Color Palettes From Nature + Springtime in Boston!

Hi Everyone,

Oh wow! What a week this has been!!!



In honor of that, I’ve pulled out all of the stops on this one.


This special post features some of the exquisite architecture all around me in Boston’s Back Bay. And the absolutely magical spring flowering trees. There are hundreds of them, lining the streets. I adore these color palettes from nature!


As some of you read in Tuesday’s love note to subscribers, I had my second vaccine last Wednesday morning. It was Moderna for anyone curious. Of course, not everyone has the same experience. However, I believe the majority of us do feel pretty darned crummy the next day.

Okay, in the end, there was no mid-week blog. I figured that the only person who cares is me, haha. I mean, that’s what I always say to other bloggers. Don’t apologize for NOT posting. Nobody cares but you and maybe (but probably not) your mother.


However, I’m naturally an exceedingly lazy person, so IF I don’t lay strict rules for certain things, I can very easily find an excuse not to do something I deem to be in any way taxing.


Please don’t argue with me. I don’t care what it looks like. I’m L. A. Z. Y.  However, my desire to not have to roam the streets laden with shopping bags in my old age is the motivation I need to get the posts out twice a week. 99.9% of the time.

Anyway, I’m feeling fine now, so I’ll shut up and let you get to the pretty pics of Boston at the height of early springtime when the magnolia and cherry trees are in bloom. I kind of get goosebumps writing that.

Or, maybe it’s the music. Yes, we definitely need some music. And, what could be more fitting than Glazunov’s The Seasons. However, my favorite part is the most romantic portion of Autumn, and I think it works nicely here.




Magnolia Heaven - Springtime in Boston - Commonwealth AveAbove is just a little preview of the Color Palettes From Nature.


A few years ago I did a post about paint color palettes inspired by springtime.

I think it would be fun to compare the made-up palettes with the ones Mom Nature came up with. Well, of course, the trees, shrubs, and flowers have been planted by humans.

All of these homes except for one is in my neighborhood of Back Bay. I took most of them on Commonwealth Ave and Marlborough Street. However, there is at least one on Beacon Street.

The images were taken over a period of about five days. Most of them in the late afternoon and a few at l’heure bleue. Those will be obvious because you’ll some lights on inside the houses.


Please enjoy the beauty of my newly adopted city of Boston. My aim is to make you feel like you’re here with me.


Color Palettes From Nature - Springtime-Commonwealth Ave -flowering trees springtime Boston Back Bay

Above is a row of townhouses on Commonwealth Ave. We call it “Comm Ave.”  Commonwealth is known for the glorious holiday lights that line the mall on this road that is really a boulevard. Those lights just came down about a week or so ago.

Haha, I was just googling to find out what the mall looks like in the summer night. And, I came across my post where you can see the holiday lights.


Laurel, why don’t you just open your door and look outside?


Silly me. Yes, of course, I could do that. But, I told you. I’m LAZY! lol But, I am determined to finished this within the next 90 minutes (ha!) and then I’ll go outside for a walk and then report back to y’all. I know that your dying to know. ;]


Marlborough Street Boston - Springtime glory

One block over towards the Charles river is Marlborough Street. While I do love Comm Ave, I adore the cozy feel of Marlborough. Don’t get me wrong. I’m perfectly happy where I am, one block from Newbury Street! For some pics of Newbury Street please check out last week’s post.


I took shots of these lovely homes on Marlborough Street every time I went past them. The colors are so lovely, I think.


This was one of the earlier shots. Those colors. But get ready.


A shot of chartreuse added to the mix. This is exactly like what I was trying to convey in the post about my favorite color, chartreuse.


Conservatory - Color Palettes From Nature - Springtime in Boston - Commonwealth Ave


One of the most interesting spaces, very close to me, is this conservatory located on Comm Ave.


