National Mentoring Month: Honoring Ivo Cubi

Ivo Cubi and Carlotta Cubi of Cumar Marble and GraniteSince January is National Mentoring Month, we would like to honor CUMAR’s mentor and inspiration, Angelo “Ivo” Cubi. Ivo created Cumar, Inc., building on his family’s illustrious history in the marble business, to share his love of natural stone with others.

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Event Wrap: The Give and Take of Mentoring in the World of Luxury Homes



“The Give and Take of Mentoring in the World of Luxury Homes,” held last Monday as part of Boston Design Week, was a magical afternoon of inspirational mentoring stories, expert insight into the challenges of mentorship, and wisdom from some of the shining stars of the Boston design world.

Celebrity moderators Patti Austin and Taniya Nayak kicked off the event. Nayak, red-faced, admitted to the nearly two hundred–person audience that she shares a unique bond with her Grammy Award–winning co-moderator: that although she has “the worst voice ever,” she always sings Patti’s hit song, “Baby Come to Me,” in the shower when no one is listening. Patti pounced, and made Nayak serenade the panel with a few bars—a perfect, light-hearted start to the day.

The two moderators introduced the esteemed panelistsMeichi Peng, founder and principle of Meichi Peng Interior Design Studio; Andrew Goldstein, retired CEO of Thoughtforms; David J. Hacin, founder and principle of Hacin & Associates; Cheryl Katz, owner and co-founder of C & J Katz Studio; and Sean Clarke, general manager of Clarke Distribution—asking each of them a few questions about leadership and mentoring: What is the biggest challenge you have face mentoring your team? How do you manage inter-generational similarities and differences in your company? What qualities are needed to become a respected leader?

The experts talked about the 24/7 schedule of the cellular era and the impact this might have on your creative staff; the difficulty of leadership during the great recession; ways to be a better mentor in the fast-paced design industry of the 21st Century; and the most difficult setback of their careers.

“There were actually a few moments that really caught my attention,” said designer Eric Roseff, who was in attendance. “One that stood out was Cheryl Katz recalling that she asked one of her staff to do something once, and the young woman replied that she thought that wasn’t how the task should be done. I loved the way Cheryl’s initial reaction, frustration, turned into something else: true respect. She’s secure enough to realize that we don’t always have the right answers, or know the best thing to do—we need that input from others. She obviously taught that girl well, and then had the chance to learn from her.”

“It was nice to hear that even these industry leaders face the same issues or challenges as we do at Cumar,” said Carlotta Cubi of Cumar Inc. “I found it really interesting to hear how they approached situations and I could really relate to what they were saying. There were more than a few instances where I had found myself saying to myself, ‘We went through that!’ or ‘I know how that feels!’ So for me it was interesting to hear how they handled it or what their thoughts about it were.”

Stay tuned to the Cumar blog for more. The panel was filmed, so you’ll have the chance to hear some of the most respected design professionals discuss life in the captain’s chair, navigating turbulent waters, and leading their teams to success. Until then, enjoy these fantastic photos from the event.


Photos courtesy of Tara Carvalho/South Shore Photography

Meet the Stars of Cumar’s Boston Design Week 2015 Mentorship Event – TONIGHT

Cumar and the M-Geough Company are delighted to host a very special Boston Design Week event next week, in partnership with the Over My Shoulder Foundation, “Designing the Next Generation: The Give and Take of Mentoring in Luxury Homes.” This panel on the importance of mentorship in design will be moderated by media personality and Ellen DeGeneres brand ambassador Taniya Nayak as well as Patti Austin, Grammy Award–winning singer, Over My Shoulder Foundation co-founder, and interior design mentee. Get to know the star panelists before the event, which takes place on March 23 at 2:30 pm at the Boston Design Center:



One of Boston’s most highly-acclaimed interior designers, Meichi Peng is renowned for her ability to marry eclectic design with a modern sensibility. She is founder and principle of Meichi Peng Interior Design Studio, and in 2009 opened Peng Furnishings, a South End boutique. Peng was named “Best Modern Designer” in 2010 by Boston Home magazine and a “Rising Star” in 2009 by Metropolitan Home magazine. “No one in Boston can match Peng’s vigor and style,” writes Boston Home, “everything she touches becomes a study in elegance and grace.”




