Photos by David Michalek photography
When Hilary Whitlock was appointed the decorator of her niece Brooke Matuzko’s home, she saw beyond the drab and gutted walls of the house the potential of a beautiful forever home in Easthampton, Massachusetts. The small cottage was to be sold by Brooke in the coming year and apart from the new renovations that overcame it, there was still a lack of character.
With Hilary’s help through her own design business, Painted Brick Studio, effortless charm now graces through the reading spaces and new foyer– fresh and youthful, yet somehow comforting in the twists on her modern traditional aesthetic.
A once dark and stuffy space, natural light spreads around the rooms and makes this home feel more like a retreat into heaven. In saying a lot for a lot less, Hilary’s secret is just in the details. “Everyone has a sofa, everyone has a bed, a bathroom,” she simply explains. “Peel back all the layers and start over.”
Hilary’s flair for blending new and old to create the perfect home is something she found while raising her own children. The 50-year-old designer became passionate about classic aesthetics with her family vacations to Nantucket in the summers. “Hydrangeas, picket fences,” she reminisces. “Timeless beauty is what drives my aesthetic.” With her children nearly grown, Hilary takes pleasure in spreading the joy that the comforts of a beautiful home can bring, starting her unique curated design house, Painted Brick Studio, with much success. Since opening shop this summer, she has seen her visions of classic cozy chic in kitchens, bedrooms, studies, and lounge spaces among equestrian club barns. Just recently, she made an exciting appearance showcasing some of her favorite featured items at the Vermont Summer Festival horse show in Manchester, Vermont.
The growing interest in Painted Brick Studio is not a mystery, especially in the fun and very personalized, yet digitally advanced, way a client can have their space designed. In the grand scheme of designing, Hilary notes that the biggest roadblock is not lack of inspiration– but too much of it. On her end, it’s all about simplifying that process.
“Alleviating the guess work and leg work out of what can be a daunting task for the consumer,” she tells us. “To stylize a room, balanced with function and beauty takes an eye for design.Today, people are inundated with ideas, styles, and price points. Often leaving them afraid to do anything for fear of making a mistake. So their spaces are left, as they have been for too long. Uninspiring, lacking both joy or personalization.”
This simplification of Painted Brick Studio is made known by the two main components for clients to begin with: price and style. With 4 different aesthetics to choose from at 3 different price points to fit their budget (starting at $400), Hilary gets to work putting together a collection of accessories and decor that captures or further accentuates the look that the homeowner would like to achieve, basing her finds off the questionnaires she has them fill out right before purchase. Any distinct items that you will or won’t find among the collection are ones that clients specifically mention in the “Must-Have” or “Deal-Breaker” slots, further adhering to the transparency as promised by Hilary when she began Painted Brick. Within a week, your collection has arrived and your house ultimately tailored into the home you’ve always wanted.
So when it came to family, timing was in favor for Hilary to aid her nieces for an exciting summer ahead. With one selling her Massachusetts home and another acquiring a cottage in the Hamptons, Hilary isn’t scrounging to keep her business afloat and her creativity flowing. As she wrapped up Brooke’s home, a charming yet dark bungalow just steps away from downtown and the Connecticut River, that old feeling of comfort and classic roots shone victoriously through the rooms that now felt lively and ready for its next owners to make new memories inside. For Brooke, her vision of flipping a home with her boyfriend Jon was always on her mind, but the perfect timing was yet to happen. Finally on a cold yet beautiful February 28th, just after her 23rd birthday, Brooke had found the place. The following 5 months for her and Jon to turn their new property into a beautiful investment was a rewarding journey, filled with no restrictions and outsider hesitations that made the process all the more exciting and empowering. They had fulfilled their dream– and they could see it even more so with Hilary’s finishing touches.
For Brooke’s home, clean and modern create the welcoming warmth, with touches of the past paraded around from the bed to the brass lanterns and world globe. Natural touches of wicker and light wood furniture made the home feel airy and calm, heightened by accents of gray and muted greens and pink. It’s a bit of both worlds from Modern Traditional and Modern Farmhouse, an update and ode to the rustic charm of the region.
A new space that Hilary herself is particularly fond of is the nook in the living room. From reading or entertaining as a bar area, it is a versatile space to dress up or down at the homeowner’s discretion. Here, she’s featured a few unique throw pillows and a tin vase of fresh flowers for true comfort. What’s unique about the curations of Painted Brick are the brands themselves; a variety of well-known and on the rise businesses that Hilary knows clients will enjoy– from Hygge & West, to Cat Studio.
In the study, wallpaper from Hygge & West is used to cover the back of the vintage desk. This particular room is a beautiful blend of old and new that works so well in the subtle addition of the mid-century dark couch, paired with structured yet inviting architectural drawings by DC-based illustrator Lunch City.
With a full house set for the market, Brooke and Jon can see immediate success in showcasing the simple charm of the house, made possible with her aunt’s help. Painted Brick is still a small business, but in being so, makes it even more personal to its shoppers. A house is not a home until you’ve met Hilary, and a simple conversation will only set the wheels in motion for her and Painted Brick Studio to do what they do best.
“The average consumer can’t renovate their kitchen or bath. Or hire their own designer,” she says. “You don’t have to. Order from Painted Brick Studio. It will make a beautiful difference. We want people to feel inspired and hopeful about their spaces.”
See more of Hilary’s work on her Instagram at Painted Brick Studio,
and to start decorating with Hilary, visit www.paintedbrickstudio.com!