Love This New, Old House: An Airy and Unique Renovation of a Winchester Home
Written by Jenna Talbott • Photographed by Greg Premru • Architecture by Carter Williams, LDa Architecture & Interiors • Interiors by Lindsay Bentis, Thread // It’s a more and more familiar tale: a young family swaps city life for the suburbs and falls in love with an elegant old home. And as these tales often go, the house has good bones (it’s been standing for well over 100 years) but time has taken its toll. In this case, the home was a turn-of-the-century gem in ‘The Flats’ neighborhood of Winchester, Massachusetts, offering charm and historic detailing along with a gracious entry hall, formal dining and living rooms, and front upstairs bedrooms. But it was last updated in the ‘50s, and in need of a healthy dose of casual comfort and beauty to support and inspire modern family living.
Enter Carter Williams of Cambridge-based LDa Architecture & Interiors. Carter’s specialty is architectural solutions that embrace the uniqueness of a site, and she knew that not only did the shingle-style home beg for an exterior restoration, but serious attention was needed at the back of the house. A poorly-functioning addition that had served as a three-season sunroom required removal down to the framing but once rebuilt, this would allow for an expanded kitchen, a casual eating area and new family room to become the heart of the home. New construction created adjoining spaces much more in keeping with how families live today. A garage was also added, and connected to the house via a family-sized mudroom, another essential zone for a growing family on the go.
In the new kitchen, a dropped steel beam was added to support the wide opening that was cut into the former back wall of the house. This became the “jumping-off point” for designing a decorative coffered ceiling. “This allowed us to connect the new space aesthetically to the traditional detailing of the older home,” says Carter. While the new addition is modern in its open-plan layout, historically-inspired details were included, such as a barn door concealing a built-in micro office off the kitchen, a vintage-inspired pedestal sink in the powder room, and an original arch-top leaded window, salvaged and restored from the former living room, which now overlooks a casual eating area.
As the renovations neared completion, interior designer Lindsay Bentis of Thread joined the team. Originally from Los Angeles, Lindsay draws inspiration from her West Coast upbringing. She assisted in selecting paint colors, wallpaper, lighting, accessories and furniture. “We mixed high and low, as well as new and vintage,” says Lindsay. “I love this kind of mix because it feels warm, lived-in and unique.” She sourced original art by California artist Crystal Michaelson and other pieces via Jules Place in Boston, expertly blending what she calls West Coast “organic modernism” into this historic New England home.
“At every step, our clients were fantastic and fun collaborators,” says Carter. “They bravely recognized the need to reimagine and rebuild in order to give their home’s rich but run-down history a very bright future.”