With their move from the City of Light to the Capital of Education, the owners – who had been looking for a small already renovated house – fell in love with this rambling 19th century house on historic Brattle Street,…
Ruhl Walker Architects was asked to transform a banal 'Deck' house into a dramatic and highly flexible home to accommodate both a fluctuating set of domestic, entertaining, and business functions, as well as the owner's deteriorating health through enhanced accessibility.
The exterior design strategy selectively removes existing overhangs and extends end walls in order to create a new formal identity, defined by planes of copper paneling that mask the existing house.
The upper level meditation garden is defined on two sides by the renovated house, on the formal entry side by a copper plane, and on the fourth side by a louvered mahogany screen; its horizontal surface, open to the sky, is predominantly black river rock, with three etched glass light blocks and a glass-bottomed reflecting pool illuminating both the garden and the new lower level spaces.
The two levels are connected by an interior ramp, illuminated from above with translucent glazing so that the path into the house would be from relative darkness up towards the light, with a view out to the woods and pond at the halfway point, and a view into the meditation space at the top; this space would also double as a gallery for the owner's extensive collection of ancient Chinese artwork.