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STUFF magazine

 Lofty Theories by Cheryl Fenton STUFF magazine|  October 04, 2010
 
A sterile environment is expected in a physician's office. It might even be okay for an investment professional - financial transactions aren't exactly touchy-feely endeavors. But who wants to bring their work home with them? Not Peter Grayson, an internist for Boston Medical Center, nor his wife Dayna, a principal at North Bridge Venture Partners. They want to end their busy days in a home that's a welcoming haven.Their challenge: adding life to the South End loft they purchased three years ago. "We have a big, open loft apartment that was feeling a bit sterile," says Dayna. "We wanted to give it warmth and character. "With 1,800 square feet, high ceilings, and two gigantic living-room windows, this two-bedroom home offered opportunities galore. To capitalize on them, the Graysons called upon colorTHEORY (colortheory-boston.com), a full-service, residential interior-styling company in Boston. Creator/co-owner Brad Dufton, together with co-owner Benjamin Scott, set out to give the home a complete paint makeover."The Graysons have great taste, and their current furniture selections, art, and accessories are amazing, but they needed a style makeover," says Dufton. "The pieces could be highlighted and appreciated so much more by strategic placement and new paint colors."
 
"We first hired [colorTHEORY] to hang wallpaper after hearing tales of wallpaper projects ruining otherwise great relationships," laughs Dayna. The wallpaper was a very posh Osborne & Little design that immediately added drama and sophistication to aformerlyall-beige room. The relationship between interior stylist and client blossomed further when the Graysons reached out again in August for a project that was a bit livelier . . . literally.With their first child due on November 5, the Graysons wanted to bring more life into a home that would soon have new life. Since they didn't know the baby's sex, pink and blue weren't on the table. Instead, gender-neutral themes and colors became the creative mainstays for colorTHEORY's work - not a problem."I love to reimagine every space I walk into. It's as if my third eye takes over. Instantly I see an entire room redesigned, resembling nothing of its past," says Dufton.
 
He first focused, naturally, on the nursery, transforming the city space into an "outdoor" escape. Dayna's love of birch trees - which appropriately enough, are said to signify new beginnings - allowed for a modern motif instead of typical baby-room fare. Drawing on the skills that earned him a fine-arts degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Scott began hand-painting birch trees for an unexpected realistic effect that Peter calls "urban camouflage."Since the room lacked natural light, they kept the overall color scheme crisp. Looking to complement the birches' black, white, and gray, Dufton wasintuitivelydrawn toward bluish greens, suggestingBenjamin Moore's Crystalline - an immediate hit. Stylish, gender-neutral white bedding and a sleek crib and dresser completed the design. A low table (a family heirloom of Dayna's) received a color facelift, and an old-fashioned floor lamp was painted a burnt-orange color, expertly matched to contrasting elements in the bedding. Inspired by the rich burnt-orange details, Dufton suggested a special twist - five orange birds painted on the birch trees, each representing a member of the Grayson family: Peter, Dayna, their newborn, their cat Wheezy, and their
dog Cassius.
 
Classic yet modern hues transformed the rest of the home. Dufton painted all columns andvents a dark chocolate brown, and every other wall became either a soft gray or off-white, changes that accentuated "the home's tranquil yet hip personality," he says. Dayna agrees: "The place feels more sophisticated without compromising the quirky, youthful loft aspect."
 
As the front entryway is the window, so to speak, to a home's true personality, Dufton decided to make it a unique focal point. "They have a huge one that could really knock their guests' socks off as they enter their home for the first time," he explains.After learning of Peter's fascination with feng shui, mirrored in some of the home's Asian accessories, Dufton took the ancient theory of positive aesthetics into consideration and turned the entryway's largest wall into artwork. Inspired byAsianminimalism, Dufton created three vertical stripes and five horizontal stripes to add up to eight - a number that symbolizesgood luck in feng shui. But in this project, at least, luck evidently wasn't needed."They used paint in surprising ways to accentuate the unique structural characteristics of our place," says Peter. "He fearlessly painted columns and ceiling treatments, and with great joy, we watched our place spring
to life."
 

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