Before a client moved from a city penthouse to an expansive 8,000-square-foot Brookline historic home where they would raise their young family, The Lagassé Group was enlisted to give an 1850s traditional home a glamorous—and substantial—interior renovation. The home had been blessed with a few additions at one other point in time, explains Kevin Lagassé, Executive Vice President of The Lagassé Group, and the new homeowners loved the “bones” of the house and its classic sensibilities.
While there wasn’t much to be modified structurally, the “remaking” of this historic home was no small undertaking. The Lagassé Group would install all new mechanical and electrical systems, update and rework the kitchen and butler’s pantry, refashion a bright and beautiful conservatory into a space for all seasons and convert a third-floor office/man cave into a gorgeous guest quarters. They’d complete all of this without disturbing the original features wherever possible, and replicate the moldings if needed. And, oh yes, they’d do it within five months time.
In the kitchen, the cabinets for the most part stayed in place, explains Lagassé, but they were renovated and refaced with new doors, new slides and a soft close. All of the appliances were exchanged for today’s top models and the range was refreshed with a gleaming new hood overhead. The island was taken down a notch—it was quite high—to achieve a more user-friendly counter height, and its marble refitted for the new dimensions.
A stylish black-and-white service and butler’s pantry, right off the kitchen, was also given an update. As practical as it is chic, it boasts extra storage for glassware and plenty of marble counter space to prep for parties.
Crafting a year-round light-filled oasis from a two-season conservatory was the home’s largest challenge, and an award-winning one. As the existing structure couldn’t be moved per the Historic District mandate, the custom builder had to match, exchange and augment the materials of the resplendent space onsite. The team pulled up the floor, and installed new mechanical systems and radiant flooring, as well as an HVAC system to cool the room come summer and warm it in winter. Existing panes were added to and/or swapped out for insulated glass on the upper portion of the frame, and secured by new structural steel and additional bents that could bear the weight of snow.
An upstairs office on the third level was reimagined as a cozy and sophisticated guest suite. Most of the moldings, including wonderful window grills, were reproduced to echo the original trim, and a new fireplace surround was integrated. Silver leaf paper sheathes the soaring vaulted ceiling, catching the light as well as the eye.
Lagassé credits Elms Interior Design for the home’s inspired aesthetic and for striking a balance between modern and timeless elements. While the home has classic underpinnings, exuberant design choices—from color to art to light fixtures—give the home vitality and drama. This design philosophy allowed some of the client’s modern pieces from the city to find expression here in Brookline.
What is perhaps most enduring about the home, says Lagassé, is the way it mingles the more formal, often opulent, public spaces with lively, customized kid-friendly areas for the children.
So, while the parlor may showcase a black onyx fireplace, and lavish draperies, upholstery and wall coverings, the main stair contains a spirited hideout, made expressly for the kids. While grand in scale, “the home is easy to live in,” contends Lagassé. There’s an intimacy to the spaces, and “a setup that really works for the family.”
Renovation by The Lagassé Group
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