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There are some interiors that take your breath away, they become even more awe inspiring when you discover the story of how they were created. An historic home in Brookline, Massachusetts may epitomize these sentiments.
After over a century of piecemeal renovations this iconic structure in Brookline’s 19th century residential history had become a deceivingly decrepit, nearly uninhabitable abode. Enter an ambitious Belgian, intent on relocating to the Boston area and settling on this historic property. Little did he know the extent to which the building would need to be renovated to make it not just beautiful, but habitable. Now enter a Boston-based “intentionally small, full service architectural firm”, BUTZ + KLUG Architecture, with a knack for extraordinary beauty and an eye for detail. This combination of client and architect would be just what the home needed to bring it back to greatness. Working arm in arm with the construction firm, Bay Point Builders, the work began.
Although the aesthetic aspirations for this home were impressive, it was only when construction began that the building revealed the full impact of neglect on its structural integrity. The parts of the foundation were on the verge of collapse and the 150+ year old floor framing was so out of level and compromised that all interior framing had to be replaced.
After repairing the foundation, a completely new building was carefully framed (walls and floors) inside the old balloon frame shell and then attached to it to stabilize it. This allowed the entire exterior to be ‘de-clad’ and replaced so that a very high level of building envelope efficiency was created. When it was complete the home resembled its appearance when it was first built in 1855, but with an extraordinary degree of energy efficiency and integrity including R45 walls, the first Stretch energy code compliant glass doors and double hung windows in Massachusetts, and Warmboard radiant heat. As a compliment to the level of quality of its energy systems the home also has appliances from Miele and Thermador, although largely hidden from view, their quality and function were a natural fit for the house and the life style of the owners.
For the architects, energy efficiency was not only a technical goal but an important point of departure for the building’s aesthetics and life of the family. Ventilation and natural light throughout the day are meticulously orchestrated and the thought put into this is apparent in the location, detail and function of the windows, doors, skylights, and retractable screens, even down to the window and door hardware designed by the Architects.
“We wanted to create a series of spaces that would respect the rituals of modern life.”
The old plan of the house; segregated rooms with segregated functions, was replaced with a series of interwoven spaces. The old separate ‘kitchen’ and ‘dining room’ gave way to a more fluid space where the family prepares and takes their meals as well as works, does homework, checks email, pays bills, hangs out; all of the things that are part of contemporary family life.
This fluidity complements the approach to energy efficiency resulting in a building where the inside spaces and outside spaces blend in a way that take advantage of the natural breezes that cross the site and allow the family to enjoy the remarkable landscape surrounding the house. The finishes and materials of the interior are the result of a close collaboration between the design team at BUTZ + KLUG Architecture and the client; a style that was inspired by Belgian design which favors natural materials; this allows the patina of age, warm tones, and décor that makes a home feel comfortable, but uncluttered, so it is still rich and luxurious.
The homeowner wanted the interior to reflect the character and history of the home, and floors were just one of many important aspects to address this intention.
The floors had to be significant enough to look comfortable in such an historic home, but not so dramatic it would deter from the overall design or lack unauthenticity.
“Materials and colors are like the soundtrack of the movie, you aren’t necessarily conscious of them, but they can make or break a work of art.”
The architect worked closely with the design team at the Carlisle Boston Showroom, and helped create a wood floor design that would fulfill the homeowner’s exact vision.
Given the historic significance of the space, wide plank white oak with a unique “brushed” surface was the perfect fit; the dimension and texture were appropriate for the scale of the interwoven spaces as well as looking completely at home in a 19th century building – strip oak floors would not only have been lost in the scale of the spaces, but would have minimized the authentic look of the home. The only exception to this was the use of a custom herringbone plank floor in the family room – another European inspired floor design, that remains popular “across the pond.”
At Carlisle, we love working Interior Designers, Architects and Builders as they navigate the flooring selecting process and help their clients achieve their ultimate vision for their space. We know every project is unique and listen closely to our trade partners to provide the best flooring styles and solutions so they can feel confident and comfortable referring and specifying a Carlisle floor to their clients.
The Wide Plank White Oak flooring designed for this project is just one of many custom creations we design each day. Our Wide Plank Specialists make it surprisingly easy to find exactly what you want and work with all parties involved to ensure complete satisfaction.
Contact us today to speak with a Carlisle Wide Plank Specialist about your project – no matter where you are located you can talk, shop, select and buy your new flooring right from Carlisle, the same company that makes each floor, right here in the USA.
This project was featured in Boston Home Magazine article “Kitchen Guide 2016: The Anti-Kitchen,” and the home won them a nod from Best of Boston for Best Urban Renovation Architect.