Not long after moving to Boston's South End, Matt Burns a partner in the Aquitaine Group bought a large oil painting by Chinese-born photo-realist painter Yingzhao Liu. He put it in his living room along with a contemporary Italian couch and two chairs. Burns loved the painting and the furniture but wasn’t quite satisfied with his condominium, a two-story unit in a 19th-century town house. He called in Boston designer Meichi Peng.
Peng’s starting point was the Liu painting, which hangs over the living room mantel and depicts a seated woman. “A lot flowed from the painting,” says Burns, “like the cushions on the sofa, which came from the highlights of her skirt.” Peng punctuated the rooms with decorative Chinese antiques, such as the Qing Dynasty lions that guard the living room’s hearth and early 19th-century ceremonial rice-cake molds, both of which she found on a shopping trip to Taiwan. The pieces blend beautifully. “I love modern Italian furniture,” says Burns, “but when used exclusively, there’s not much personality.”