This renovation of the public spaces in a compact duplex condo unit in a two-family house in Brookline reflects the homeowner’s love for Scandinavian design. It also employs strategic architectural solutions to add function and create the illusion of more space without expanding the footprint.
The existing condo unit needed a refresh to better align with the new homeowner’s aesthetic, tastes, and lifestyle needs. Although the previous layout was open-plan, the kitchen, living room, and dining room were still distinctly and rigidly defined spatially. The design merges those zones and finds opportunities in the overlap, creating more usable space.
FLOOR PLAN: BEFORE
FLOOR PLAN: AFTER
The kitchen is expanded by overlapping the dining zone, and a new lounge area is added without losing functionality in any of the other spaces. The layout is reorganized to function better for the homeowners, and optical devices are employed to change the space without altering the structure.
The functions within the overlapping spaces comfortably belong to either zone, helping to blur the boundaries between these functions and creating the illusion of a larger area.
Extending the countertop beyond the edge of the opening to the living room, adding a slat wall room screen/divider, and wrapping the beam with wood all work in unison to support the plan and spatial changes.
A wood slat wall is added along the seam between the kitchen and living room to enable the kitchen expansion. This new design element results in a semi-private living room space in an open plan, while allowing the filtered sunlight to enter deep into the space.
The base cabinets that extend the kitchen are two-sided; the cabinets that face the kitchen provide side-board storage for the dining room, and the cabinets that face the living room store a retractable TV.
The restrained palette of warm whites and wood tones results in a simple and calming aesthetic. Warmth is further added to the space through ample natural light and a hint of greenery.
White oak was selected for all new wood elements to complement the original Brazilian Cherry flooring, lightening the space, and balancing out the white ceiling, walls, and cabinetry.
The homeowners’ love for Scandinavian design, characterized by clean, minimal lines, functional design, and warm natural materials, is reflected throughout the interior design.
One seemingly minor change in the trim can significantly impact the space; the existing contractor-grade window and door trim is replaced with minimal wood trim, painted to match the walls in a play of light and shadow to support the clean, minimal aesthetic.
The white oak cabinets and Brazilian cherry flooring imbue warmth to this simple material palette, and a new, larger window increases the natural light and views.
In addition to the architectural design, AeA provided furniture selection and layout services to assist the homeowner in selecting furnishings that complement the new space.
The new dining table can be extended to seat 14 people when hosting family and friends for holidays and special events. A new micro-lounge function was added to the layout between the dining area and entry to support everyday life (when the dining table is not extended).
Adding a coat closet in an already compact space would have been detrimental to the goals of this project, so we saw this as an opportunity to develop a fun solution that is part art installation and part storage solution. Coat hooks are arranged to blend into the wood wall treatment that mimics the open slat wall opposite.
The new wall treatment defines the entry landing space, serves as a backdrop to the new lounge, and looks great with or without the coats and bags it is meant to support.
As an extension of the public spaces in this condo unit, the guest bathroom also enjoyed a modern refresh in this renovation. Even though the room was not reconfigured or enlarged, replacing the fixtures and finishes resulted in a bathroom that is lighter, brighter, and feels larger than it once was.
PROJECT: Condo renovation in Brookline, MA
CONTRACTOR: Flynn Build & Develop
FURNISHINGS: Atelier et Alia
KITCHEN CABINETS: 27eStore
PHOTOGRAPHY: Jared Kuzia Photography