Andrew Goldstein served as CEO for Thoughtforms, a design-build firm (thought + form) founded in 1972 that has partnered with some of New England’s most exceptional architects and design professionals. Under Goldstein’s leadership, Thoughtforms has been awarded “Custom Builder of the Year” as well as numerous “Best of Boston” awards. Having spent many years as mentor to his expert team, Goldstein ensured that his legacy of premier quality and creativity would remain intact when he finally passed on the torch.




David J. Hacin is the founding Principal and President of Hacin + Associates, established in Boston in 1993. Hailing from a design family—he trained at his father’s architecture firm in Geneva, Switzerland—Hacin’s career includes positions with organizations like Owings and Merrill, SOM/Skidmore, the Office of City Planning for New York City, Gwathmey Siegel Associates, and CBT Architects. An exquisite mentor, Hacin provides unique learning experiences for all his employees, building an innovative team brimming with talent and imagination.



cherylkatz1CHERYL KATZ

A local girl, Cheryl Katz attended the School of Education at Boston University. But in her heart, she knew that design was her true calling. After a couple years teaching and writing curriculum, she wrangled a job at Bonwit Teller and never looked back. While working at Bonwit, Cheryl ran into an old friend who helped her land a job in the fashion office of the Jordan Marsh Company, where she was mentored by James Sullivan, the stores’ talented fashion director. Later she and her husband co-founded C & J Katz Studio, and a critical part of the studio’s mission is mentoring those interested in the design world. Cheryl believes that not only can her mentorship be an important component in a designer’s success, but that there’s an immeasurable amount she can learn from those she mentors.



Over more than fifty years and three generations of family leadership, Clarke Distribution has long been a cornerstone of the appliance industry in New England. Sean Clarke joined the family business in 1999 as a trade sales representative and has since become general manager of the company. Clarke Distribution has redefined the luxury residential experience under Sean Clarke’s innovative leadership: he was included in a New England Real Estate Journal “Industry Leader Spotlight” and named one of DealerScope Magazine’s “Top 40 Under 40” business leaders. Sean has been mentored by the generations before him, and foresees many more generations in the Clarke legacy.





Boston Design Week Event: Meet the Moderators, Taniya Nayak and Patti Austin

Untitled-1Taniya Nayak, left; Patti Austin, right

On March 23, 2015, Cumar Marble & Granite, with the M-Geough Co, is proud to present a special Boston Design Week Event, “Designing the Next Generation: The Give and Take of Mentoring in Luxury Homes.” Taniya Nayak and Patti Austin will lead a panel of design stars as they discuss the importance of mentorship in the field of interior design. Included in this panel will be Meichi Peng, founder and principle of Meichi Peng Interior Design Studio; Andrew Goldstein, retired CEO of Thoughtforms; David J. Hacin, founder and principle of Hacin & Associates; Cheryl Katz, owner and co-founder of C & J Katz Studio; and Sean Clarke, general manager of Clarke Distribution. It’s guaranteed to be a brilliant, uplifting discussion. And Cumar is particularly honored to feature two shining co-moderators for the day in Nayak and Austin. Let’s get to know them a little better.


Taniya Nayak

One of America’s leading interior designers, Taniya Nayak rose to stardom as a design expert on HGTV and the Food Network. In 2005 she founded Taniya Nayak Design LLC, a Boston-based interior design company that specializes in residential and commercial spaces. Nayak’s known for her mile-wide smile, personable demeanor, and easygoing attitude, as well as her genius for marrying rich textures and stunning finishes with functionality. She currently hosts the HGTV series House Hunters on Vacation and Billon Dollar Block, and appears regularly as a featured designer on Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible. In 2012, Taniya launched her first collection of home products, Taniya Nayak Lighting, available exclusively via, and very recently became the brand ambassador for Ellen DeGeneres.

