dimensional hive-like weave of steel from The Lighting Showroom.

Upstairs are three bedrooms; one of them leads out through a large patio door to a custom deck overlooking the pool and lush landscaping. There are also two full baths and a family room that provide extra space for family visits. The unique wooden slat lighting that hangs in the center of the room is visible from the outside through the oval window. Along with vintage sofas and coffee table, there is a beautiful hand-knotted rug, one of several in the home from Mir Sultan Oriental Rugs in Bedford.

Mir Sultan Oriental Rugs owner Mir S. Saeed says the rug was made by Uzbek weavers with naturally dyed highland Ghazni wool in an Ikat pattern that is taken from the region’s traditional dress. “The Ikat pattern is so popular these days,” he says. Another tribal rug—a Persian Kashkouli-Gabbeh rug from the Shiraz region in Iran—can be found in the kitchen.

Last, but certainly not least, the half bath. It’s small but has a big visual impact. Shakra chose a sink with a marble countertop and chrome legs, and a round, shell light fixture that hangs from the ceiling painted sky blue. To give the room pizzazz, an intricate black-and-white wallpaper was added.

In each room of the home, the goal of youthful energy and eclectic style is accomplished. Aided by a clear vision and a talented team of professionals, Shakra—like an artist—started with a blank canvas and turned this home into a beautiful work of art.

Members of the design team include, clockwise, Emily Shakra (on orange chair), of Emily Shakra Design in Bedford; Pamela Lada (on green chair), of Apotheca Flowers in Goffstown; Mir Sultan, of Mir Sultan Oriental Rugs in Bedford; Don Mavrikis, of Mavrikis Upholstery & Furniture Designs in Nashua; Jason Rivers, of J Rivers Custom Furniture in Hooksett; Chuck Re, of Mossy Creek Marble & Granite in Temple; Wendy Brown, of The Lighting Showroom in Bedford; Joni Taube, of Art 3 Gallery in Manchester.

In the open-concept dining room, a glass table is surrounded by a white vinyl settee and chairs. The lighting fixture has a ceramic drum shade. The unique navy hutch built around a window provides visual interest as well as storage.

Left: In the half bath, intricate black-and-white wallpaper contrasts with the clean lines of the sink with a marble countertop and chrome legs. A shell light fixture hangs from the ceiling painted sky blue.

Right: The master suite’s colors are carried through in the en-suite bathroom. A claw-foot soaking tub is positioned for a good view of the wall-hung gas fireplace.

Left: The mudroom—with its mix of bold colors and patterns—was designed as a snapshot of what is to come. A custom sideboard is surrounded by original art; the lighting is a hive-like weave of steel by Hubbardton Forge from The Lighting Showroom in Bedford.

Right: The centerpiece of the desk area in the kitchen is an oval window. The surrounding navy cabinetry provides additional storage.

Left:  The first-floor master suite, with its double-door entrance, allows you to immediately see the color scheme that brings sophistication to the room.

Right: An upstairs bedroom, one of three, leads out to a custom deck overlooking the pool and lush landscaping. The upstairs also has two full baths and a family room.

The home’s exterior offers a series of gables, dormers and warm cedar shakes against a crisp white trim. The porches add distinctive detail to the overall design.


Categories: Architecture and Interiors, Artwork and Design