The project and challenges:
The structure is a contemporary, stick-built townhouse built in the seventies like many others that dot Cambridge neighborhoods. Purchased ten years ago for its prime location, terrific space and urban yard, the building’s design is, at best, “of its era.”
The project included revitalizing the living spaces and updating the aging kitchen and bathrooms to improve functionality and aesthetics, reflecting the couple’s current take on life.
A major challenge was to edit and integrate the furnishings and objects inherited and collected over decades in two households, now merged. Many of these had great personal significance, like the fish collage created by the wife’s daughter, or the cowboy painting inherited from her late husband’s grandfather (the origin of which has long been lost). Long ago family trips netted the table from Mexico and the rug from Turkey as well as artifacts from India.
Reupholstery was key. A grandmother’s Empire sofa that once belonged to Thomas Edison’s family finally got the attention it deserved, as did her pair of fireplace chairs. The slipper chairs from Brimfield achieved new identities with fabrics and hides. Layering of patterns, finishes and textures creates a rich yet relaxed environment.
Re-arranging table top vignettes keeps the spaces fresh and allows a range of objects to be displayed.
Comfort and ease of use are central to the design. Two seating areas in the living space allow both small and large groups to gather on furniture pieces that are remarkably comfortable.
The refreshed spaces are relaxed, flexible and fun. Furniture and artwork that have a history personalize the space for all members of the household. And there’s an “attic” of objects from which to choose to energize the look going forward.
Photography by Greg Premru