BOSTON GLOBE – Taniya Nayak is best known for her role as an interior designer on HGTV and Food Network, but the Milton resident — who grew up in Massachusetts and has lived everywhere from Weymouth to Brighton to Southie — has designed several Boston restaurants, including Back Bay Harry’s and Abby Lane.
Nayak will emcee Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation, which brings together some of Boston’s most well-known chefs — including Jody Adams, Andy Husbands, and Joanne Chang — for an event to raise money to help fight childhood hunger.
We took this opportunity to touch base with the designer, who forecasts restaurant decor trends, and has tips for transforming home kitchens on a budget.
“I’ve always been such a fan of what we’ve seen now for many years, which is that industrial, raw kind of feel, but that’s sort of on the way out,” says Nayak. She says we can expect to see a more chic look. “So instead of just black pipe, you are going to see like a gold finish on the metal, more elegance,” she says.
That elegance could come in the form of a marble-top table or a beautiful chandelier that warms up the look of, say, a concrete floor.
“I think my own personal design style, I tend to lean a little more masculine. I don’t know why, I just like more neutral palettes, neutral colors, and lots of texture, but it’s always good to add that little touch to make it more pretty,” says Nayak.
One problem patrons have with the industrial-style spaces is the deafening din. Nayak advises incorporating upholstery wherever possible — think tufted bar stools — to help soften the sound, or using some strategically placed acoustic panels. However, she doesn’t think hearing a pin drop should be the design priority: “I think there is a bar experience and there is a dining experience. When you are in the bar, you actually want it to have a little bit of noise, the energy, the liveliness . . . and if it’s a busy restaurant, you’ve got bodies.”
Just like restaurateurs, homeowners are usually working within a budget when designing their kitchens. Nayak’s advice is to choose your battles and spend money strategically. “One area where you can really change the look of a kitchen is just adding a backsplash. You can potentially splurge because it is really minimal square footage,” says the designer. That will make the whole space feel more high-end.
She also recommends personalizing with accessories, like bold barstools on the kitchen island that can act as a focal point, no renovation required. “You can keep it nice and simple and add little pops of color.”
Nayak says she’s excited to leverage her platform for an important cause with the Share Our Strength event: “It’s my world — food, entertaining, Boston, and for a good cause.” The designer says she was shocked to hear the organization’s statistic that 1 in 7 children in Massachusetts is struggling with hunger.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize that hunger is a problem here in our own state. It’s elsewhere, and a problem that’s universal. But to know that there is something we can do about it here, where we live, is pretty amazing.”