Located in the rolling hills of central Massachusetts, this “deck” house was originally constructed in the 1970s. Its design utilized many of the principles found in the work of modern architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Fay Jones. Large expanses of glass, exposed structure, and an emphasis on the horizontal contribute to create an attractive, off-beat design.
Upon purchasing the house, our clients asked us to reconfigure its rooms, materials and details to synthesize their own needs and tastes with the home’s special attributes. Working largely within the limits of the existing structure, we chose to “layer” a system of walls, surfaces, steel screens, and other features as a means of adding dimension and visual interest to the unrelenting repetition of beams and structure found throughout the house. Where the presence of the existing brick was visually overbearing, new layers of plaster surfaces were sculpted to surround parts of the brick volumes while still revealing the underlying construction. Where the spatial volumes in the dining room and entrance were out of scale, a new system of screens made of steel and canvas was suspended from ceilings and anchored from walls. This system not only helps define and soften the scale of the space, but also helps absorb sound and functions as a source of light. The visual themes of these screens were carried throughout the house in the detailing of railings, balconies, and seats.
In contrast to the continuous use of rectilinear geometries in the original house, the new layers often incorporate curves and freer forms of geometry. For instance, the new master bathroom was molded to fit the contours of the human body. Similarly, the biomorphic kitchen counter’s shape was determined by mediating optimal sightlines while accommodating the flow of people through the space.