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Your Home: Make It Modern

How a cramped Brookline condo became modern and airy, in nine steps

The family of three who live in the home found the interior choppy, so the designers worked to make it more efficient.

jared Kuzia

Architects Kristen Giannattasio and Christina Marsh eke maximum function from minimal space. Despite the open-plan concept in this Brookline condominium, which is home to a young family of three, the interior felt choppy. To up the efficiency, Giannattasio says, “we found opportunities to overlap spaces without compromising the usability of any zone.” They also infused the home with the airy Scandinavian aesthetic their clients love.

1. A compact dining table freed up floor space for a micro-lounge by the entry. “The table extends to seat 14,” Marsh says. “For large gatherings, the owners put the lounge chair in a bedroom and pop out the leaves.”


2. A slatted oak screen provides separation for the living room without sacrificing sunlight. It also lends architectural interest with a Scandinavian vibe.

3. Extending the base cabinets 6 feet into the cased opening enclosed the living room a bit and created a spot for the TV; it pops up from the cabinet on that side. In the kitchen, the setup offers an additional work surface with storage underneath and acts as sideboard for entertaining.

4. The architects swapped a peninsula that impeded circulation for an island oriented in the opposite direction. Now, there is easy access to the dining area and sliders, and to the bedrooms behind the kitchen.

5. The duo enlarged the kitchen window and avoided upper cabinetry that would block it. They also replaced all the window and door moldings with minimal trim painted white to blend with the walls. “A seemingly minor change in details can wield substantial influence over a space,” Giannattasio says.

6. Trading the range for an induction cooktop and oven in the island, then relocating the refrigerator from the niche by the stairs allowed for ample pantry cabinets away from the cooking triangle.

7. After examining several wood species, the architects determined that white oak best picks up the lighter tones of the existing Brazilian cherry floors.


Lounge areajared Kuzia

8. A slatted feature wall with black pegs is an artistic and practical alternative to space-eating cabinetry. “It looks great with or without coats and bags,” Marsh says. It also defines the entrance.

9. A sliver of unclaimed space became a micro-lounge for story time. “We also discussed a low table and chairs for games and crafts,” Giannattasio says. “The space can morph to support their needs.”


Architecture: Atelier et Alia (Christina Marsh Architects,, and KMG Architecture + Design,

Contractor: Flynn Build & Develop,

Marni Elyse Katz is a contributing editor to the Globe Magazine. Follow her on Instagram @StyleCarrot. Send comments to