Editor's Letter: Spring 2009

There’s a lot going on in the national ethos right now—enough to make a design magazine seem like a glossy extravagance. I have to admit even I was having a crisis of confidence this winter—before, that is, I had the good fortune of meeting the volunteers behind the Newton-based Room to Dream Foundation. The group’s designers, contractors, and artists donate their considerable talent to redo the rooms of chronically ill children from low-income families—a kind of local Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, if you will.

At the foundation’s holiday party in December, I was reluctant to watch the informational video. I suspected—rightly so, it turns out—I’d be a weepy mess by the end. And it wasn’t just me reaching for a cocktail napkin; when the kids entered their super-cool new rooms, their sheer joy had most attendees tearing up. We knew these children hadn’t felt that good in a long, long time.

So maybe design is bigger than just aesthetics alone. If a space has the power to shape how we feel about ourselves, then perhaps design magazines are like non-prescription remedies for the blues. To increase this issue’s potency, we asked six local designers to divulge their secrets for sprucing up bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms without breaking the bank. They obliged, and here we offer you the go-to guide for small décor moves that will make a big impact on your space.

We’re also proud to show off Boston-based interior designer Meichi Peng’s most exciting project to date, a minimalist Newbury Street condo [“Above and Beyond“], and a painstakingly detailed house on Martha’s Vineyard by New York architects ARO [“Vineyard Heaven“]. Both projects show that the appearance of simplicity belies a heightened attention to detail, and that truly great design is at once inspiring and livable.

Now, I’m not saying design can solve the world’s problems, but it can put us in a stronger emotional position to do the work we need to do—whether that’s battling a chronic illness or creating a comfortable space to call our own.