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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Warm Charm Infuses Lincoln Wine Cellar and Entertaining Spaces

It starts with the curtains. Cristina and Zoltan Csimma, who have lived for 35 years in their mid-century modern home designed by architect Henry Hoover, wanted to inject a little warmth into the lower rooms, where they placed set up the pool table and stocked their wine. “They asked for curtains, and one thing led to another,” said designer Polly Corn Sullivan, who has worked with the couple on other projects over the years.

With homeowners in Lincoln, MA awaiting COVID in Carmel, CA, Sullivan thinks now is a good time to do more with the space. “It’s very humble,” says the Boston-based designer. “There’s no color on the walls, just a few simply framed jazz posters.” These posters, along with a piano, pool table and Zoltan’s wine collection, served as inspiration for Sullivan. The bottles are kept in a closet with makeshift shelves that are in great need of an upgrade. “I suggested creating a jazz-themed rec room,” says Sullivan.

The more they talked, the more the couple liked the idea. “Polly said we should think about painting the room, but we never got it done and we realized we needed to replace the DIY wine cellar,” says Cristina. “The discussion grew and the room got bigger.”

Sullivan took advantage of the neutral undertones of the couple’s Persian rug and covered the room in warm printed paper to capture the light. “It’s lilac streaks on a gold metallic base,” the designer says of the paper, which looks textured but is actually smooth. Homeowners cite wallpaper as an example of an element that’s edgier than their usual tastes. “I wouldn’t pick it myself, but wow, it’s perfect,” Zoltan said.

Sullivan treated the window walls in a similar fashion, choosing a pewter-gray fabric with an open weave and metallic threads for the curtains. Lined with a soft gray fabric after Sullivan’s original choice of lavender lining was discontinued, the panels were installed as close to the ceiling as possible and stretched the full length of the walls. “The fabric needs the weight of the lining for more drape and warmth, but it lets light through so you can see the texture,” she says. “It wraps the room in an atmosphere, almost like a stage curtain.”

A new walk-in wine cellar flanks the room. The couple’s longtime contractor, Scott Williams, spearheaded the work, opening one of the room’s two closets to make room for it. He also found the racks online at Wine Racks America—wooden planks with anodized aluminum slats that hold nine bottles each. Some 350 bottles of wine are housed behind glass doors embellished with double-sided mahogany and stainless steel handles. “The wine cellar is great,” says Christina. “If we hadn’t redesigned the room, it would hardly have had that impact.” Her husband added: “It draws me downstairs every day.”

Where there is wine, there should be cocktails. In that spirit, Sullivan set up a mid-century modern metal bar cart on one side of the cellar and a bar-height table on the other. “I had to convince the company to make me an orange bar cart because it was discontinued,” Sullivan said. The bar table was inspired by bar stools the couple already owned. “Polly is really good at repurposing things from other rooms to reshape spaces,” says Cristina. “These are really popular in new places.”

The poster for the Montreal International Jazz Festival enhances both images, injecting a personal touch. “We’ve been at that festival for about 25 years,” Zoltan said. He also pointed out that their frames cost more than the original cost of the (now vintage) posters. In fact, Sullivan had South End Frames reframe them, along with another vintage poster they had. Her use of playful colors elevates these meaningful pieces. “They’re not cheap, but once I show them they love it,” laughs Sullivan.

Csimmas is glad they indulged. “We want to be surrounded by the things we love,” Zoltan said. “Especially the ones that bring back good memories.”

Learn more about project teams

interior designer: Polly Corn Designs
contractor: Scott Williams Construction
Paint and wallpaper: Larkin Painting Company
Fabric: Thread Curtain Studio
Art installations: christopher valley installation
Glass case: federal glass mirror co.

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