THIS REINTERPRETATION OF A HUMBLE 19TH- century Yankee barn hugs the northern edge of an unusually large lot in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and it was this generous piece of land that both inspired the house design and was its genesis. The owner, who is originally from the Midwest,
had planned to build three smaller houses on the 175-by-176-foot plot.
However, he soon came to realize that this open patch of land in a
densely packed urban neighborhood was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a dream house for his family of four.
His goals were simple: to build a “classic New England house”
that was large but not ostentatious and used sustainable principles and
was LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified by the US Green Building Council. He also wanted “a 100-year
house” that is, one built the way they just don’t build houses anymore.
In short, he wanted comfort, efficiency, and the
very best quality. Other than declaring his love for
Shaker barns, he wisely put his trust in the skills of
his architects and contractor.
Most builders and architects will attest that
to be hired by people who know what they aspire
to is rare. For Duncan MacArthur of MacArthur
The contractor had worked with the client before, and it was he
who introduced his patron to the architects. MacArthur was trained
as a filmmaker, but he supported his fledgling movie career by doing
in contrast to the ensemble of cozy furniture in the center of the
living room (above), the north wall (right) offers a modern take on
Shaker interiors. The open staircase is a strong sculptural element set
between tall, narrow, simply framed windows. An extended credenza-like storage unit conceals the stairs to the basement.