I had to do a bit of research to find the address. But, find it, I did, thanks to Google Maps and the wonderful blog, Back Bay Houses. The limestone house to the left at 161 Commonwealth Ave is actually only ten years old and was designed by Ann Beha Architects. What a fantastic job they did creating a design that isn’t screaming NEW HOUSE!

Since Back Bay is a historic district, you can’t change so much as an exterior door-knob without getting permission to do so. Thank God. It wasn’t always that way. But fortunately, the residents woke up decades ago and put a stop to the modernization of this amazing collection of 19th century homes.


Anyway, that amazing conservatory is now undergoing a renovation.


However, it is part of the mansion to the right which is actually at 306 Dartmouth Street.

306 Dartmouth was designed by Peabody and Stearns, architects, and built-in 1871-1872 for Stephen Van Rensselaer Thayer. You can read all about its rich history in a most detailed chapter on Back Bay Houses.


fantastic house - Springtime in Boston - Commonwealth Ave

Another shot from the opposite direction.


Conservatory 306 Dartmouth - Comm Ave

Above is a closer view of the conservatory. I think you can make out that the inside is gutted.

I found a photo and more information about 306 Dartmouth. It is also known as the Ames-Webster Mansion.


Ames-Webster Mansion Conservatory 306 Dartmouth St. Via Institute of Classical Architecture & Art

A view from the inside!


13 Comm Ave Springtime

A genuinely old limestone house is at 13 Commonwealth Ave. This beautiful home was built in the beaux-arts style in 1907. I understand that this is not the original home built here. The original home was built in 1868 as one of the early Back Bay residences.


Limestone Mansion - Springtime in Boston - Commonwealth Ave

Across the street is this exquisite beauty at #5 Comm Ave. I believe that it has gone through an extensive renovation, fairly recently. However, this home, too was rebuilt in the early 20th century.


Springtime in Boston - Commonwealth Ave Mansion

One of the best parts is the addition of this ball room. I believe it is part of the early 20th century re-build.


Recent renovation - Springtime in Boston - Commonwealth Ave

Another recent renovation is this beauty with the amazing floor-to-ceiling windows.


Color Palettes From Nature - Springtime in Boston - Commonwealth Ave

This is the house with the gorgeous teal railing. It is not a coincidence that I have another shot of this house taken at about the same time of year on this post from last August.


Exquisite architecture - Springtime in Boston - Commonwealth Ave

And one more image of this wonderful home and magnolia tree.


Brownstone Color - Springtime in Boston - Commonwealth Ave

On the other side of the home with the amazing windows is another brownstone stunner taken in the early evening. It was actually last Monday evening. I had been out for an early dinner with one of my new friends, about 3 blocks away.

It was 7:00 PM and blimey. I forgot my phone! So, I did a brisk walk home, to fetch it and walked back. But, of course, twilight had set in.


Springtime in Boston - Commonwealth Ave - Masterpiece

I also captured an image of this beauty very near the corner of Comm Ave and Arlington. Arlington borders the public garden.


But, get ready. On Tuesday, when I should’ve been WRITING this post, I was out again taking pics and you’ll see in a sec why I’m glad I did.


I guess I wanted to get some photos in brighter light. Maybe I was deluding myself again about how long this all takes. I remember this post from last summer about Historic Deerfield, MA also took a long time.

I just had to get some more shots of this place and then through an act of God the most stunning redhead intersected me and the house. Talk about color palettes from nature!


 From Nature - Springtime in Boston - Commonwealth Ave

Hold the phone! I mean. What??? Surely this was staged and this was a hired model. Yes, indeed. Staged by God. I don’t know if she got paid or not, however.

Now, I’m fully aware that there are not many stunning women with hair this color roaming around Boston. And, there’s an exceedingly high likelihood that someone reading this blog knows who she is.

Anyway, thank you, thank you, whoever you are!

For the next few shots, I’m not sure which street they’re on. Of course, some of you Bostonians will recognize these magnificent homes in Back Bay.


