continues to be an unwavering modernist, it’s more accurate to call me transitional,
with comfort always a high priority.”
Birkerts found her way to New England when, after earning a master of fine
s degree in Nova Scotia, she stopped off in Boston to visit her brother. She never
made it to her intended destination, New York. Instead, like a bee to honey, she
headed straight to an architectural firm, where she was hired as a color consultant.
Subsequently, she helped found the Boston architectural firm Linea 5. Marriage
and family led her to shift into a freelance career. In 1992, she opened Andra
Birkerts Design. Today, her staff of five stays busy working on mostly residential
projects, though there’s the occasional restaurant or yoga studio to design.
Birkerts’s own Wellesley home was typical of many vintage properties, with
ditions tacked on in less-than-thoughtful ways. A 15-by-25-foot room that spanned
the entire back half of the home was built sometime in the mid-20th century
a lighthearted hand-blocked wallpaper (left)
enlivens one wall in the remodeled kitchen. The round
mirror reflects daylight and creates the illusion of space.
The kitchen (top) opens to the “mini great room” and has
a view through the bank of new windows to the back
garden (bottom), where Footer and Birkerts tend to the
lush greenery. The Charles River is just beyond the trees.