58R Pulaski Street, Peabody, MA
290 Second Avenue, Waltham
25 Commerce Way, N. Andover
112 Middlesex Street, N. Chelmsford
106 Route 125, Kingston, NH
in the entry hall, a seat
from the Boston Garden is
mounted on a piece of
parquet flooring, also from
the Garden. At the back of
the house (below), the
main living area spills onto
the upper deck while the
playroom opens to the
protected area beneath it.
the “contemporary penthouse
look,” a kind of “sharp” presentation, whereas Kessel had more of a
refined “traditional feel” in mind.
If form ever followed function, this house is the poster child.
The couple wanted to get as close
to the water as setbacks allowed,
which dictated a long, rather than
deep, footprint on the sloping par-
cel. “This was the ninth time I’ve
built from the ground up, so this
house was a kind of 30-year work
in progress,” says Kessel. “We knew the kinds
of spaces we wanted, sketched it out on paper,
and the architect — Scott Rogers [of Shane
Structures in Milford, Massachusetts] — filled in
the structural details, with some small changes,
but pretty much our original drawing.”
For decades, the vacant land served as a
sluiceway for runoff, funneling torrents of rain
into the lake. “So we needed some rather elabo-
rate engineering to keep that water flowing, but
not through or under the house,” says Kessel.
Always with the refrain of family meet-
ing place in the background, an open main
floor plan that ties in kitchen, living, and din-
ing areas was a must. The first-floor master
suite, set behind the kitchen, was a conces-
sion to the inevitable aging of knees and hips.
“When I had my hip replacement, I learned to
quickly appreciate not having to walk up and
down stairs,” Dennis says. Kessel also wanted
her home office on the main floor, where it was
oriented toward the lake.