The 1948 Colonial-style house that architect Andrea Zaff and her husband, Pierre Azoulay, purchased in 2010 was modest, and they liked it that way. Drawn to stripped-down forms, original details, and natu- ral light, they knew the three-bedroom house in New-
ton, Massachusetts, was the perfect starting point. “We recognized
the potential for us to expand and modernize while touching little in
the existing parts of the house,” says Zaff. “We have modern tastes,
but we like old.”
Zaff drew up plans for an addition to the back of the house after
the family, which includes the couple’s daughters, Sivan and Orli,
who are now 10 and 8, respectively, spent close to two years liv-
ing there. They discovered that the house lacked a family-centric
kitchen and a connection to the outdoors. Instead of the unremark-
able, albeit functional, kitchen typical of the era the house was built
in, the couple wanted an expansive, light-filled cooking and dining
space that would be the focal point of their home lives. “To us, cook-
ing and eating are intertwined with family and friends,” Zaff says.
As a student at Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture in Chicago, Zaff spent most of her time in the school’s Modernist glass-and-steel masterpiece designed in 1956 by Ludwig Mies
van der Rohe. The experience had a lasting effect. She recalls being
It was important that
Zaff accommodate the
habits of contemporary
families like hers when
conceiving the addition.
“Back when the house
was built,” she says,
“people dined in the bay
windows in the front.
Today, the cooking area
is as important as where
we eat, so I wanted to
create a kitchen that
would be a focal point
rather than a closed-off
in the living room (top), Zaff’s white palette gets a rich infusion of color
from the antique carpet. The wood-burning fireplace was converted to gas.
As for the furniture layout, she says, “The angled shape of the coffee table
allows flexibility with the chairs; they work no matter where we place them.”
Zaff stands behind the center island (left top) by dual sinks, which each
have built-in walnut cutting boards. The Kuskoa barstools by Afra Furniture
are oak. The French doors (left) have retractable screens for ventilation,
allowing breezes to pass through to the front of the house.