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Make It Your Own

A funky Cambridge loft with a mirrored shower that’s like being in ‘a Picasso’

The homeowners hired architect Samuel Kachmar to not only make the home more livable, but to inject more of their personalities.

Homeowner Sarah Reilly and rescue pup, Piper, relax in the living room. Her partner, Per Ostman, climbs to the loft that they use as a TV room. The upper stairs lead to the common roof deck. A still life by William Ciccariello and landscape by Lynne Foy punctuate the main level, while a giant Roy Lichtenstein print left behind by the prior owners makes a statement from above.Ben Gebo

“This is the funkiest place I’ve ever lived,” homeowner Sarah Reilly says of the Cambridge condo she purchased in early 2020. “The loft, the old wood beams, and the open, airy living space all drew me in.” The 1886 property housed various businesses before turning residential in the 1960s, and still has storefront-style plate glass windows that face the street. While the main living areas didn’t get much attention, save for some paint and a crystal chandelier, the kitchen was a different story. And, the first-floor bedroom lacked a full bath.

Reilly and her partner, Per Ostman, hired Samuel Kachmar to not only make the home more livable, but to inject more of their personalities. “Sarah embraced the building’s oddities,” the architect says. “She wanted it to be unique in a way that fit her taste.” To Reilly, that meant juxtaposing the industrial features with glamorous ones.

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To enlarge the kitchen, located on a platform three steps up from the living space, Kachmar pulled the peninsula closer to the platform’s edge, and pushed the range wall back a bit. They gained 71 square feet. New cabinetry painted Benjamin Moore Newburyport Blue complements the vivid orange and red in the entry and grounds the scheme in tradition, as do the vintage Oriental rugs that Reilly was able to choose from her parents’ collection. These doses of New England temper the homeowners’ choice for the backsplash: antiqued-mirror subway tiles. “The tiles reflect light and sparkle, but up close they look worn and imperfect, so they tie everything together,” Reilly says.

The tiles bookend the new primary bathroom, too. On one end, they create a sexy backdrop for the slipper tub with shiny gold lion feet, positioned at a jaunty angle in order to fit in the asymmetrical space. At the other end, the tiles line the double shower. “The tiles are staggered, so your reflection is broken up,” she says about showering surrounded by mirrors. “It’s like looking at a Picasso.”

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RESOURCES

Architect: SKA, kachmardesign.com

Contractor: Fresh Start Contracting, freshstartcontracting.net

Millworker: Mobi, mobicabinets.com

PHOTOGRAPHS

At one end of the bath, mirrored tiles line the double shower. “The tiles are staggered, so your reflection is broken up,” the designer says. “It’s like looking at a Picasso.”Ben Gebo
The black range with brass controls is the focal point of the kitchen. Stools that fold flat against the peninsula make the most of the square footage, and a gas insert replaced a pot-bellied wood stove.Ben Gebo
In the new primary bath, the Cheviot Regency tub with gold lion feet and the antiqued-mirror tiles from TileBar counter the clean-lined double vanity, which is painted Benjamin Moore Newburyport Blue.Ben Gebo

Marni Elyse Katz is a regular contributor to the Globe Magazine. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.