Letting the Light In: Darlene Allen Transforms a Belvidere Home

When Paula Gouveia moved to Lowell’s Belvidere neighborhood, she turned to Darlene Allen for help. Her new home felt cramped and
out-of-date. As Allen states, “It felt like a rabbit hole.”

Photo by Emily O’Brien.

To begin the transformation, Allen had three starting points. 1. Gouveia wanted the home to sparkle. 2. She wanted an open design with more natural light. 3. She requested that the color scheme be built around a teal chair of personal significance.

First, the sparkle. Allen added flecked tile behind the stove. A mirror was installed above the kitchen countertop. Iridescent vases and silvery serving wear amplified the effect.

Left: The teal chairs inspired the colors. Note the mirrored wall and light fixtures above the kitchen countertop. The mirror reflects all three key design elements: the sparkle, the spaciousness and the color scheme. Right: These Lucia Lighting & Design pendants’ smoky tones work well with Elizabeth Pogor’s abstract custom painting, seen in the background. Photos by Emily O’Brien.

To open the house up, more work was needed. Walls needed to be brought down. The ceiling needed to be repaired, and new flooring was required. 

Finally came the color.

Allen asked Elizabeth Pogor of North Andover to create three abstract oil paintings to complement the color palette. Pogor’s works became a key feature in the house’s overall reconstruction.

Left: An electric fireplace adds warm and familiar ambiance. Many of the decorative objects hold symbolic significance for the home owner. The dragonflies on the upper right signify both transition and a connection with the past. Right: A second painting by Elizabeth Pogor stands above a table owned by Gouveia’s great-grandfather. The heavily damaged table was given new life at Belcastro Furniture Restoration in Tyngsborough. Photos by Emily O’Brien.

The project was a labor of love for Allen. She sees herself as not having a particular style — her job is to adapt, chameleonlike, to her clients’ vision. A former director of software engineering, she entered Suffolk University’s graduate program in interior architecture in 2007. “I spent my life in stealth mode,” she says of her former career, and that sense transferred to her new life as a designer. Her adaptability, as well as her knowledge of engineering and technology, sets her apart from others in her profession.

When the project was over, Allen had taken a few concepts and redesigned the Gouveia residence so that it felt fresh and contemporary. The use of art brightened the space and gave it a sense of wonder and creativity. A beautiful backyard, previously obscured by a crowded architectural style, was now visible, and the light poured in again.  

D. Allen Design
North Andover, Mass.
(978) 984-7354


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