Mix Master

The Contemporary-meets-Classic style of artisan bagel cafe owner Milena Pagan


The corner of Doyle Avenue and Camp Street had long been nondescript with a series of businesses opening and closing in a commercial space shuttered with those metal roll-up doors. That is, until Milena Pagan chose the spot for her business Rebelle Artisan Bagels and brightened it all up with blue-on-blue awnings, buttercup yellow trim, and outdoor bistro sets. Milena notes that everything from the building to the branding was inspired by a Marimekko print, the Finnish-based company known for their large flower designs in bold combinations. “I am a fan of bright colors, textures, more-is-more, mixing patterns, and putting things together because I like them without worrying about matchy-matchy. My rule is: If you like it, put it up. It’ll make sense together.”

Milena’s M.O. applies to her home interior as well. She and husband Darcy have lived in a Blackstone neighborhood Colonial since 2014 “after HGTV brainwashed us into being homeowners,” she explains with a chuckle. Milena and Darcy were instantly drawn to the East Side for its “pretty houses and well-tended gardens.” Says Milena, “Our house was in great shape and a good value. It wasn’t 100 percent my style, but I lived in a ton of rentals and knew we could jazz it up.”

And jazz it up, they did. Like her café, the interior of the couple’s home welcomes in plenty of natural light along with graphic elements and striking fixtures. “We use a lot of blue and gray in our home, which gives the perfect neutral backdrop for whatever wild stuff we want to add. In small spaces like our half bath, we went wild with color (coral pink walls!) and texture for visual interest.”

Milena likes to be practical about what she buys and keeps in the home. “Everything has to have a purpose and/or not get in the way. We don’t have our bed covered in decorative pillows and we don’t keep things that people aren’t allowed to touch,” she says. “We enjoy a mix of high/low and objects from our travels – like a collection of framed photos from earlier in our relationship that bring me joy. We also do a fair amount of DIY with pops of bright and bold colors. It’s a perfect reflection of who we are and how we live: a bit messy, not too serious, full of life and color, and good taste, too!”


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here