On a little pond in Concord, in a serene, idyllic setting, sits the home of two artists - a musician and a painter. Working with John Battle, Battle Associates Architects. they created a home that links their living space with their independent studios.
KR+H's Paul Reidt explained, "It looks like a little cluster of buildings that got knitted together after the fact. Almost as if the buildings were separate structures and then they moved them really close to each other and just connected them. It's sort of fanciful but familiar because it's just New England buildings.
"The inside of the house is very spare so the art and our work really are features. The house is filled with art. There's a lot of land surrounding the home, a lot of open space, so the light coming in is wonderful. And the view to the pond is completely satisfying.
"We worked on the kitchen and we made a very interesting piece at the bottom of the stairway, which is a series of shelves for the display of three-dimensional artwork. It helped to create a separation between the stairway and the entry foyer. And we're doing some more prosaic work for them right now just to organize their storage, which includes a large cd collection."
As we looked at the photos of the kitchen, Paul told the story behind his design. "The kitchen is a really interesting thing. For some of it we used maple plywood and we showed the veneer layers on the edge. Other parts were painted. There's a kitchen and a kind of a pantry area and a little informal seating banquette."
Paul noted one very simple detail that took a lot of work. The homeowners liked the idea of a slot cut into the doors and drawers for opening. Paul said, "We got a little bit concerned about putting your hands on the cabinets all the time and touching the material especially if your hands were wet. So we worked on this detail, and where you touch the opening there is a stainless steel surface. And then we further embellished it by having a second kind of pull behind it that limited your ability to see the contents of the cabinet. It's actually two cup-shaped components - one is on the drawer where you touch it and one is just behind the drawer to block your view. It's a very clean detail."
As our conversation opened into other details in the kitchen, Paul continued, "The kitchen's open shelves were cantilevered. There was no decorative hardware added...just that slot. We limited our palette to paint, tile, stainless steel, stone, and maple. Our client's were very deliberate about the tiles.
"In the areas of the kitchen that are designed to be a little more friendly and domestic and cozy, we changed from paint to maple. We also used maple in the butler's pantry (not shown in photos) as a small gesture toward a traditional butler's pantry that had a little higher level of detail and finish because you could see it from the formal dining room of an older home.
"Everything in this house is simple but distinctive. The homeowners wanted to make sure that things were chosen very carefully and anything that your eye met would be rewarded, but it doesn't scream for your attention. Really it's such a simple kitchen."