Color Palettes From Nature - Springtime in Boston - Marlborough St - yellow daffodils


Palettes From Nature - Springtime in Boston - Commonwealth Ave


Spectacular Garden Backbay BostonThis garden sure stopped me in my tracks! That reminds me. My son is coming Monday evening and hopefully is going to help me with my garden. However, he’s getting his second vax earlier that day. We’ll see. Maybe Wednesday he’ll be okay.


White flowering tree - brick townhouse - Color Palettes From Nature - Springtime in Boston - Commonwealth Ave

I love the freshness of these colors on this beautiful red brick home with classical detailing.

If you’re interested in colors that look great with red brick, please check this out.


109-111 - Color Palettes From Nature - Springtime in Boston - C

Across the street from my house are these two twin homes. The gray color is quite refreshing with the mostly red brick and brownstone homes.


gray home - Color Palettes

I took a lot of shots of this place. But, I like this one taken from the opposite side, looking west-ish.


Color Palettes From Nature - Springtime in Boston - Back Bay- magnificent blossoms
And, then there’s this beauty with another incredible act of God coming up and of the best color palettes from nature!


Lady in Red - Color Palettes From Nature - Springtime in Boston - Back Bay
The lady in red!


Marlborough Street springtime Boston

I posted this image in my note the other night and also on my Instagram feed. Please feel free to follow me there. I don’t post every day, however, I’m posting more often than I used to. Also, feel free to use any of these images for your own Instagram feed. Just mention you found them on the laurel home blog and then please link to my Instagram feed @laurelberninteriors. Thanks so much!


The last two shots sharing color palettes from nature were taken on my walk home from my new primary care physician at Mass General.


Yes, I did that after my vax. So, of course, I walked through Beacon Hill, where I took a lot of photos. I was still feeling quite fine, and it was a gorgeous, classic, sunny day.


Amazing Front Door - Springtime Boston

Speaking of a classic. It doesn’t get any more so than with this fantastic Georgian-style door. Those classical architects in London would give a nod of approval, I dare say.


Huge Magnolia Beacon Street Boston

Walking along Beacon Street but on the Back Bay side, (west of Beacon Hill), I happened on this huuuuuuuge magnolia tree.

Now, I have to go outside and tell y’all what I see happening with the mall. It is 9:00 PM and fully dark now.

Okay, I’m back from my walk along Comm Ave. And, it’s pretty dark in the mall now. I was hoping that maybe at least, the statues would be lit up. But, they’re not.

I hope you enjoyed this post featuring these beautiful homes. And, also got some inspiration for color palettes from nature.



PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES.  And, also please check out the brand new Outdoor and gift page. There are also lots of Mother’s Day gift ideas and flowers you can order online.


47 Responses

  1. These jaw-dropping photos made my day. The architecture, the colors, the blooms…what a lovely, lovely neighborhood. Thank you and congratulations on 9 years, Laurel. You are my absolute favorite designer. If you saw my house you’d see I’ve listened, even if my chinoiserie and kilims are thrifted. Keep making the world more beautiful, please!

  2. It felt like I was walking along the street enjoying all of the beautiful scenery of Boston! Thanks for the mini vacation! I am so ready to start traveling again. I am two weeks after my second shot!!! Fantastic post!

  3. Laurel:

    Love your springtime pix of Boston.

    However, must chime in re: vax

    I am 70, had the J&J and no side effects

    Husband is 73, had Moderna 1 & 2, arm hurt at injection site next day.

    Knock on wood.

    Thanks for keeping up on the blog. I am not so much on insta.

  4. My God you’ve captured the city i love at precisely the moment when I love it the most! Springtime in Back Bay is the most glorious time. Your photos are picture perfect…

  5. Laurel! This is so gorgeous! I ALSO had my wedding reception at 5 Comm Ave, and it was an absolute dream. The daughter the room was built for was reportedly excellent in business, and impressed her parents with a financial analysis of the cost to do the renovation and her debut there vs the cost to be her sole supporters for the rest of her life should she be “left on the shelf”, so a music room it was. It’s a magnificent building and an interesting story!

