Boston Home Spring 2010: Next Generation Design

Introducing the up-and-coming design pros who will shape the way we build our homes, decorate our living rooms, spend our free time, and think about the city in the decade to come.

Furniture Wiz
Jessica Woodward, 38, Jessica Woodward Furniture

Jessica Woodward grew up working alongside her father, a carpenter and general contractor, so she’s no stranger to sawdust and the vagaries of wood. After attending several schools and working for custom furniture- and cabinetmakers, Woodward formed her own design company three years ago. “I think that you can take really simple pieces and create something beautiful with elegant joinery,” she says. Her furniture frequently incorporates reclaimed elements, from wheels from old South Station luggage carts to used butcher-block countertops to drawers from what was once a desk. “I love exposing the gorgeous grains of the woods and designing each corner with the highest degree of craftsmanship. These are the things that can elevate furniture to art.”


Spatial Artisans
Lindsay Bentis, 32, Thread Art and Design, and Kara Butterfield, 36, MakeReady

Kara Butterfield (shown at right) knows drama: She started out designing theatrical sets. Attending to mood-setting details is key in interior design, too, she says. “Lighting is an important aspect, so I think of that in the early stage of a project.” After relocating to Boston from Australia, she joined forces with designer Lindsay Bentis to hold style clinics for would-be clients. While each maintains her own business for smaller projects, the duo works in tandem on grand overhauls. Sharing a cheery aesthetic and a knack for mixing high- and low-end, they’re livening up this town one room at a time.

Mistress of Minimal
Fernanda Bourlot, 39, Simplemente Blanco

To some, an all-white palette might seem like an anti–color scheme. But for Buenos Aires native Fernanda Bourlot and the legions of locals who come to her for style advice, neutrality is transcendent. Her ideal clients, she says, are dreamers: “Young people, in age or in spirit. I like free minds, and people who want to take some risks.” Whether she’s choosing products for her South End home accessories showroom or designing a client’s abode, achieving calm is always her goal. “I try to get as much natural light into a room as possible. Everything goes from there,” she explains. The result of such restraint? A clean style that feels pure and organic, not forced.

Change Agents
Brad Dufton, 32, and Benjamin Scott, 34, ColorTheory

When it comes to color, fabrics, and even rethinking a room’s layout, Brad Dufton (shown at left) and Benjamin Scott are jacks-of-all-trades: They tackle everything from a simple paint job to reimagining an entire home. And they bring plenty of design savvy to the table: The duo met while working for luxe furniture store Roche Bobois, and Dufton spent a few years selling Boston real estate. But while they’re well acquainted with the Hub’s high-end clientele, they’re hardly stodgy. “I enjoy the impact of fashion on our homes,” Dufton says of their decidedly modern approach. “Stripes and graphic patterns, daring colors, plush textures…I’m tired of the safe, contemporary look that has drowned Boston for so long.” Adds Scott, “I want to see combinations of styles and periods. I’ll take ideas from anywhere. Good design is good design.”