granite, finished in three textures, forms the fireplace
surround. The roughest was cut away to reveal a finer finish
on the mantel, while the smoothest was used for the hearth.
A stone border runs the length of the sliding doors into the
reading nook in the prime spot in the house, the southeast
corner. A second, more intimate, reading nook (top right)
was carved out under the stairs.
But the family, which had been searching for a location like
this one for 15 years, was undeterred by the antiquated house and
the untamed, challenging lot. They made an offer, fully anticipating an extensive renovation to modernize the building, one that
would include interesting architectural details for the husband
and spaces drenched with natural light for the wife.
“Our family is in final form, so we wanted to design a house
for the way we live,” says the husband. “We weren’t planning on
After the walk-through, Adams set to work on a renovation
plan with an addition per the owners’ request, as well as a second
plan — of his own accord — that was a complete reinvention.
When presented with both, the owners instantly went for the
At the core of the new design was a paradox of spaces —
a large main living area contrasted with private “places to hide.”
The kitchen, informal dining area, and living room are housed in
an open expanse on the first floor, which also includes a secluded
family room with a wood-burning fireplace and a guest suite/
office. Upstairs is a hallway lined with the children’s bedrooms,
their shared bathroom, a laundry room, and the master suite.
“The house is organized around these very cellular, very
modest-sized bedrooms, but then down below, you have a whole
sense of everything being very dynamic and unified,” says Adams.