Nayak remains at the leading edge of the interior design industry. She has worked with a striking range of high-end clientele, from television celebrities to famous musicians, and her designs can be found all around Boston too, at Petit Robert Central, 88 Wharf, Lola’s Cantina, Whiskey Republic, and Julep Bar, just to name a few. Taniya’s design wisdom has been featured in print at major outlets like People, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and Ladies Home Journal. She has also appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, NBC’s Today, The View, and Rachael Ray, among others.


Patti Austin

Patti Austin is one of the world’s most beloved jazz and R&B singers. Her most recent project, Avant-Gershwin, which reimagines Gershwin’s classic songs for a contemporary audience, won Austin the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocalist. “You can judge a brilliant piece of music by how you can bend and stretch it,“ said Austin. “I always believed George Gershwin to be avant-garde so I wanted to challenge myself and rework everything melodically and lyrically.”

Mentoring has been crucial to Austin’s life and career. She attributes a significant part of her success to the guidance of her mentors, notably that of her godparents, Quincy Jones and Dinah Washington. That’s why she co-founded the Over My Shoulder Foundation (OMSF): to recognize the vital importance of mentorship in individual lives as well as its positive impact to society as a whole. Austin is currently being mentored by members of Boston’s prestigious design community, foremost among them OMSF co-founder and Cumar designer Dawn Carroll, as she pursues her lifelong dream of becoming a professional interior designer.


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An Interview with Gerald Pomeroy, Designer of the “Home for the Holidays” Balmoral Room


The “Home for the Holidays” exhibit—sponsored by Cumar Marble & Granite, the Over My Shoulder Foundation, Neiman Marcus, Boston Design Week, and New England Home magazine—features three gorgeous, unique living spaces decorated for the season and inspired by a royal residence. “Home for the Holidays” is the vision of Cumar’s own Dawn Carroll, who also serves as the Executive Director of the Over My Shoulder Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes mentorship in design. Each of the participating designers—Paula Daher, Eric Roseff, and Gerald Pomeroy—worked closely with a mentee on the project.

Celebrating his firm’s twentieth anniversary in 2015, Gerald Pomeroy specializes in elegant residential spaces with a personal touch. His design projects have been awarded the Bulfinch Award from the New England Chapter of the Institute of Classical Art & Architecture, among others, and have been featured in the pages of Design New England, New England Home magazine, and the Boston Globe. Cumar was able to chat with Pomeroy about his Balmoral Room in the “Home for the Holidays” exhibit as well as the experience of working with a mentee.


How would you describe your personal design philosophy?

I am a classicist, but clearly I have my eye on the 21st century, and as such, there are always modern elements to all of my projects. I believe this mix is what makes for truly elegant and timeless interiors.


What was the first design element you chose for your “Home for the Holidays” room?

Without question the breathtakingly beautiful de Gournay “La Chasse de Compiegne” mural. It was a wonderful starting point to a very special Balmoral space.


Which is your favorite design element in the room? Why?

That is a difficult question for I pride myself on always achieving seamless interiors that as a whole speak volumes. But in this case, the unexpected drop ceiling that became part of the architecture of the room to highlight and celebrate the hearth as well as our English gilt carriage lantern is without question a crowd pleaser.



Which do you think is the most unique element?

This may surprise your readers but I would have to say the simplicity of the room. When a design has all the important elements, i.e. beautiful things, wonderful scale and more than a few surprises, you don’t need much more. It then allows you to pull back, edit and let the room speak for itself.


What were the biggest challenges to this project?

I would have to say the ambitious time frame and still to be able to meet the standards I set for myself and for all of my projects was the biggest challenge.


Tell us about the experience of working closely with a mentee.

This is a subject I can chat about at length about. We always have, for the most part, an intern working in the office. Exposing them and bringing them along on the journey of the design process from start to finish, is something I enjoy immensely and find extremely rewarding. Home for the Holidays was no exception and was perhaps was one of the big reasons I participated. To have the opportunity to take Lauren Cozzi on this adventure, without question, made this experience all the more gratifying.

