Before selling their Cambridge home, Rachel Dunham’s clients did some serious purging. Little did they realize that their next home, a new Colonial in Newton Lower Falls, would boast an entire wall of built-ins. “They read Marie Kondo’s book and got rid of everything,” says the Arlington-based designer. While they didn’t want to re-clutter, leaving it bare wasn’t an option. To round out the family-friendly decor, Dunham curated a mix of items from big-box stores and boutiques. She hit up a Facebook community page called Everything Is Free to find books to use for massing. “A lady who was cleaning out her mother-in-law’s place filled up my trunk with them,” Dunham says. “I just took off jackets and created arrangements by color.”

1. Dunham layered an Afghan rug from Gregorian Oriental Rugs in Newton Lower Falls on top of a wool broadloom carpet. “We needed to ground the room with something larger,” she says.

2. Gizmo loves the textured velvet daybed as much as the rest of the family. “They all fight over it,” Dunham says. The cut-out back allows visibility through the French doors. The blanket is from Syd + Sam in Cambridge.

3. Buttercup-colored velvet pillows are paired with striped linen ones that play off the drapery. Dunham says, “I knew I wanted yellow, but just opted for little pops.”

4. The sea-foam green washable cotton/linen upholstery for the sofa was the starting point. “I begin with a palette of fabrics and figure out how to work them into a room,” the designer says.

5. Dunham chose a Schumacher fabric with skinny wavy stripes for the window treatments. “I do a lot of black metal hardware for windows,” Dunham says. “It really pops against white walls.”

6. Lounge chairs from Room & Board are mainly used for entertaining. Dunham says, “I always try to mix in leather for warmth.” Saltwoods in Watertown made the custom walnut coffee table with black metal base.


Marni Elyse Katz is a regular contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.

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