What was once a church, built in 1827 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, over time became a family home. With its arched windows, vaulted ceilings, exposed beams, and even a bell-tower it had a lot of original charm. When this couple who work in Boston first bought the place it was dark, had an oversized and heavy fireplace and lacked a good floor plan. “The space also didn’t feel like it represented the couple, who have a love for unique textiles and eclectic art,” said Barbara Vail, of Galyean Vail, the designer that the couple hired to take on this project.

Using the historical architecture as inspiration, Barbara wanted to be true to the unique details of the space while also bringing in the couple’s needs and style into it. Opening up the living room and dining room was key to creating a better flow. To bring in warmth, she had custom roman shades by Mokum made for the arched windows. To emphasize the height of the ceilings, she chose a bright white for the walls and tall brass bookshelves.

The next step was creating sophistication and bringing in the couple’s personal style. As travelers, they had a deep love for unique textiles and eclectic art. “We went back and forth a couple times on the style of rug,” she explained. “Originally we had a faded Oushak rug but then opted for a more saturated, hand knotted, Persian rug. Because it was sourced locally, we were able to try it out in the space before finalizing the one we wanted.” This gave them the option of seeing how the rug would tie in the rest of the accessories such as the John Robshaw pillows. The other important feature of space was the fireplace — holding such a prominent position in the room, it needed a complete makeover. Barbara chose a beautiful tile from Waterworks that is made from actual lava rock in a rectangular pattern.

The final details made the space. A fig tree from a local shop called Niche brought in some greenery and life into the home. “A lot of the books were from the bargain basement of a local bookstore and many of the accessories were found on sale at the Cambridge Antique Market,” Barbara said. Having added in the details along with some important style changes to the space, she was able to give the homeowners the organic, thoughtful and elegant space that they wanted.