An Interview with Paula Daher, Designer of the “Home for the Holidays” Versailles Room

The “Home for the Holidays” exhibit—sponsored by Cumar Marble & Granite, the Over My Shoulder Foundation, Neiman Marcus, Boston Design Week, and New England Home magazine—features three gorgeous, unique living spaces decorated for the season and inspired by a royal residence. “Home for the Holidays” is the vision of Cumar’s own Dawn Carroll, who also serves as the Executive Director of the Over My Shoulder Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes mentorship in design. Each of the participating designers—Paula Daher, Eric Roseff, and Gerald Pomeroy—worked closely with a mentee on the project.

Recently, Cumar had the chance to chat with Paula Daher, founder and principle of Daher Interior Design. Since 1995 she and her team have designed elegant, stylish living spaces in Greater Boston and beyond. For “Home for the Holidays,” Daher teamed up with mentee Virginia Sherrer-Thoss to produce the stunning Versailles Room (pictured), on display at Neiman Marcus, Copley Place, through the new year.


How would you describe your personal design philosophy?

Scale and proportion are the foundation of any space I work on. Proportion and scale have everything to do with how a room is viewed and how it functions. Fabrics, colors, and textures play strongly into the scale of the room by helping to balance the overall field of vision. My personal aesthetic is that of simple elegance, uncluttered, with forms, shapes, and color harmoniously integrated.


What was the first design element you chose for your “Home for the Holidays” room?

Ah, the two antique chairs and settee were the first elements. My overall feel for the room was to have a modern interpretation of what Versailles would look like if created today. The shape of the two antique chairs with their round backs and simple tight-back interiors feels modern, yet the carved-wood detailing echoes the past. My inner visual was always to approach the room with the back of the chair, upholstered in an interesting way, framed by sumptuous curtains.

The Versailles Room fireplace by Cumar


Which is your favorite design element in the room? Why? 

The fireplace, with stone and fabrication by Cumar, is the most dramatic and awe-inspiring element in the room! The way the stone has been bonded into a mass, yet has softly curved lines and polished edges, allows it to visually carry the weight of being the center and star of the room!


Which do you think is the most unique element?

The beautiful painting by Luc Leestemaker brings vibrancy and personality to the room. The artist was so adept at bringing the viewer into his painting with color, blending, and abstract imagery. Each viewer sees something different, something personal.


What were the biggest challenges to this project?

An eight week timeframe from sketchpad to opening party was the greatest challenge. The build-out of a complete room—flooring, electrical, furnishings, all custom, all posing a great degree of technical difficulty—was an extraordinary feet. All of the artisans involved worked diligently, with many long nights and weekends, to make this room the success it is.


Tell us about the experience of working closely with a mentee.

How fun to be able to work on a complete project, in a short amount of time, and be able to show all of the tenets of interior design at the same time. The opportunity to show our mentee how hard work, collaboration, scheduling, flexibility—the ability to change a design plan if something either did not work or was unavailable—showed the true picture of what it takes to be successful in the world of interior design. Our mentee, Virginia Sherrer-Thoss, proved herself a valuable team member that was an integral part of the success of this project.


Photographs courtesy of Michael Lee.

“Home for the Holidays” Launches at Neiman Marcus

The Cumar team in the Winter Palace room.


A glamorous reception last Wednesday night kicked-off the “Home for the Holidays” exhibit at Neiman Marcus’ fabulous Copley Place location.

“I never thought in a million years that our little gift gallery could be transformed into three amazing royal residences,” said Daniel Kramer, Vice President and General Manager of Neiman Marcus Boston, in his opening remarks. New England Home publisher Kathy Bush-Dutton spoke next, echoing Kramer’s sentiment and crediting the three designers and their teams.

