Letting the View Shine

PROFILE-The Interior Design Issue, February 2012

DESIGNER: James Light | Simply Home

Photography Trent Bell

 This Space, This Way:

When the young family who lives there now first purchased this home, the walls in the living room were red with a purple accent wall, the floors were yellow oak, and the hearth was natural brick. “When you entered the space,” recalls designer James Light, “it took several minutes before your eyes were able to rest on the amazing view.”

With that in mind, Light came up with the concept of low color contrast to make the room restful and noncompetitive. “I wanted there to be enough color so that it would not be a white box and yet would stand up to the gray, foggy days when you just can’t rely on the vista alone. I thought about the local color: a rocky shoreline, seaweed-covered rocks, and lots and lots of mussel shells. This palette would be our starting point.”

From there, Light had the floors stained a medium brown, the walls painted a neutral color, and the fireplace painted out black with a slate gray stone surround. “Color and pattern came from the rug in tones of lavender, beige, brown, and sand. Then we made choices to layer the room with textures and tones and comfort. Coming through the door, the first thing I wanted a visitor to do was gasp at the natural beauty just outside the movie-screen-sized window.”  

Signature Style:

“I want you to see, touch, feel, and experience all of the furnishings and decoration that I bring to the rooms I design—but how can I compete with the splendor of the Maine coastline, lobster boats bobbing by, and the long view of pine-covered islands?”

Trick of the Trade:

“Sometimes during a first meeting with a client I will look and listen for clues to get a color palette going. Often an entire room design can be spun from one cherished object. Is there a painting that they especially love? Is there a row of seashells on the window ledge? Is there a bowl of assorted fruit on the counter or is there a white ironstone bowl full of tangerines? Sometimes I will ask to look inside someone’s closet. A lot can be discerned from one’s sweater collection!”

The Goods:

Painting above the fireplace: America Martin, americamartin.com at
Carver Hill Gallery, carverhillgallery.com
Hooked rug: The New England Collection, necrugs.com
Glass lamps: Barbara Cosgrove, barbaracosgrovelamps.com
Sofa: Hickory Chair Furniture Company, hickorychair.com
Grass-cloth-covered parson side tables: Bungalow 5, bungalow5.com
Hand block-printed pillow fabric: Galbraith & Paul, galbraithandpaul.com
Woven rattan chairs: Barbara Barry, barbarabarry.com
Turned side table: Oly Studios, olystudio.com
Cashmere & wool throw: Sanford Design, sanfordesign.com

All furnishings available through the designer at Simply Home

For More: [email protected]

Share The Inspiration