ciates Inc. of Lexington, Massachusetts. For the plum interior design
assignment, they turned to Rose Ann, who commuted from Vermont
as needed to plan and execute the decorating scheme. Since the renovation, she has “rediscovered Boston and the dazzle of the Boston
Design Center” and has happily relocated her firm, Home Life by Rose
Ann Humphrey, back to the city.
She worked closely with Pamela, who was well prepared with magazine tear sheets and photographs of rooms whose look she admired.
The program was clear: The couple wanted a home full of the warmth of
a place that was truly lived in, as well as a gracious, historic setting for
the parties they love to give. “We want people to feel at home here, to
feel welcome and to be comfortable sitting in any chair,” Pamela says.
The couple are active in the nonprofit life of the city. Pamela, a
founding member of the New England Aquarium, is cotrustee with
John of the Boston Ballet, where he’s now chairman emeritus after 15
years of leadership. Together, they support youth symphonies, Trinity Church choirs, and a host of educational
activities, all of which they consider nourishment for the
soul. Philanthropic volunteering is central to their life.
“In Europe and Asia, cultural activities are funded by the
government,” says John. “Here, philanthropy is absolutely essential.”
An important part of that role, he adds, is “bringing people together,”
which he and Pamela often do for the various groups they support by
hosting memorable parties in their home.
Designer and clients were friends before the redo began and
remained good friends after its completion. “Rose Ann is magical in
the way she fulfills a client’s design wishes,” says John. Adds Pamela:
“Working together was definitely a challenge, because I have very
strong views of my own. She was totally responsive to reflecting our
personas, using her design experience and knowledge.”
For Rose Ann, the joy of interior design is what she calls “the pro-
cess of listening closely, then helping people find their visual voices.”
In this instance, she even shopped with the couple’s three daughters,
individually guiding each to make her own choices.
Rose Ann began with the bones of the house, persuading the Humphreys to have the first floor’s oak-paneled walls painted creamy white.
“All that dark wood was just too gloomy,” she says. She gave equal
attention to the Humphreys’ preference for color, texture, and pattern, painting the living room walls Pamela’s choice of pink (bathed in
milky glaze for patina) and using a stunning burnt orange/apricot paint
choice in the dramatic dining room.
The second floor holds the master suite, a guest room, and John’s
study, while the daughters’ bedrooms and Pamela’s study are on the
third floor. The top floor holds a media room with a flat-screen television and a pool table. On the garden level, there is a prep kitchen, a
wine cellar, and an exercise room.
The house is proud testament to the staying power of good design.
All parties still marvel at the ultimate success of their collaboration.
“How do you make a vertical space as large as this one cohesive?” asks
Pamela. “It was a challenge, but I think that, with Rose Ann’s help, we
accomplished it.” Says John: “When I come home from a trip, I go to
my upstairs study, light the fireplace, turn on music, get a book, and it
feels like putting on a suit made expressly for me. It makes me happy