This renovated brick row home in Boston’s South End neighborhood offers a modern aesthetic within a historic structure while also ensuring creative space utilization, exceptional thermal comfort, low carbon footprint, and a passive stream of income.
DESIGN – We designed the street-level entry for the family to includebike storage and a convenient open mudroom with bench and shoe storage. On the main level, we expanded the kitchen into the dining room to create an eat-in space with generous counter space, storage, and a comfortable connection to the living space.
The second floor serves as the master suite and has a bedroom with a walk-in-closet, en-suite bathroom, and an adjacent study with refinished original pumpkin pine floors. The upper floor, aside from a guest bedroom, is the child's domain with interconnected spaces for sleep, work, and play. In the play space, which can be separated from the work space with new translucent sliding doors, we incorporated recreational features inspired by adventurous and competitive television shows at the homeowners’ son’s request.
We left the historic front facade of the building largely unchanged, but the security bars were removed from the windows and the single pane windows were replaced with higher performing historic replicas. We designed the interior with a vision of warm modernism, weaving in the notable period features. Each element was either restored or reinterpreted to blend with the modern aesthetic. The detailed ceiling in the living space has a new matte monochromatic finish, and the wood stairs were painteddark grey, whereas the mahogany doors were simply refinished. New wide-plank wood flooring with a neutral finish, floor-to-ceiling casework, and bold splashes of color in wall paint and tile, and oversized high-performance windows (on the rear facade) round out the modern aesthetic.
The existing rowhome included an undesirable, single-floor studio apartment at the garden level with low ceiling heights and questionable emergency egress. In order to increase the quality and quantity of space in the rental unit, we re-imagined it as a two-floor, one or two bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with a modern aesthetic, increased ceiling height on the lowest level, and an in-unit washer/dryer.
PERFORMANCE - The extent of the renovation allowed us to implement a deep energy retrofit to address air tightness, insulation, and high-performance windows. The historic front facade is insulated from the interior, while the rear facade is insulated on the exterior. Together with these building enclosure improvements, we designed an HVAC system comprised of continuous fresh air ventilation and an efficient, all-electric heating and cooling system to decouple the house from natural gas. This strategy provides optimal thermal comfort and indoor air quality, improved acoustic isolation from street noise and neighbors, as well as a further reduced carbon footprint. We also added charging ports for electric cars and prepared the roof for future solar panels.
Material Used :
1. Rear façade cladding system - StoEIFS
2. Rear windows - Schuco triple pane sourced from European Architectural Supply
3. Paint (walls) - Decorators White, matte finish, Ben Moore with semi-gloss trim
4. Paint (ceiling) - Untinted white, matte finish, Ben Moore
5. Flooring - 5" width, 3/4" old growth white oak flooring, quartersawn, select, end matched, random long lengths, unfinished. Water-based finish after install. Sourced from Vermont Plank Flooring.
6. Master bath vanity – Custom-built walnut with Caesarstone Blizzard top
7. Couch - Osaka from Bo Concept
8. Heating system - Mitsubishi Hyperheat
9. Ventilation system - Zehnder America