Taniya Nayak is known for her boundless energy. She channels her flair for design into everything from reviving down-at-the-heels restaurants for FoodTV to serving as a judge on ABC-TV’s The Great Christmas Light Fight. At home, however, she favors low-key serenity over high-powered productivity. Her bed is the perfect example. It’s also the first thing she unpacks in a new space.
“What’s more important than a good night’s sleep?” asks the Boston-based designer. Nayak keeps the vibe neutral and luxe with a custom tufted headboard covered in taupe leather by local artisans at Ernesto Upholstering. She pairs this with a crisp white duvet and sheets by Parachute. “They are a small luxury that is totally worth it,” says Nayak.
That clean, simple aesthetic carries through Nayak’s house, 20 minutes south of Boston in Milton, Massachusetts. “I keep my home light, airy, and clutter-free,” she says. “I love that my neighborhood is close to the city but feels like I’m living out in the country.”
She is especially fond of her home’s floor-to-ceiling windows—and the tranquil views of the Neponset River they provide. “I try to let the view do its thing, uninterrupted by too many colors or patterns inside the home.”
Boston is the perfect stomping ground for Nayak, drawn as she is to the city’s past. “One of the inspiring things about being a Boston based interior designer is the rich history of design and architecture in our city,” she says. Restaurants like Abby Lane, Citrus & Salt, and McGreevy’s—all housed in storied buildings—are some of her proudest accomplishments as a designer.
A little piece of Boston’s restaurant history has found a place in her home as well. Her husband, restaurateur Brian O’Donnell, salvaged an A-frame wine-riddling rack from the basement of the bar where the couple were working when they met and turned it into a pre-wedding present by refinishing it and cutting it down so they could mount it on the wall. “It has a very special place in my heart,” Nayak says.
—By Jeanne O’Brien Coffey