    And to the 0 Marlborough resident, I also went to Emerson! I lived in the Charlesgate!

  6. You captured the season in Boston perfectly. Congratulations on your 9th year of business. You were born to do this.

  7. Congrats on 9 years, Laurel! Wishing you many more fulfilling years at this, for as long as you enjoy it!

    Your blog feels to me like hearing from a friend. Thanks for the lovely pictures and uplifting soundtrack to go with it. I’m having a difficult day and may be up all night working on a deadline. Your post today was a welcome break!

    Believe it or not, your post made me realize that my favorite season is Spring! All the best!

  8. I paint. I paint poorly, but I paint. Magnolia branches with blooms are one of my fav subjects, so this post is inspiring! Gonna have to grab my brushes.

  9. Thank you Laurel, for this beautiful trip down memory lane. I’ve always loved springtime in the Back Bay, especially the profusion of magnolias, which you’ve captured so well. Now living in the South, the magnolias we have here pale in comparison. I was delighted to see 5 Commonwealth Ave. among your gallery, as I worked there two summers when I was 15 & 16 and it was the Boston Center for Adult Education. How lucky was I to spend the beginning of my working life in such a magnificent place! In fact, I vowed then that when I got married, I would have my wedding reception in the ballroom, and a few years later I did, and I did! Wish there was a way to share a photo with you, Laurel, so you could see what the interior of the ballroom looked like 48 years ago!

  10. Laurel, It’s beautiful! Reminds me of Savannah Ga. a little, where I just spent a few days oogling at the Architecture.

  11. Gorgeous post. My husband and I are moving to Marlborough St in June. You have rekindled our excitement (temporarily lessened by the gigantic downsizing that’s now in process before we move). A walk this morning to see the magnolias and flowers has us both over the moon. You have a great eye for composition in your photos!

  12. A thoroughly delightful post! Thank you! I enjoyed the spring beauties, and even perused the winter shots as well. What a gorgeous city is Boston–I’d love to visit someday!

  13. My dream homes. Now I can easily look at them in your blog. This is eye-candy! Thank you for all your inspiration! Happy Blogiversary!

  14. Your postings are always such a delight with a really great eye for photos! Transfixed by the beauty of this season…

  15. Thank you for sharing all this beauty. That was delightful arm chair traveling. It’s great to hear you are thriving in your new city and home! Congrats on being fully vaccinated. I’m awaiting my second jab in about a week and can’t wait for antibodies to do their thing!

  16. Laurel, I have city envy from out here in the suburbs. Specifically Boston envy ! Those beautiful front gardens with evergreen hedges and wrought iron fences really speak to me, as well as take me back to Britain! Thanks for the beautiful blog post.

  17. So beautiful! Your photos remind me a bit of Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill in downtown Brooklyn where we used to live but I think your Boston neighborhood far surpasses them! I’m so happy that you’ve found your happy place and are surrounded by such architectural gems and gorgeous spring plantings! We are now in the Hamptons and I’m experiencing spring here for the first time and am loving seeing my bulbs and trees bloom. My cherry tree isn’t in full bloom yet but I hope it will be before we return to Florida in three weeks to work on our new apartment there. And to agree with a previous comment – you are a wonderful photographer!!

  18. Morning coffee, beautiful music, and photos. Thank you for this “spring” feast for the eye. I loved it all.

  19. Hi Laurel,
    Congratulations on your blogiversary!
    What a gift to be surrounded by such beauty.
    I hope you didn’t get too sick after your vaccination. It’s worth it though. Science is amazing!

