April 2001

Contributors (Excerpt)


Mary Ellen Mark has snapped some of the most brilliant photographs of modern times. In this issue, she focuses on Bostonian Maureen Griffin Balsbaugh. Her subjects have included Mother Teresa, Madeleine Albright, Jean-Claude Van Damme –and skinheads in L.A.’s Antelope Valley. He favorite cities to shoot are Calcutta and Mexico City, and she grew up in Philadelphia, but Manhattanite Mark insists there is no city she’d rather call home. “I’ll never leave it,” she says. “Unlike most New Yorkers, I don’t even go to the country on weekends.”


Maureen Griffin Balsbaugh originally came to Boston to go to college, as so many others have. She lived in Paris and New York before returning with her husband, Richie Balsbaugh, a local radiostation owner who has his own popular talk show. Balsbaugh, who has a fast‑track mind, found that in Boston she could combine a successful career as an interior designer with an involvement in charities and still have time left over for a traditional life in a renovated 180-year‑old Chestnut Hill house. Balsbaugh's eclectic taste (her own home is decorated in a mixture of classic antiques and Philippe Starck) has helped her carve out an interesting professional niche, designing homes for such clients as part‑time Boston residents Columbia Records vice‑president Charlie Walk, and former E! presenter Bianca Ferrar Latessa. The project currently on her front burner is rethinking the interiors of the St. Mary's Women and Infants Home in Dorchester, mak­ing the hospital‑like setting feel homier for the single, homeless mothers staying there. That's just one of her pro bono activities; charity work is her other "career." Like much of young Boston, Balsbaugh likes spending nights out and also entertaining at home. On Saturdays, she is apt to turn up at the trendy Café Louis, wearing leather pants and boots; and she frequents clubs like Modern (see "Ultimate Nightlife," left). But the Balsbaughs also regularly host dinner parties in Chestnut Hill; recently a sommelier held a wine tasting for twenty friends. Balsbaugh regularly hops on the shuttle flight to New York for dinner or shopping, and she finds antiques in Paris and modern fixtures in Los Angeles, but for living she prefers Boston. "It has a wonderful city‑country feel," she says. For a young woman who wants to put down roots in a city that values both tradition and innovation, Boston is a good fit