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.

Marni Katz,
Age: 41. Location: Back Bay. Years blogging: One. Day job: Editor of and freelance writer. When and where do you blog? Anywhere and everywhere. I mostly work on a sofa under bay windows overlooking Beacon Street. When the weather’s nice, I’ll go to the Clarendon Street Playground. How much time do you spend online? Twelve hours a day, give or take a few. How did you get started? The demise of Domino was the impetus behind Style Carrot. If they weren’t going to provide accessible yet fashion-forward design advice for me, then I would do it myself. Describe your style. Clean, crisp, modern, and uncluttered.

“A few years ago I discovered Rio de Janeiro artist Beatriz Milhazes. Her work was hanging in a living room featured in a glossy mag (perhaps Elle Decor). I perused her work online, but it simply wasn’t in the budget.”

“The ubiquitous pouf. They’re everywhere. Moroccan-style poufs, knitted poufs, even wire poufs (though not sure those are actually poufy). I finally purchased one for myself.”

“Here’s to a sparkling New Year. Cheers! xoxo.”


Jane Miller, J.E.M.

Age: 33. Location: South End. Bio: Originally from Connecticut; earned a master’s in interior design at the University of California at Berkeley. Previously worked at Koo de Kir, Rafanelli Events, and a San Francisco interiors firm. Opened J.E.M. in September 2009. What catches your eye? I subscribe to the Japanese principle of wabi-sabi, which is about finding beauty in imperfection. I carry things that are beautiful in unexpected ways, that have a history or a prior function. Why the South End? Thanks to the sophistication of the neighborhood, my life and work are intertwined. I’ve started doing in-store “salons” featuring artists and designers like contemporary German artist Rene Spitzer. In general, I’m really optimistic about Boston design. I see entrepreneurs—architecture firms like Office dA and retailers like Acquire—taking chances and pushing the traditionalist envelope.

Jonathan O’Toole & Wendy Friedman, Grand

Age: Both 34. Location: Union Square. Bio: The pair met a decade ago while working at the record label Rykodisc in Salem, and opened Grand in 2006. Friedman is an art director at Hill, Holliday; O’Toole is a founder of the marketing company BzzAgent. What catches your eye? [Friedman:] I like design that’s bright and smart and sometimes clever, but still classic. Why Union Square? We wanted to enter an area where most people don’t expect to find a design-oriented store. We’ve held events ranging from whiskey tastings to book signings to trunk shows. Since we opened, there’s been an influx of young entrepreneurs in the neighborhood—and we think that we’ve helped inspire that.