Design Detour: Kate Coughlin


Kate Coughlin’s work strikes a rare balance between refinement and livability, and the result is the ultimate fresh take on traditional interiors. Her material palette, which varies from natural (sisal and grasscloth) to classic (brass and animal prints) to modern (lucite galore), speaks to a broader eclecticism that is no easy feat.

Photography: Sarah M Winchester

“Boston is steeped in history, but it’s important to keep spaces from feeling too stuffy,” Coughlin says. “I consider comfort and practicality as well as sophistication, always with an awareness of the architectural surroundings.”


“Boston is a tight design community, and I was lucky enough to be included with a fabulous group of local designers for a special dinner that was hosted at Menton. Barbara Lynch is a renowned local chef, and the interiors and food at Menton are equally refined. I’d love to head back there with my friends Lucie Beauchemin, Honey Collins, Annsley McAleer, Josh Steinwand, Charles Spada and Kristin Paton, to name a few.”

Photo: IG @studio534_boston

“If I'm looking for accessories, Icon Group is one of my first stops for beautiful decorative boxes and  seagrass baskets, among other things. I enjoy popping into Autrefois in Brookline to look for treasures—they have a wonderful collection of antique mirrors and French commodes. And I love Studio 534 in the Boston Design Center...I've known Josh Steinwand since I moved from New York to Boston over 20 years ago and have loved watching him grow his business and showroom.”

Clemente Double Sconce by: AERINClemente Double Sconce by: AERIN

“Usually you'll find a lot of recessed lighting in a kitchen, but I think it's important not to overlook the decorative lighting opportunity. In a traditional, Tudor home, I used Clemente Double Sconces in brass with black shades as task lighting above the sink and cabinetry, which coordinated beautifully with the black and brass of the Lacanche range."


Daniel Lajoie at Lussier Lajoie Framing has an expert eye. I appreciate how instead of recommending a typical wood frame for antique prints, he  always has a fresh take, using painted finishes with gold accents to complement the art beautifully.”


“I love to incorporate a bit of ikat in a room to give it an eclectic feel. The smaller than normal width of ikat fabrics lets you play with the repeat to make the overall effect even more dramatic. I used a great ikat from Bermingham & Co to recover an antique settee in a Beacon Hill living room, resulting in a great mix of old and new.”


“I recently selected the Signoret Medium Chandelier for a library. I love the idea of bringing a contemporary piece into a more traditional space. This fixture provides both up and down lighting, which creates a nice ambience.”



“I added Axis 18" Picture Lights in brass to beautiful book shelves finished in a navy lacquer.”


"I installed a series of Edwardian Open Bottom Flush Mounts in brass with white glass where recessed lighting would typically go."