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It’s All In The Details

Cape designer offers a few helpful tips on creating beautiful, cohesive interior design.

Pastiche of Cape Cod

Photograph by Dan Cutrona

When putting the finishing touches on a room, whether in a summer home or a year-round residence, Irina MacPhee of Pastiche of Cape Cod advises homeowners not to overlook the final 20 percent of a given project, the few critical—yet often overlooked—items that can help tie a room together and draw the eye.

“Lighting in the form of table and floor lamps or even overhead light fixtures, accessories such as oversized pillows and throws, and even art are the things that make up what I call the last 20 percent in a room,” says MacPhee, who owns the West Barnstable-based company with her husband, John. “Fresh flowers or everlasting florals are also a nice touch and part of the ‘20 percent’. These are small things, but they make all the difference in the look and feel of a room.”

MacPhee suggests using what she calls a “plumb line” when selecting colors for the home. This means choosing a color that will appear in every room, thereby tying the individual rooms together to create a sense of cohesiveness throughout the home. The color does not have to be exactly the same shade in each room, MacPhee says, but tonal variations will do the trick. 

“People feel comfortable in a home that has some balance.” Irina MacPhee, Pastiche of Cape Cod

It's all in the details, Cape Cod HOME | capecodlife.com

Photograph by Dan Cutrona

When staging a home in Dennis recently, MacPhee chose teal and teal tones to serve as the plumb line. In the family room, lamps and seafoam green toss pillows helped establish a theme while adding a pop of color to neutral sand tones in the river-rock fireplace surround. These accessories also picked up the greens and blues in the cushions of the counter stools as well as the seafoam green in the porch furniture. The end result is a unified, beachy look. “Carrying the color from one room to the next does not have to be difficult,” MacPhee says. “It can be as simple as putting a throw blanket on the bed.”

When homeowners choose unrelated colors for the different rooms in their home, MacPhee says the house can feel a bit disjointed. “People feel comfortable in a home that has some balance,” she says, “and the way to create that balance is to use a plumb line. It brings it all together so that each room is related to the other.”

The designer says other common mistakes occur when homeowners or others tasked with a home’s design fail to consider scale. “Scale is a very important part of interior design, and it is the part that most people get wrong,” MacPhee says. “You must consider the scale of furniture, accessories and art; it can help to call in a professional to help with this process. A room can be large but feel very cluttered because the scale of the furniture or accessories is wrong.”

MacPhee says another design faux pas occurs when the concept of layering is neglected. “Most people put furniture around a room but don’t put a lamp behind the furniture or in front of a picture,” she says. Layering is important, MacPhee adds, as it can provide an important detail: depth. “You want the room,” she says, “to be three-dimensional.”

Pastiche of Cape Cod is at 1595 Main St. in West Barnstable, with a seasonal shop at 8 South St. in Dennis Port. For more information, call 508-362-8006, or visit pasticheofcapecod.com.

Mary Stanley is a regular contributor for Cape Cod Life Publications.



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