In their Victorian home, architects Susan Cory and Dan Tenney
create an aesthetic that spans centuries
Written by CATHERINE BASHAM • Photography by GREG PREMRU
Weeds overwhelmed the front
yard and the roof shingles were
rotted. Concrete blocks from
the foundation of an old garage
cluttered the backyard. Inside,
the kitchen — small, outdated,
and dark — sat isolated from the other living spaces.
Still, once architect Susan Cory stepped through the
front door of the 1889 Victorian, she was sold.
The bright foyer was a room unto itself, with its
own fireplace and light streaming in from all directions.
Its wide doorways welcomed visitors, and the classic
Victorian staircase with a backdrop of original frosted-glass windows created a striking focal point. The open-ness and light cast a spell over Cory and her husband,
Dan Tenney, principal architect at S E A Consultants
in Cambridge, Massachusetts. And though the couple,
who had been living contentedly just a block away in
this neighborhood of tree-lined streets and 19th-century
houses near Porter Square in Cambridge, wasn’t in the
market for a new house, they bought the property.
“The place looked really sad,” says Tenney. “It just
needed someone to say, ‘Hey, we know what you look
like, house.’” It took two architects to take on the challenge. Cory, who works from home, specializes in resi-
dential architecture, while Tenney works on commercial projects. For this renovation, she focused on design
and details, and he dealt more with construction.
Through a seven-month redesign process, the couple worked to extend the front hall’s effortless elegance
to the rest of the house. The stunning result combines
modern and traditional elements in an impressive balance of their personal tastes and their allegiance to the
home’s original style.