If the past two years have taught us anything, they’ve certainly emphasized the importance of our homes. Home has been where the heart is—along with the family, the work, the meals, and the safety. While local interior designers have taken on more work than ever, they’ve also come to appreciate the new role of our homes as the most precious space we have.
Three trusted North Shore interior designers—Gina Baran, Holly Gagne, and Linda Reilly Newall—all display their design sense and favorite pieces at their shops. Extensions of the design firms, the in-person shops help clients get a feel for what exactly they like—or don’t like.
“There’s nothing that we carry within our shop that I wouldn’t use even in my own home,” says Gina Baran. For a beautifully curated home that combines comfort with elegant design, pop into one of these shops for a little inspiration.
Gina Baran, Baran Home
On Pleasant Street in Newburyport, Gina Baran’s shop, Baran Home, features meticulously chosen home goods. Baran sells only items she uses in her own designs, and sources ethically from around the globe, maintaining relationships with fair-trade vendors.
While Gina Baran Interiors + Design is a full-service design firm “specializing in new builds, large renovations, and full home furnishings,” says Baran, the shop provides clients with just a taste, perfect for folks looking to spruce up a room or two at their own pace. Visitors to the store can chat with an associate for one-on-one design help, whether they’re redoing their living room and need guidance, they’re looking for a tidbit of decorating advice, or they just want to pop in and see what all the fuss is about.
“Baran Home is truly a way to achieve a designer look that’s approachable,” says Baran. She finds inspiration for her designs, which she calls “a refreshing take on modern coastal,” from her family’s Italian hometown and her trips to Mexico. In her store you’ll find lots of calming neutrals and interesting textures in selections from her favorite vendors and artisans.
Baran says she feels honored thinking of the lifelong memories families will make within rooms that she got to design. “It always gives me goosebumps to think about their story and how we have had a part in it,” she says.
49 Pleasant St., Newburyport, 617-564-3746, ginabaran.com
Linda Reilly Newall, Surroundings
At Surroundings Home Furnishings & Interior Design in Marblehead, Linda Reilly Newall displays some of her current favorite fabrics, furniture, wallpapers, and accessories. However, after working in the business for more than thirty years, the folks at Surroundings can find just about anything their clients may be looking for. “We have access to many resources, allowing us to create the type of home you wish to live in,” says Newall.
Textile selection is one of Surroundings’ specialties, and there’s no better way to discover the textiles that’ll take your rooms to the next level than in person, seeing and touching for yourself.
Surroundings also displays choice carpets, lighting, and furniture.
“I love what I do because it is always different—there’s always a new challenge that helps you to grow,” says Newall, describing a satisfied client as one of the best perks of the job. While navigating the industry’s present-day challenges, like supply chain issues and the ongoing pandemic, Newall says she remains patient and creative. “Chief among lessons learned over the past two years is that customer service has always been the key to success,” she says.
96 Washington St., Marblehead, 781-639-0676, surroundingsinteriordesign.com
Holly Gagne, Holly Gagne Studio + Shop
At Holly Gagne’s interior design firm, her team has a strong foundation in big-picture stuff—construction techniques and interior architecture. But when it comes to the little details that make a home, nurturing trust between her clients is vital for Gagne. “Keeping our clients calm, informed, supported during a time that can be stressful is as important to us as a successful design plan,” she says.
According to Gagne, there’s no better way for clients to connect with her design sense than by visiting her studios in Rowley or Camden, Maine. “Great design creates an emotional response, and we can really feel that initial alignment when our customers visit our shop,” she says. Ultimately, a harmony in design sensibility will solidify the trust between client and designer, making for a smooth process.
Gagne pulls inspiration from organic materials and natural light, citing the calming and grounding benefits of immersion in nature that she loves to incorporate into her home designs (and her own home). “When I need to retreat, I will always turn to nature. … That is the Maine in me,” she says, describing some of her design pillars as “simplicity” and “authentic materials made by the earth.”
While her industry has seen ups and downs over the past two years, Gagne remains focused on the positives, learning to study her own priorities and slow down a bit. “The good news is we are all learning the practice of patience and letting go of some things,” she says, “especially things that are not as important as our greater health and well-being.”
136 Fenno Dr., Rowley, 978-432-1337; 58 Bay View St., Camden, Maine, hollygagne.com