Welcome to Design track mind by Melissa Gulley

I am an interior designer from Newton, MA having a lot of fun writing this blog between client appointments, kid stuff, kid school stuff, dog stuff, husband stuff, husband's company stuff (http://www.fueldog.com/), life stuff, old house stuff, family stuff, extended family stuff and the rest of the detail stuff. I am not a writer (clearly) so please ignore the typo's, spelling mistakes and desperate need for proofreading.

This Old House, Newton, MA - A case study in design decision making.

Well tonight (Saturday Jan 22 2011) is the airing of the final episode of This Old House Auburndale project.  Here at home in Newton, MA it’s on at 5:00 pm on PBS channel 2 (check your local listings for the time in your area)  It was an incredible project to be part of and an honor to be chosen to participate.  The cast and crew are terrific and absolute masters at what they do – they’re pretty funny too!

I was hired to be the Interior designer for This Old House somewhere around June 1st.  I was immediately thrown into this very exciting project - literally I hit the ground running. The crew has regular weekly meetings in which everyone is present. This was really great!  All issues are quickly looked at, deadlines discussed and responsibilities allocated….I wish all construction jobs did this.  Every week Allison, Raveen and I have poured over plumbing and lighting catalogs, visited show rooms and attacked all decisions head on.  As you know the number of decisions to be made is both daunting and dizzying (check out this post on the This Old House blog to see what I mean)  and to keep the job on track they must be systematically discussed, researched, analyzed and finalized on schedule. 

With any project, you need to start with some sort of inspiration or a road map that starts the ball rolling for visual decisions.  This can be a carpet, fabric, piece of art, existing furniture or even a picture from a book or magazine.  This gives you visual context, and even the most creatively challenged person can start to imagine or dream about the outcome with this in place.  Once you have this and the house starts to get a bit more mapped out as to how it might look, all other decisions start to be easier to make.  Sometimes, as in this case, you find that inspiration just by starting and it organically grows from there.

For This Old House, I knew Allison and Raveen Sharma liked color - reds, oranges, yellows, greens.  Allison had started a file for magazine pictures she liked - this is incredibly helpful and the first thing I have my client's do if they haven’t started already. They had an existing green cabinet that started the inspiration for accent color in the kitchen.  We went to gather various paint chips (many bright greens like their cabinet) and then took the chips tile shopping.  Allison likes white kitchens, clean, bright and fresh.  This and the green from their cabinet inspired our tile choosing experience.The kitchen came together quickly.  Allison and Raveen started having fun!  I think they saw that it was not impossible to nail down and suddenly they were really excited about the possible outcome.

Next came the color for the rest of the first floor.  Raveen showed me a book opened to a spread he LOVED- reds oranges/yellows and yummy chocolate browns.  We need to then delve into fabric and carpet to connect this white and bright green kitchen to these other rich colors for adjoining spaces.  As you will see, we were working towards a VERY open floor plan(hmmmmmm??????).  We needed flow and we found it with fabric! Osborne and Little had this incredible red linen, printed with a contemporary flower pattern - the flowers were chocolate, green, rich orange and yellow- Slam dunk!

CHris Chu, Architect, Newton, MA, Melissa Gulley

From here the look of the first floor was born.






The foyer turned out to be incredibly warm, inviting and very personalized



My favorite thing we did during this project was to frame the kids art work in these similar frames to create the best gallery around- how can you walk by this without smiling!

The second floor didn't need to be as connected in color as the first floor.  The kids rooms are very unique and reflect the kids that live in them. 


The kids bathroom is a simple classic black and white bath accented by a fun Turquoise (I had to leave my stamp somewhere)



For the Master bedroom, Allison and Raveen wanted a sanctuary, peaceful and serene (as tranquil as it can get with two elementary school age kids, a bunny and two full time jobs)  The limited pallet of cream and blue with varying textures was the perfect fit.



DSC_0230 (2)

Finally the Basement- one of my favorite spots. A large colorful bright open space with two seating areas- one for TV and one for reading by the fire or playing games.



This house really turned out great- it absolutely reflects the homeowners Allison and Raveen who are nice, kind, fun, warm people and who made doing this project an absolute joy- Cheers!


  1. Wow!! Gorgeous, Melissa! Congratulations on such an accomplishment...must have been a dream come true:)

  2. Oh Melissa, the photos came out so fantastic! I am so lucky to get to live in this beautiful house:)

  3. How absolutely gorgeous everything is! Congrats Melissa and to everyone who worked on this wonderful project!

  4. It is spectacular, every room but I especially love the vibrant red living room, the bathrooms and the basement. Oh heck, and the master bedrom too. Amazing job and kudos for pulling it off in such a short time frame. You are the best there is!

  5. It is supercalifragilisticexpealidious. What's not to love.

  6. You've done it again - gorgeous! There are so many aspects I love. Here are a few I'd like to mention below.

    Zebra ottoman - I never would have thought about putting a zebra ottoman with red and brown circles - it looks awesome.

    Both bathrooms are so perfect - that's the nicest master bath tile floor design I've ever seen.

    Master bedroom window fabrics and different textures in the room.

    The decor doesn't look just beautiful, it looks functional as well.


  7. The Auburndale project came out beautifully! You did a great job sharing the behind-the-scenes design decisions with us on the show. Loved seeing it all come together! Well done, Melissa!

  8. I just finished watching the finale with my family on this snow day. We loved the finished product and think you did a great job! We are in the midst of our own renovation and I am sure I will look back over the pictures of this project many times for ideas on the details. Thank you!

  9. I LOVED what you did w/ this house. Brava!

  10. omg - this is fabulous!!! I love the orange colors - all the colors, it's so bright and cozy and friendly!!!!!

    thank you too so much for this:http://www.pragmaticmom.com/?p=15613

    I was so shocked! thank you a million times.


  11. As always....Melissa's work is AMAZING! I am a huge fan and love the color, personality and style she brings to every project! Every project is unique - and beautiful! I think Melissa needs her own Design Show!

  12. hi,
    I found you after watching the TOH Auburndale project. It turned out so beautifully. I was really impressed by your color choices. Could you please list what colors you used for the master bedroom walls, master bathroom (walls and cabinet color) and kid's bathroom walls? I am in the midst of a small bathroom reno - have purchased grey floor, and cream subway tiles w/mother of pearl accents and have to choose the paint tomorrow! The colors in the above rooms might be perfect. Thank you!

  13. Wow. There are so many ideas here for us all to steal! Love what you did. Plenty of color, but also restrained in all the right places. Nice work.