that faced away from the windows and views, the drop ceilings that hid
a significant portion of the original factory’s wood ceiling, the isolated
main kitchen, and a dimly lit narrow corridor leading to the underuti-lized back apartment with a rarely used kitchen of its own.
After a 14-month renovation, the new space is bright, airy, and
welcoming. The enlarged foyer, created by moving the walls, invites
people in rather than confining them to a cramped vestibule. The old
kitchen is gone, replaced by a sealed room concealing the apartment’s
systems — and the humming noises they make. At roughly 9 feet by 19
feet, the new, slightly elevated open kitchen is visible from all angles
of the huge living/dining space. The height change feels subtle, with
a small step on one side and an almost imperceptible incline on the
other. “There’s nothing plumb or square in the North End,” says the
wife, “including this apartment.” By raising the floor, they could ensure
everything in the kitchen, at least, would be level. Now the cook isn’t
tucked away from the action but can bread a cutlet, talk to guests, and
check out the expansive skyline at the same time.
The hallway leading to the back unit has been widened and interior transom windows stretch along its length, inviting light from the
windows in adjacent rooms. Off the hallway, the husband’s office (
formerly the master bedroom) has a wide entry. The wife’s office has no
doorway at all, so light streaming through the room’s tall windows
spills into the hall, which terminates at the new master bedroom. An
adjacent bath with a separate tub room replaced the second kitchen.