This and That – what’s been going on

Hello! I took a bit of an unexpected blogging break this summer – nothing planned and nothing is wrong. I just got busy and realized I needed to give myself a break from worry over it and maybe get back my blogging mojo. So, I thought I’d at least check in and let you know what’s been going on!

Saying goodbye to Summer

Sunset on Duxbury Beach

Every couple of years a group of friends from high school head out to Duxbury Beach (our hometown beach) for a fun evening barbecue and bonfire. We went this past Sunday and it’s so true, old friends (well, not OLD) are the best! We have to 4-wheel drive it out to where we can light the fires and we bring a whole lot of beach chairs and food.

Bon fire logs on Duxbury beach

This year, one of our friends brought these cool logs to burn. He felled a juniper and then cross cut the stumps down from one end and hollowed out the core part way down. He then filled with some kindling and they burned for hours from the inside out. No pit digging or tending necessary. It’s such a great idea and they looked fabulous too!

Nighttime on Duxbury Beach

We got there at 4:00 and by 5:00 we pretty much had that end of the beach to ourselves until we packed it in at 9:00. I thought this photo above looked like we were picnicking on the moon.

A Time of Change

Kathie Chrisicos Clinton Smith Linda Merrill
Kathie Chrisicos, Chrisicos Interiors; Clinton Smith, New England Home;  and Linda Merrill at Ann Sacks Boston Showroom

In August, I finally got to meet Clinton Smith, the new Editor in Chief of New England Home Magazine. In the spring it was announced that long time editor in chief Kyle Hoepner was stepping down after many years guiding the magazine to pursue other interests. It was a sad moment when this was announced because Kyle not only helmed the magazine to be the arbiter of all things wonderful in New England design but he was a constant presence on the local design scene from supporting charitable events to moderating the popular B|A|D Talks for the last few years. Change can be hard and it was hard to imagine who would be a worthy successor. Well, enter Clinton Smith. Former editor of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles AND more recently Veranda magazine. Oh! Okay!! That was exciting news. Clinton and I have known each other via social media for several years but had never met, so it was fun to finally meet him at the welcome event at the Ann Sacks Showroom at the Boston Design Center in August.  I loved this photo (above) taken at the event with Kathie Chrisicos, one of my design besties, and Clinton and me, cocktail in hand!

New England Home magazine Sept Oct 2019
Cover photo by John Gould Bessler | Interior Design by Laura Hilderbrand Interiors | Architecture by Polhemus Savery DaSilva

The current issue still features the content put together by Kyle and as time goes on, we’ll see more and more of Clinton’s vision for the future of the magazine. It will be exciting!

On the drawing board


I started working on a fun project this summer – turning a finished (but bland) basement into a pub and media room! The room has a wet bar complete with dishwasher and under counter fridge, but an awkwardly placed window makes for a challenge. As with all my custom design projects, we started with a Style Concept & Design phase where I offered two styles and a few different layout options. They started by suggesting an Old English pub style, complete with one wall clad in stone. I fleshed out this concept as well as a Rustic Tuscan Wine bar concept.

These were a few of my inspiration images.

English Pub

The English style, above, included Ralph Lauren’s Polo Club in New York and a couple of different actual English pubs in England. I liked the paneled woody warmth, high back settees and brass details.

Rustic tuscan wine bar

The Rustic Tuscan Wine bar is more like Tuscan meets Napa Valley with some laid back style (the middle image is from Brooke and Steve Giannetti mixed with a little cozy elegance.

Basement pub English Pub design by Linda Merrill
English Pub Design Concept Rendering by Linda Merrill

And above and below are my renderings fleshing out the style concept. Details will likely change, but it’s enough to get the look and feel of the two styles. The English Pub style would have board and batten style walls and some beams on the ceiling. Plus warm and cozy furnishings, and brass detailing.

Basement Rustic Wine Bar
Rustic Tuscan Wine Bar Design & Rendering by Linda Merrill

The Rustic Tuscan Wine Bar style would have more reclaimed wood columns and beams with the walls painted to look like stucco. The bar walls would be clad in a wide plank rustic wood and the fabrics would be neutral and comfortable. The metals would be wrought iron and steel. I am also recommending custom glass shelving up the back wall in front of the window.  The tv viewing area will have two levels of seating tucked behind a newly built pony wall, which will allow for another level of high top seating on the bar side.

Note that the renderings above are not final – they were done in order to get across the two style concepts. My clients are clearly leaning towards one style versus the other. We’re meeting in a couple of days to make final decisions.

Can you guess which style will be the winner?


Speaking of WINNING!

I was nominated again for the Amara Blog Awards in the category of Best International Interior Designer Blogger! I’d be honored for your vote! Voting is now closed – think you! Shortlisted blogs will then be announced and will be judged by a panel of judges with the winners to be announced at a big event in London later in the Fall!

I won 5 yards of this luscious velvet called Tizian from JAB Ansteotz Group in Germany. I have plans in the works for what I plan to do with this fabric – to be announced at a later date!


Coming Up

Coming up tomorrow is the launch party for the current issue of Boston Home Magazine at LaFauci Tile & Marble. And Boston Design Market is the first week in October!

So, we’re jumping right into fall! Are you ready?

xoxo Linda

15 thoughts on “This and That – what’s been going on”

  1. Not ready for Fall, exactly – but Fall comes to us late down here, so I’ve got a minute. I’m loving the hollowed fire logs. It looks like y’all had a great time at the beach party!

    • Hi Lisa – those logs were so cool and aesthetically pleasing! And the English pub is the winner. Mrs. Client strongly preferred it. Mr. Client also really liked the more rustic simpler approach as well, but the English pub is the direction!

  2. Love that log fire – don’t know that I’d have the opportunity or wherewithal to do it, but it is very cool! And it will be fun to see what direction New England Home takes under new leadership! Congrats on the Amara nomination – that is awesome and I’m headed over to vote now!

  3. I’m betting on the lighter concept for that basement. It’s gorgeous. Very curious to see where they end up.

    What a lovely post—truly like having a catch-up conversation with a friend. AND now I know about that log idea:)

  4. The Hyannis Home Depot was selling similar logs for burning on the beach this summer. Actually I should had kept some of the logs that we ended up with after all the tree damage we incurred from the tornado that hit Harwich in July.


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