Bringing urban style to a Newton home
Former South Enders update a Tudor Revival home for modern life.
Longtime South Enders David and Ronnie Hurvitz hadn’t planned to move out of the city, but by the time their daughter, Stella, was 18 months old, the search was on. In June 2012 they purchased a 1932 Tudor Revival home in Newton and hired architect David Hacin’s Boston-based firm Hacin + Associates to rework the interior.
The couple’s one request was for a more open and efficient floor plan. Ronnie says, “We didn’t want a house with unused rooms.”
Architect Eduardo Serrate and interior designer Jennifer Clapp collaborated on the project, borrowing from traditional Tudor architecture balanced with a modern sensibility. The style’s graphic elements, such as the half-timbered latticework commonly found on exteriors, inspired and guided them. Hacin says: “These houses are ready to be reinterpreted for the next generation. We love that these two city guys made a Tudor more urban.”
With its soft colors and materials, the family room, which opens off the kitchen, epitomizes the home’s feminine side. Textures, silhouettes, and the jaunty layout of furniture (pieces are set at angles) are playful and contemporary. Interior designer Jennifer Clapp says, “This house is not just about drama; there’s a lot of comedy in it.”
Patterns help lighten the mood. In the dining room, Clapp chose a traditional William Morris print wallpaper in mulberry, but applied it to the ceiling for an unexpected splash of color and visual texture. Serrate kept the original wall panel design intact as another nod to Tudor influence but opted for white over historically accurate dark wood.
While the foyer’s footprint remained the same, the design team added and widened openings to adjacent rooms to improve flow and bring in more natural light. A limestone tile-clad accent wall, which wraps into the kitchen, references the living room fireplace.
“Cooking is my escape,” says David, so a welcoming kitchen was a must. Serrate expanded the original kitchen to create a space where the homeowner can work efficiently, even while friends or family sit at the island. The limestone-tile backsplash provides continuity from the foyer, and the walnut cabinetry and canopy over the island echo the panels in the living room.
The couple first spotted their new home while driving through Newton to check out a different open house. Landscaping plans are in the works.
A small bedroom became the master closet-cum-office. Here, the home’s design concepts are reinforced with modern black and white toile wallpaper, plum desk chair, and walnut accents.
The master bedroom is tailored and highly tactile, with cerused oak night stands and a nubby rug. The tweed fabric wallpaper evokes men’s suiting.
For her own bedroom, daughter Stella picked out the felt bed by Blu Dot. “Aqua was one of her first words,” says David. “We wanted her room to be lighthearted,” Clapp says, “so we chose to have a few things that clash, like the braided patchwork rug and faded floral wallpaper.”
In the playroom, a former sunroom at the back of the house, child-friendly caged sconces by Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. line a board where Stella tacks up her drawings.
A photo of soft-serve ice cream, bought online by the homeowners, hangs in Stella’s bathroom.
WHERE THE HEARTH IS
The allure of a fireplace that sizzles with style.
The historic fireplace in the Hurvitzes’ home informed the whole design concept, but a fireplace of any vintage can make a big impact.
Paula Daher of Daher Interior Design used a mix of materials for the modern fireplace she designed in a New Hampshire beach house. Strips of mahogany run through brushed Labrador antique granite, echoing the large mahogany panels on either side of the hearth.
In a home in the Boston suburbs designed by architect Adolfo Perez, a two-sided sculptural fireplace is made from quartzite, a material also used on the home’s exterior. Andra Birkerts, who designed the interiors, says, “You can walk all the way around it and perch on the concrete hearth.”
Meanwhile, John Kelsey of Wilson Kelsey Design chose an ornate cast-stone mantelpiece by Tartaruga Design for a gut renovation of a condo in a Beverly Farms carriage house. “The formal French style,” he says, “captures the spirit of Parisian architecture and acts as the room’s focal point.”