visit written by barbara meltz • photographed by sam gray
JAN GLEYSTEEN • Though his architectural practice is rooted in New England
classics, his home is a delightful departure to the unexpected
STANDING BENEATH THE LARGE CENTRAL SKYLIGHT IN THE EXPAN- sive kitchen at the heart of his Wellesley, Massachusetts, home, architect Jan Gleysteen welcomes you to his secret life. Gleysteen, who built his 20-year practice, Jan Gleysteen Architects Inc. in Wellesley, around classical architecture and a love for historical accuracy, has built and renovated
staples of New England home styles, from English Tudors to Georgian Colonials. Yet when design-
ing his own house, he “decided to take a vacation from myself. This is a
contrast to anything I’ve done for any client.”
Combining contemporary and Japanese design, Gleysteen’s home
has an open first-floor plan with curved beams and cathedral ceilings, Arts
and Crafts post-and-beam columns, and a repeating geometric grid. The
disparity between work and personal life is only half of Gleysteen’s secret,
though: Nothing about the exterior hints at what’s inside.
“I love the surprise of presenting one face to the outer world, of having it contextually relate to the neighbors, and having something else
entirely inside,” he says.
Built in 1910 in the Shingle Style, the house was renovated by
Gleysteen in 2004 using the Stick Style of alternating clapboard and shingles. He kept the carved rafter tails of the facade, the original windows, and
about 50 percent of the interior, including two 10-by-10-foot front bedrooms.
Then he created a “second” house behind the first, with a kitchen, dining
area, and family room on the first floor, and a serene, very private master