Cambridge Townhouse(s)

An MIT Professor had been living in his rustic bachelor pad for a decade when he had the opportunity to purchase the adjacent unit. Both townhouses were built as part of a small development in the 1970s by a prolific design/build firm called Bell & Fendetti who erected scores of similar structures throughout Cambridge. Mono-pitch roofs, split-level stacked-loft plans, and exposed heavy timber structure gave these condos with a tiny footprint a distinct character.

Our challenge was to reflect this character in a versatile and gracious new home. Steel columns reinforce and replace existing wood beams. Above the dining table hangs the client's prized Porca Miseria chandelier by Ingo Mauer, visible from nearly every room in the house. An open plan living space on the first floor incorporates the kitchen and visually extends into the luscious backyard with large folding glass doors. A double-height bay window floods the space with more light.
We removed both existing stairs and designed a new one that soars through the entry and full-height dining areas while organizing the home into it's functional quadrants.

On the second floor, the exercise room hides a Murphy bed behind a mirrored wall. A dedicated guest bedroom, full bathroom and spectacular office suspended above the living room complete this floor.
The highlight of the Master Suite on the third floor is the bathroom. Requested by the client (a bit of a math nerd), a Penrose pattern uses two shapes in defined configurations but never repeats. With the help of a water-jet cutter and a patient tile installer, the master bathroom sees this pattern applied continuously to every vertical surface.

firm C&J Katz Studio
— lead designer, project manager
location — Cambridge, MA
scale — 2000 sf
general contractor — Bortell/Stroud Associates
photographySteven Hien
date of completion — November 2015