Brown Street House

June '14

After driving along the Charles River from Boston to the more quaint and historical Cambridge, the roads detach from a four lane boulevard to a one-way street lined with 100 year old colonial houses in the Half-Crown Marsh Historical District.

This residential neighborhood lies on the cusp of Harvard University, commercial Harvard Square and the main roadways into Boston. With all these access points surrounding it, the home still feels remote and protected, tucked away in the inner circle of neighborhood streets.

A family of four resides in the 3 bedroom home with a detached garage that doubles as a boat building studio. Strands of horsehair in the original plaster walls can still be felt on their surface. A few original wood flooring planks between the kitchen and formal dining room squeak as you walk back and forth. Keeping these personal, unique characteristics intact, the kitchen and master suite were updated to create an environment better suited for the individuality of the family.

The kitchen’s tall wooden pantry was refinished and the doors were removed to expose the family’s beautiful Japanese dishware. These basic dishes were utilized daily and the family benefited from the easy immediate access. A quick repaint and organization of kitchen essentials added the remaining details needed for an efficient working kitchen.

The master bedroom also needed a few refreshments without stripping the character of the old stoic house. The pealing, flowery wallpaper was removed and the walls got a refreshing hint of energizing yet soothing green paint. The furniture was rearranged and soft, natural textiles were introduced. The Muji aesthetic was used as inspiration for new light fixtures, organized storage for personal belongings, and hints of the family’s identity.

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