Style Watch

A Cambridge Victorian is stately on the outside, contemporary inside

The revamped floor plan creates spaces that are anything but stuffy.

warren jagger

The sizable backyard — a rarity near Harvard Square — of this late 19th-century Cambridge Victorian sealed the deal for the new homeowners. The interior of the home, however, hadn’t been updated in decades. The first level felt dark and confining, chopped up into small rooms. The homeowners craved an open, modern layout that brought the indoors and outdoors together. To create a new floor plan with a cleaner aesthetic, they turned to Belmont architects Tom Hecht and Wendy Cote. Cambridge-based S+H Construction did the build-out, and Boston interior designer Michael Ferzoco came onboard to furnish the home. Now, the main level has an airy flow, and spaces transition seamlessly into one another. “Inside, the house is much cleaner and contemporary, while the exterior fits entirely within the context of the other historic houses in the neighborhood,” says John Ellis, a project manager for S+H. “It’s just the right balance.”

1. In their previous home, the owners seldom ate in the dining room. So in their new one, they converted the dining room into a study, which they use frequently.

2. The study and the living room beyond share a new double-sided gas fireplace, which enhances the connection between the rooms.


3. In keeping with a modern aesthetic, walls and trim are painted off-white to serve as a backdrop for furnishings and art with strategic pops of color.

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4. Oversize windows are adorned with simple, minimal shades to afford maximum light and views. “We wanted to keep window treatments very innocuous, very soft, neutral, and gallery-like,” says Ferzoco.

5. A striking handblown-glass pendant by Artemide provides diffused lighting and sculptural appeal above the small table.

6. “Furniture is a little more fun and modern than what the house belies from the exterior,” says Ferzoco. A black pedestal table from Blu Dot is paired with one bold green and two white chairs with metal legs that exude modern flair.

7. New bleached-oak flooring throughout the house has a contemporary look.

warren jagger

8. The traditional front stairway was removed in favor of a sleek, spare, modern one. “We had a custom stair builder help us design a new stair, which exposes the ends of the oak treads and risers and has a light steel and wood railing system,” says Hecht. “The staircase gives a whole new experience moving up through the house and reinforces the flow of light that connects the rooms.”

9. Narrow custom shelves were created to display photos of family members and places that are dear to them.

10. A linear stainless steel bench by Sarabi Studio offers a pleasant perch and a little intrigue — the bench is welded together, resulting in a durable, seamless finish.