62 DESIGNNEWENGLAND.COM MAY/JUNE 2015
kitchen + bath
Raw and Refined
A renovation brings a minimalist sense of calm to a traditional house and its globe-trotting, art-collecting residents
written by meaghan o’neill • photographed by jane messinger
Living half a globe away from the place your heart calls home isn’t always easy. But Jean and John Comaroff — globe-trotting professors who hail from South Africa and currently work at Harvard University — have a remedy: They choose bright, airy spaces filled with art from their homeland that ransports them back to the place they love most. In
2012, a career move brought them from Chicago to Cambridge, Massachusetts — and its tough housing market. Making matters more difficult, their turnaround time for making a real estate transaction was
tight: They had just a day to make a decision on where they would live.
Jean, who flew in for barely 24 hours to look at several houses,
was ultimately drawn to a neglected Shingle Style residence built in
a “Julia Child-era” kitchen to make it modern-rustic and functional (below). The
room’s most dramatic change was the addition of floor-to-ceiling windows on
the northwest corner, adjacent to the garden (bottom).