Arts and Culture
Food and Wine
People and Places
Science and Nature
Travel and Lodging
New Hampshire
Rhode Island
Home » PEOPLE AND PLACES in MA » MASSACHUSETTS (all topics) » Empowerment by Design
The Finished Dining Room
Empowerment by Design

Part 3

By Mark B. Oliver | October 05, 2010

Previous Article in this Series

As we have seen, progress on transforming the Donahue home has been continuing apace but would it be finished on time and on budget?

ONE recently caught up with m charles of (m) + charles beach INTERIORS and Effie Donahue to see the final results.

Effie and m charles

“The challenge with this project was bringing the home alive with some bold color choices that nicely showed off Effie’s furniture, the majority of which was staying.” A case in point was two white couches.   “These were lovely pieces, but against the white walls, they just disappeared into the background.   Now they really ‘pop’ and greatly add to the ambience of the room,” explains m charles.

“In the budget we had set aside some money for a few items to augment the existing furniture, such as the torchiere floor lamps and some coffee tables.   By placing these in the two separate halves of the living space, this produced a continuity and flow between the two rooms making them look and feel like a cohesive whole.”

m charles was also keen to ensure that Effie’s home didn’t have a uniform look, by buying all new furniture from one shop or retailer.

“It’s an easy mistake to make, that by buying everything afresh you’ll obtain that coordinated look, but what actually happens is that you end up with something that resembles an office.   Just one or two pieces, will have the desired effect and you’ll have an eclectic interior that doesn’t look over designed, but instead simply works.’

The Fireplace became the focus of the room

m charles also reinstated the fireplace to its former glory as the centerpiece of the room, and extended and painted the trim, which gave the impression of larger rooms and provided clear delineation where it was needed.

m charles also assisted Effie in selecting some simple black and white prints that again helped provide a coordinated yet not overdesigned feel to the rooms.   In another simple, and inexpensive decision, FLOR carpet tiles, which m charles describes as a “nifty concept” were used to provide additional detail to the floors.   Each tile has its own adhesive patch making it easy to design your own flooring inexpensively and with the minimum of fuss.   The tiles Effie used are “Earthen” an off-black and “Cream” obviously off-white, which soften the otherwise stark contrast.

Effie, had kept her friends, neighbors and family, from her home during the renovations so they would see the ‘before’ and ‘after’ much like the television shows that abound.   The grand reveal was both a fun affair and an eye-opening moment for those that Effie and Paul welcomed into their home.

This is what Effie’s neighbor Tobie Atlas had to say:

Friends and Family were astonished

“I stepped into the foyer and immediately sensed that I was in a familiar place that had a wonderful new feel.   The fresh, vibrant colors on the walls and the new fixtures and carpets complemented the furniture and had the effect of casting new light in the rooms.   With some of the furniture repositioned and the fresh paint extending across room boundaries, it felt as if the rooms were larger and the ceilings were higher.   The whole ‘feel’ of the space was warm and welcoming.”

And Raina Ehler, commented upon how well m charles had captured Effie’s personality in the redesign:

“The designer’s vision portrayed Effie’s personality perfectly through his transformation.   At first look, the home appeared warm and inviting while the colors that flowed were vibrant and fun.   There was a perfect combination of rustic pieces and new touches that complimented one another.   Together they have created a home that is unique and polished.   I felt I had walked into a completely different space.   Simply amazing!”


Perhaps though the most amusing moment of the night was when Effie and Paul’s seven year old nephew, Daniel Cunningham, first walked in.

“Wow, WOW,” he exclaimed not knowing whether to look left or right.

And as for Effie?

“My home is completed, and I am more than delighted. It came out better than my wildest dreams! I had a lovely dinner party a few nights ago to ‘christen’ the gorgeous new dining room, and thanks to m charles, Linda and Marisa the room was both very elegant and sophisticated and the night enjoyed by all.”

All of this was completed both on time and within budget, which is extremely important in the current economic climate.


(m) + charles beach INTERIORS

470 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, MA 02210

(508) 361 7030


Share |
ONE is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.