Tony Fusco, co-producer of “Home for the Holidays,” announced the schedule for Boston Design Week 2015, which takes place March 19–29 in Boston. He then put the spotlight squarely on Cumar’s own Dawn Carroll, who took the microphone to emphasize the vital importance of mentorship in the world of design and in this exhibit especially.

Dawn Carroll talks about mentoring.

“There’s no school for stone design,” Carroll said. “That’s why mentorship is so important to Cumar, and that was part of the reason I founded the Over My Shoulder Foundation. In mentorship, we act as good stewards for our industry and our society.”

To produce “Home for the Holidays,” three Boston designers were invited to re-imagine famous royal palaces, and each were asked to allow a mentee to contribute significantly to the vision and project.

The Versailles room, designed by Paula Daher and mentee Virginia Seherr-Thoss, offers the classic gold trim in perfect balance with the decidedly modern furniture. The finishing touch? A pair of Christmas trees that sparkle with silver and gold ornaments.

Intoxicating in its blend of comfort and style, Gerald Pomeroy and mentee Lauren Cozzi’s Balmoral room boasts green-and-white wall panels of British country scenes, tweedy wall-to-wall carpet, and a rustic lantern chandelier above the table.

In the Winter Palace, Eric Roseff and mentee Evie Hickey dazzle with deep blue walls, a mélange of richly-textured furniture—including green leather chairs and a lush blue sofa-in-the-round—as well as faux windows that face an array of mesmerizing portraits.

Cumar Marble and Granite provided magnificent pieces of stone art for each space, carved fireplaces, framed pieces of semi-precious stones—and something special in the Winter Palace: two gorgeous white natural quartzite columns, both back-lit for ambiance, resembling floor-to-ceiling icicles. Each piece is a stunning work of art.

“Home for the Holidays” can be visited in the home section of the Neiman Marcus store in Copley Place, Boston. The event will close in January 2015 with a mentoring gala sponsored by Cumar and the Over My Shoulder Foundation.

The Mentoring the Event of the Season!

by Dawn Carroll
Designer, Cumar Marble & Granite
Executive Director, Over My Shoulder Foundation

The Over My Shoulder Foundation is a nonprofit that focuses on encouraging and producing unique mentoring projects, and the upcoming “Home for the Holidays” event (co-conceived and co-sponsored by Cumar Marble & Granite) offered the perfect opportunity to do just that.

Boston Design Week invited celebrated Boston talent—Paula Daher, Eric Roseff, and Gerald Pomeroy—to do something they’re probably not used to doing: step (slightly) out of the spotlight. These top designers were asked to support and mentor three burgeoning designers in the conception of three holiday-themed home spaces in the gorgeous Neiman Marcus store at Copley Square, Boston.

This was no small feat. The schedule was aggressive, and the standards extremely high. The mentees—Virginia Seherr-Thos with Daher Interior Design; Evie Hickey with Eric Roseff Design; and Lauren Cozzi with Gerald Pomeroy—were challenged to create a beautiful home display area in one of the most luxurious department stores in the country. It’s a dream come true for anyone in the design world (including me) but for these up-and-coming designers it was also a daunting task.

Luckily, there were talented and careful mentors at the helm. Working with each team in my capacity as a Cumar stone designer, we transformed three blank spaces into amazing rooms that feature stunning contemporary and classic styles. Deadlines were met and refined tastes were satisfied because everyone adopted the mentoring mission of OMSF, wholly embraced by Cumar as well, of “Designing the Next Generation.”

When you mentor someone, you act as a good steward for our industry, for our society, and for future generations. But you also get something that’s totally mind-blowing in return, something that offers a lifetime of satisfaction: the euphoria that comes from having an impact in another person’s life.

Cumar Marble & Granite and the Over My Shoulder Foundation would like to thank everyone who made “Home for the Holidays” possible! We look forward to sharing more of the mentorship stories that blossomed from this fantastic project.

The grand opening event takes place on Wednesday, October 8. If you’re a member of the media and are interested in attending, please contact Annette Goubeaux at Neiman Marcus (, 617-585-6008).

