How Removing Interior Walls Completely Transformed a Boston Home
It went from formal to fun and playful.
Published Sep 13, 2017 2:30 PM
“While the young family loved their neighborhood in Wellesley, Massachusetts (a suburb of Boston), their split-level ranch didn’t really fit their size,” says architect Matt Simitis of Curl Simitis architecture + design. “The rooms were small and chopped up. They have three young sons, and there wasn’t room for them to really spread out.” The homeowners contracted Curl Simitis to draft plans for the renovation, of which opening up the main floor plan was a central component. (Construction was done by Lynch Construction and Remodeling.) The aesthetics was another key part of the plan as well, as the house felt dark and dated—but the homeowners wanted to infuse the interiors with an airy, modern vibe.
The family and interior decorator Courtney Driver also collaborated with artist Crystalle Lacouture to create art that suited the home’s scheme.
The walls throughout the home are painted the same shade of white, although some rooms have feature walls (or other focal points) that introduce pops of saturated color. The entryway wall covering by Hygge & West features deep indigo dots that look like paint splatters, while the front door is painted a cheery red. Simitis designed a new walnut stair, and it features some interesting geometric angles.
While no additional square footage was added to the house, the layout of the home was dramatically improved upon by doing one simple thing: removing the interior walls. This resulted in an open floor plan on the main level.
“The kitchen, which initially ran from the front to back of the house, was rotated by 90 degrees,” says Simitis. “It now takes up the back of the house, and opens to the family room.” To expand the size of the kitchen, the former dining room became part of the space, while the formal living room the family seldom used became the new dining room.
The kitchen now includes an ample island—it’s nearly five feet wide and 15 feet long—that offers plenty of prep space, as well as an additional seating area. The counters and island top are Caesarstone, and the streamlined stools with steel bases are Vitra.
“For cabinets, the owners wanted very clean and contemporary lines,” says interior designer Courtney Driver. Crafted by Kenyon Woodworking, they are linear and modern, with stainless steel pulls.
Slabs of walnut run along the ceiling and walls of the opening between the kitchen and spacious new breakfast room, where the family enjoys most meals. “The paneling acts as a feature to draw distinction between the two separate spaces,” says Simitis. “The wood also serves to conceal some sculptural beams and columns.”
In the breakfast area, an extra long banquet seat is upholstered in cobalt blue fabric by Kirkby Design. “It’s indoor/outdoor fabric,” says Driver. “Stains and messy handprints can all come off by spot cleaning or machine washing.”
Each son in the family has a favorite color: red, blue, or green. So, their mother wanted the decor to reflect those hues. In the family room, B&B Italia chairs feature a bold shade of red, while the hexagon-shaped cubes that offer extra seating and surface area also exude red and blue. While the parents favor Persian style rugs, they were aware the style didn’t quite meld with the home’s new modern vibe. So, Driver was able to find a deconstructed Persian rug with contemporary flair, designed by Gandia Blasco.
In the dining room, the fireplace was formerly encased in brick that felt old and dreary. “The fireplace and built-in shelves went above the halfway point of the wall, and since the ceilings are on the lower side, that part of the room felt really chopped up,” says Driver. She therefore thought the best way to keep the area cohesive was to paint all the elements one color—a rich green by C2 called Path—so they all blended together.
Drapes made of Black Edition fabric feature different shades of green against a white backdrop, and the walnut table was crafted by Berkshire-based company City Joinery. The light fixture, which has a mid-century vibe, was also locally made by Providence-based Studio Dunn. Room & Board chairs are upholstered in green velvet, and black furnishings—a minimal sideboard and Hans J. Wegner Wishbone side chairs— are striking when paired against the room’s green jewel tones.
In the adjacent bathroom, Carrara marble was used on the vanity and floors to create a luxurious haven. The 12-inch square tiles are laid in unusual geometric patterns, and a similar process was used to create interesting intersections of color with the glass tiles clad on the shower walls. It’s a dramatic departure from the original master bathroom—a tiny space with a Formica sink top, mismatched hardware, and tattered white cabinetry—but it’s one that’s very much appreciated.