Located on a tree-lined corner in Brookline, the classic exterior of this 1905 home gives little hint of the bright built-ins and pulsating penny tile hiding inside, a surprising burst of color and light that we incorporated into the interior as part of an extensive renovation. The clients, a family of five with a laid-back vibe and a love of vintage mid-century style, purchased the home for its solid structure and great neighborhood. We worked with them to transform an inefficient layout and dark formal rooms into a more open and relaxed space that reflected their casual lifestyle and creative kids.
The project began with a rethinking of the existing kitchen, which was awkwardly configured, with minimal space for cabinets and little natural light. We discovered that part of the existing kitchen had been a porch that was enclosed in a previous renovation. To make the kitchen feel bigger, we actually made it smaller, restoring the original porch and incorporating large sliding glass doors to wash the space in light and reconnect it to the backyard. We removed walls that divided the kitchen from the dining room, creating a line of sight that stretches across the home and from inside to out. To maximize kitchen storage, we transformed an original maid service stair into a series of stepped built-in cabinets that house the refrigerator, pantry, and open shelving.
Upstairs, the house initially contained four bedrooms and one small bathroom. To make the house more functional for family life, we combined the two front bedrooms into a large sun-filled primary bedroom suite, exposing treetop views through a series of double-hung windows that span across the space. In the new primary bathroom, an unexpected flood of vibrant blue penny tile spills from the shower wall to the floor evoking a sparkling sea. The motif is continued in the renovated hall bathroom which contains a splash of green penny tile that similarly transitions from floor to wall. In the third-floor attic space, we combined white paint with brightly colored accents to create airy study and sleeping spaces for the children.
Throughout the interior, we incorporated plywood cabinets with colorful nooks to imbue a warm and joyful feeling while also providing functional areas to organize books, school projects and everyday items. The cabinets define the kitchen and dining spaces and are woven through the house, reappearing as a built-in bench in the living room, vanities in the bathrooms and a large wardrobe in the new primary bedroom. The plywood cabinets along with mid-century modern furniture and lights create visual continuity and a playful contrast between the home’s 1905 bones and our bright and modern interventions.
General Contractor: SL Mario Construction
Photography: Joyelle West