One + One = One

Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

This early 1900s Dutch Colonial residence was originally designed as a twin duplex, each half of which was occupied by a family. In 2006, one of the owners had the opportunity to buy the adjoining unit and asked that the architectural synergy of the two halves was turned into a "greater-than-the-sum-of-their-parts" whole.

The design respects the home's integrity, honoring its scale and proportion, while providing modern conveniences and contemporary style. The scheme does not attempt to disguise the fact that the home was once a duplex—rather, it celebrates the fact. Graceful double staircases are preserved as a centerpiece of the home, and one of the two front doors has been converted to a large window of the same size.

A new kitchen spans the old dividing line, and features bleached walnut cabinets and a green tile backsplash. An adjacent informal eating area is enclosed in floor to ceiling glass. An adjoining living space expands the modestly sized house out to the site through new large openings in the brick and wood structure. Inside an expanded study and renovated guest bath give the owners more room to breathe. The existing central dividing wall is perforated to open up the space and allow more light and air to flow through the home. Whitewashed oak flooring and Brazilian slate are used throughout the first floor, and address both the organic nature of the site and update the arts and crafts style residence.