  20. Happy Blogiversary! I must say, the sight of all those beautiful magnolia trees tugged at my heartstrings. My childhood home had a big one in the front yard and my dad took oodles of pictures of the blooms over the years. I spent many happy hours sitting in the tree daydreaming. You are so right about Mother Nature creating the best color palettes. How blessed you are to experience the stunning architecture and gorgeous springtime beauty of Boston. And thank you for the great background music. I think I now know where the inspiration for the Star Wars sound track came from. Happy spring. Enjoy your visit with your son.


  21. My husband and I spent last week at the beach to celebrate being fully vaccinated. Driving home through the mountains yesterday I was dazzled by the understory trees – dogwood and redbud – and how beautiful they look against the rough stone and unfurling green leaves. What wonderful decorating inspiration! And a reminder why there is no shade of green that I don’t like.

  22. Stunning pictures, Laurel! All of those beautiful flowering Magnolia trees surrounded by their tiny gardens with the boxwood hedges are precious. Congratulations on getting your second shot.

  23. Wow, your new neighborhood is amazing! The architecture and landscaping are just so gorgeous–thanks for sharing!
    (The pink-blooming trees look to be magnolias, and possibly Kwanzan or Yoshino cherries-hard to tell from a distance.)

  24. On a good note you made me spit my coffee with the incredible act of God comment which is my favorite way to start the day.On a bad note I am back to coveting.

  25. Congratulations on your blogversary! I can’t thank you enough for delighting my Sundays for 9 years. And as much as I drool over your design posts, this one has me swooning! Enjoy good health as soon post for another 9!!

  26. Now you make me want to see Boston in the spring. But what are all those pink blooming trees? Do you know? So gorgeous

  27. Beautiful photos. Thank you for taking the time to share!! One of the best things about Boston, you can walk for miles and miles and see new things and people. Shops, etc. it’s great to do alone. That way you can get lost in your own thoughts. Happy days.

  28. I took ballroom dancing lessons many years ago in that ballroom when it was the Boston Adult Ed building. I was told the owner added the ballroom for his daughter’s wedding.

  29. Laurel,
    5 Commonwealth (AKA Gamble Mansion) was previously owned by the Boston Center for Adult Education and sometimes used as a wedding venue. My son and DIL were married there is 2007. It is a beautiful building. It was sold shortly after.

  30. Glorious !! I feel such pride that you love Boston, as much as I did. I lived on Comm Ave and Marlborough Street and can testify how amazing the Back Bay is. Simply glorious. Congrats on your Vax and your anniversary. Enjoy your son during his visit and yes, the the Instagram account. I follow you there as well !! Cheers Laurel

  31. Happy Blogiversary!!! Your writings have brought me joy and inspiration for years. Thank you for these lovely photos and for your blog!

  32. Beautiful photos, Laurel, worth waiting for! Glad to hear you got the Moderna vaccine, probably the best one. The colours of the houses make a great combination (the pink magnolias less so, lovely though they are), which can often be found in a more faded sort of way in Venice: see Ben Pentreath’s photos of out-of-the-way corners, with faded terracotta, grey and cream stone, and more dark grey or black. I’m working (mentally) on pushing our sitting room that way, as I’m partly there already.
    Alas, all the blossom here has got blasted by the sharp frosts France has been having of late — you may have read that most of the vineyards have suffered appalling losses, as everything was coming into growth because of an unusually warm March. So your photos are an especial consolatory pleasure!

  33. Happy Blogaversary! You succeeded in transporting us into your neighborhood with this immersive springtime tour. The architecture is exciting. Can’t wait to see the summer blooms and green trees!

  34. Wow, so beautiful! I live on the west coast and am quite happy and content to live here forever… Except all of a sudden I feel the urge to move to Boston!

  35. Where do I begin? Classic bones in a. New England sting. You literally have made me want to move! I don’t think I need to tell you that the apartment you purchased makes others on the market pale. I have some photos from Central Park, but alas, the view is not outside my front door. Don’t forget to yourself!!

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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