In the Darwinian world of Boston-area residential real estate, older homes on high-value lots have to run pretty hard to outpace the wrecker's ball. This one looked like it was going to lose the race. Confused in style and packing only half the square footage its owners wanted, it seemed a poor platform on which to build. But architect Marcus Gleysteen saw in the house enough worthy features—steeply pitched gables, a pair of fine chimneys, a walnut-paneled library—to form the core of a more highly evolved design. The resulting remodel preserves most of the original structure while doubling its square footage and giving the house a thoroughly new and appealing character.
Duplicating an existing gable form to produce a strongly symmetrical entry elevation, Gleysteen ditched the original colonial theme for a bolder Shingle-style flavor that stands up well to the house's increased scale. The new plan preserves most of the existing formal spaces while greatly expanding informal areas on the first floor, creating a full master suite, and adding such amenities as a second-floor laundry and a dramatic radiused screened porch. Virtually every inch of the building got an upgrade in materials and detailing, but given the degree of improvement, remarkably little went into the trash bin. Calling the finished product “well mannered” and “beautifully crafted,” our judges commended both architect and builder on how well they “leveraged the basic assets of the house.”
Entrant/Architect: Gleysteen Design, Cambridge, Mass.
Builder: Bensley & Co., South Hamilton, Mass.
Living space: 7,500 square feet
Site: 1.5 acres
Construction cost: $250 a square foot
Photographers: Richard Mandelkorn, Marcus Gleysteen
Resources: Bathroom plumbing fittings/fixtures: Waterworks 424; Oven: Thermador 407; Paint: Benjamin Moore 406; Refrigerator: Sub-Zero 408; Windows: Marvin 590.