New lease of life

Formerly a collection of small boxy rooms, this remodeled family living area has transformed a 1920s house and the family's lifestyle
Story by: Colleen Hawkes
An extensive remodeling project has transformed this 1920s backyard, cottage, courtyard, estate, farmhouse, garden, home, house, landscape, landscaping, outdoor structure, property, real estate, yard
An extensive remodeling project has transformed this 1920s house, both inside and out. The new great room opens up to a pool terrace and alfresco dining area with its own outdoor kitchen.

Gracious family homes built in the 1920s are highly sought after, especially in Boston's more prestigious suburbs.

But all too often, families learn to live with disconnected rooms, simply accepting this is the price to pay for a slice of history and a top location.

However, it doesn't have to be this way, as this remodeling project shows. Architect John Meyer says many older homes are exceptionally solid and well built, and are not as difficult to remodel as people might expect.

"These houses are strong enough to support the structural steel beams needed to open up the interior," he says.

"For this project, walls were removed, ceilings raised, and an addition created to completely open up the kitchen to a spacious family living area. We also introduced large steel-framed glass doors to provide a strong connection to the outdoors and the pool terrace. The owners wanted the whole space to flow."

To maintain a link with the past, the cabinetry is a pared-back Shaker style.


Traditional open plan kitchen ceiling, dining room, home, interior design, living room, real estate, room, white
Traditional open plan kitchen

"The owners wanted something simple and a little low key," says the architect. "While solid, the cabinets have enough delicate detail to fit in with the Tudor architecture we wanted to retain a sense of that era.

"There is a beadboard detail around the doors, and there are turned legs at one end of the island, which create the look of a traditional farmhouse table. And the overhead display cabinets with leadlight windows are another link. The cabinets appear to float above the peninsula, with an arched opening in the middle serving to animate the space."

Meyer says the overhead cabinets help to define the kitchen within the overall living space. They also break up the great expanse of ceiling, as does the coffered ceiling above the kitchen, which makes the room seem more spacious. The large steel ceiling beams required for the remodel were boxed and painted to resemble large wood beams.

To introduce a colorful accent, the lower cabinets were painted blue. The color complements the decor of the rest of the house, which is quite dark.

"The blue helps to anchor the cabinets to the floor it sets them apart from the white overhead cabinets that float above," says Meyer. "The white marble countertop on the island is also part of the liveliness. It's a bright contrast to the gray-toned granite of the perimeter countertops.

"This space needed to create a strong contrast to the darker rooms. We wanted people to walk in here and experience an explosion of light and space."

New arched glass doors allow plenty of light cabinetry, ceiling, countertop, cuisine classique, home, interior design, kitchen, room, gray
New arched glass doors allow plenty of light to flood the interior of this remodeled kitchen.

Meyer says the large, open living area is also a much better fit with modern lifestyles, which invariably center on the family living space and the outdoors.

The architect has retained other links to the original house, however. Brickwork that had been partially hidden has been exposed. This can be seen on one side of the kitchen and in the butler's pantry between the kitchen and dining room.

"We took that motif and used it as an accent throughout the house," says Meyer. "For example, it appears on the backsplash of the hearth-style cooking center. Some of the bricks in the butler's pantry were salvaged from the Old North Church, the historic church where, during the Revolution, Paul Revere lit the lantern to warn troops of the enemy approaching."

Functionality has been assured with the remodel. There is ample counter space so more than one person can work simultaneously. And because the kitchen opens up to the alfresco dining area on the terrace, it is easy to move dishes between inside and out.

Mar 05, 2014

Credit list

Architect
John I Meyer AIA, Meyer & Meyer Architecture & Interiors (Boston,MA)
Kitchen decorator
Kate Maloney Albiani, KMI Design
Builder
Kells Construction
Hardware
Cremone bolts and knobs, and appliance pulls from Signature Hardware; knobs from Whitechapel Hardware; Häfele pulls from Raybern Co
Backsplash
Terra Green Ceramics from Discover Tile LLC; Trikeenan Tile from Urban Archaeology
Faucets
Rohl from Ferguson Plumbing
Doors and windows
Crittall from Steel Windows & Doors, USA
Dining and lounge chairs
Partners in Design
Bar stools
Vintage industrial drafting stools
Lighting
Cisco Brothers Jug lamps; Currey & Co Goddess chandelier
Ventilation
Braun
Dishwasher
KitchenAid
Water dispenser
Whitehaus Collection
Interior designer
Laura Brooks Meyer, Meyer & Meyer Architecture & Interiors
Cabinet company
Weston Kitchens
Cabinetry
Painted wood
Countertops
Pietra del Cardosa, honed from
Sink
Elkay Avado
Flooring
White oak
Dining table
Custom walnut oval trestle table by Holmes Fine Furniture
Desk chair
Hickory Chair
Wall coverings
Scallop Filigree by F Schumacher & Co
Range and warming drawer
Wolf
Refrigeration
Sub-Zero
Waste disposal
InSinkErator Evolution Excel
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