Cumar Goes “Home for the Holidays” with Neiman Marcus

Cumar Marble and Granite, the Over My Shoulder Foundation, Neiman Marcus Boston, Boston Design Week 2015, and New England Home magazine have joined forces to present “Home for the Holidays,” special holiday showrooms featuring the work of three distinguished Boston-based interior design firms—Gerald Pomeroy Interiors, Eric Roseff Designs, and Daher Interior Design—to delight and inspire holiday décor in the home.

“Home for the Holidays” will be unveiled Wednesday evening, October 8 from 6:00-9:00 p.m. at Neiman Marcus Boston, kicking off Boston Design Week 2015 and the Neiman Marcus Boston Holiday season.

The event is free and open to the public. RSVP at

The three showrooms will be on view and open to the public, free of charge, from October 8 through January 31, 2015 during regular business hours in the Gift Galleries department of the famed luxury retailer located in Copley Place. The three custom-­designed rooms are each inspired by a royal residence: the Balmoral Estate in Scotland, Versailles in France, and the Winter Palace in Russia. Each master designer—Gerald Pomeroy, Eric Roseff, and Paula Daher—will mentor a junior member of their team to create the showroom, fully engaging their young partners in their design process.

Working with Gerald Pomeroy will be Lauren Cozzi, a graduate in Interior Design from Adrian College in Michigan. Eric Roseff has chosen Evie Hickey, a graduate of Syracuse University, as his mentee for the project. To work on the project with her, Paula Daher has selected Emily Condon, who received her M.A. in Interior Design from the New England School of Art and Design.

The showcase culminates in January 2015, National Mentor Month, when the Over My Shoulder Foundation and Cumar Marble & Granite will feature a mentoring recognition event open to the public and held on-site at Neiman Marcus Boston. Every item featured in the rooms may be purchased, and clients can shop directly from the Holiday Trees that feature ornaments curated to reflect the royal residences. During the course of the showcase’s run, the designers will host special events to speak to the design process.

“Home for the Holidays” is sponsored by Cumar Marble and Granite and New England Home magazine.



Cumar Presents the 2014 Designing the Next Generation Award to Yolanda Cellucci

On Friday evening, September 5, Cumar Marble & Granite was thrilled to present Boston design legend Yolanda Cellucci with the second annual “Designing the Next Generation Award” during a VIP reception at the Charles River Museum of Industry and Innovation.

This award spotlights the importance of mentoring across generations and cultural barriers—not only to the field of design, where it is vital, but also to the work of creating a better society. Founded by Cumar in 2013, in partnership with the Over My Shoulder Foundation, a mentoring-awareness nonprofit, the award’s inaugural recipient was Governor Michael Dukakis.

For more than four decades, Yolanda Cellucci has worked tirelessly to translate movie-star glamour from the runway and the red carpet to the streets of America. In that time, she has mentored more than her share of young women and men: fashion designers, interior designers, and local media fixtures—as well as a familiar face in the Cumar family.

Award-winning Cumar stone designer Dawn Carroll also serves as the Executive Director of the Over My Shoulder Foundation, and was particularly delighted to be presenting this award on Friday evening.

“Like so many young women, I launched my career at her store,” explains Carroll. “She ignited confidence in me that women could be powerful business leaders, glamorous wives, and nurturing mothers. Yolanda was a wonderful mentor.”

Friday night also marked the opening of “Yolanda: Innovative Fashion Icon; 50 Years of High Heels, Headpieces, and Haute Couture, ” an exhibit of high-fashion gowns that features an all-star lineup of twentieth century designers. Curated by Cellucci herself, the exhibit includes several items from her private collection.

Here are just a few scenes from the event, courtesy of photographer Jim Canole:

Dawn Carroll and YolandaCumar’s Dawn Carroll presents the award to Yolanda Cellucci

Dawn, YolandaYolanda Cellucci (L), Dawn Carroll (R), and Meghan Carroll (center)

Guests enjoy the collection, on display through November 30