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Dark Colors and Vibrant Artwork Update This Home’s Traditional Coastal Look

Dark Colors and Vibrant Artwork Update This Home's Traditional Coastal Look

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Wolf in Sheep Design founder Alina Wolhardt’s moody take on coastal style suits her family just fine.


Photo by Jared Kuzia

Following a water main break that left their SoWa condo building uninhabitable in 2020, interior designer Alina Wolhardt, and her husband Jay Gordon, who owns the sneaker mecca Bodega, decided to downsize in the city and purchase a second home on the coast. Six months later, the couple closed on a 2,400-plus-square-foot cedar-shingled contemporary in Truro, an Outer Cape town they have long loved. Despite its 1990s provenance, Wolhardt recognized that the house had good bones. “The upstairs ceilings are high and have Douglas fir beams from the Berkshires,” the designer says. “It was obviously built with love.”

Before the couple, their four-year-old son, and their dog moved in, Wolhardt spruced up the shell. “The interior was wood on wood,” she says, so just painting the walls and trim white “made a huge difference.” The crisp backdrop serves as a breezy foil to the deep, rich elements the designer would also incorporate. “I wanted it to be light and bright, but my love for moody moments always prevails,” she says.

Photo by Jared Kuzia

Take it to the Beach

Since the family had not yet secured a permanent place in Boston, Wolhardt was determined to make their existing city furniture work in the new, seaside setting. Although she initially contemplated getting a linen slipcover for the sapphire-blue velvet sofa in the living room, the designer says that pairing it with a light-colored carpet and playful yellow pillows dressed it down plenty. That they first lived here during the colder months, with the gas stove fired up, also helped her lean into the cozy, velvet-on-the-seashore sensibility.

Photo by Jared Kuzia

Photo by Jared Kuzia

Make Mealtime Magical

Rather than tuck the dining table into the sunny bay by the kitchen, Wolhardt made it a part of the living space. Four quirky, quilted chairs by Moooi stand unapologetically around the live-edge wood piece, as fantastical artwork by Zacharie Lanoue (curated by Olivia Ives-Flores) leans behind it. “I like a more formal, celebratory setup,” Wolhardt says. “We make it a point to gather around the table to enjoy our meals instead of slapping something together.”

Photo by Jared Kuzia

Do Coastal Differently

Wolhardt bows to inky inclinations even while nodding to nautical. Glossy black rattan chairs infuse coastal flair in the dining and living areas, while dark green threads intersperse a chunky jute rug in the library. Finally, a jute-wrapped metal mirror hangs atop a whale-printed wallcovering from Cole & Son in the kid’s bath. “At the end of the day it’s a beach house, but the décor is still true to my dark soul,” Wolhardt says.

Photo by Jared Kuzia

Treasure Their Finds

While a Cole & Son wallcovering with an etched cloud pattern on the ceiling of her son Leo’s room establishes a sophisticated setting that will grow with him, an oak trundle bed from local woodshop Order of the Arrow offers him freedom to display his treasures. “My child is a hoarder; every rock is a special rock, every twig is a special twig,” Wolhardt says with a laugh. “The backside of the headboard has two cubbies where he can make little piles out of sight.”

Photo by Jared Kuzia

Don’t Be Afraid to Go Dark

Since the lower-level guest room lacks sunlight, Wolhardt seized the chance to use a Cole & Son jungle-themed wallcovering she’d been obsessing over, combining it with a ceiling painted in Benjamin Moore’s “Great Barrington Green” and a vintage burgundy rug. “People think dark colors make a room feel smaller,” but actually, she says, they create “the opposite effect.” Now the space “feels like a boutique hotel room; embracing the darkness was the way to go.”

Interior Designer 
Wolf in Sheep Design


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