This 1840s Boston merchant's home was built as a modest Victorian Gothic cottage and carriage house. The carriage house once stood at a comfortable remove from the main house, but subsequent renovations in the 1850s, 1890s, 1920s, 1960s and 1990s expanded the two buildings, crowding the site's narrow ridge. Inside, renovated spaces ran into each other, making the buildings even more cramped and confusing. 


The present owner sought to renovate and to expand the property yet again, beginning with the carriage house. This space serves as  entertaining and athletics space, as well as garage, guest quarters, and pool house. I sought to conserve as much of the building as possible, while preserving its historic street-facing facade. I redesigned the building from the inside-out, focusing on the problematic transitions between structures built at different elevations, one on the ridge top, the other down the hill. I selectively excavated and designed a short ridge beam cantilever, to lengthen one gabled roof while shortening the other. The redesigned stairways and circulation conserves space and provide a formal entry sequence and clear logic to the interior.

I used interior areas cut off from daylight and with low gabled ceilings to best advantage, with a spa and changing room on the first floor and a mechanical room on the second. I consolidated the five preexisting mechanical areas into a single, easily-accessible space. I used the low-ceilinged space  under the narrowest roof gable as a sitting room for the two guest suites: a library that serves as both threshold to and sound barrier from the rest of the building.


At the rear of the site, I designed the building to telescope out to the landscape through a high-ceilinged living room. An open and closed trellis extends this room outside; its glass walls meet at an open corner. This modern space blurs this boundary between indoors and outdoors and reorients the building to a previously neglected wooded hillside. This out-building is a retreat from and source of contrast to the main house. Though it occupies 5,000 square feet, the carriage house stands independently without vying with the main house for importance.


Credits: Maryann Thompson Architects; Reed|Hilderbrand Landscape Architects; Elms Interior Design