This Marblehead home on Massachusetts’ rocky oceanfront combines architectural classicism with modern family living, thanks to a dynamic design concept by Studio J. Jih. This Boston-based practice brought a fresh perspective to a 1920s Georgian Revival house, transforming its interior into a multi-level space, suitable for the couple and their young twin children.
Inspired by the scheme of Adolf Loos, which promotes the theory that architecture should be viewed as a series of spaces on different levels, the house was shaped as an interior landscape of interconnected spaces that reflects its location on the sloping hillside. “[When the clients]got to the interior stage of the renovation process, they realized they never wanted a traditional design,” says Gee. “We talked about how an atypical plan could be placed within a historic envelope, resulting in a series of sequences and movements that shaped the narrative of the house.”
New life breathed into a historic Marblehead home
From entering through the grand foyer, which features deeply recessed walls, and taking a few steps into the main living area where the dining room, kitchen and dining rooms blend together seamlessly, the natural rhythm of the home is enhanced by a selection of stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. Which are framed and considered specifically for each level of the home. A cohesive materials palette showcasing large amounts of sculptural concrete and marble elements is balanced with weathered sections of dark walnut and polished brass details. A concrete fireplace anchors the space on one side while raw kitchen counters hold it tight on the other.
On the ground floor, the playroom is accessed through wide sliding doors made of semi-transparent acrylic panels that are easy to maneuver and pleasant to look at. Chosen for their ability to dampen noise while also allowing light to filter through, the doors elegantly conceal all activity or any additional antics as the children descend the copper fire pole from the floor above.
The second floor houses the master bedroom suite, four additional bedrooms and two bathrooms, all accessed via a central hallway featuring copper mesh panels in a herringbone pattern. This screen also hides a second staircase up to the upper floor, as well as a fire shaft entrance that makes it easy to take the kids to the playroom and kitchen below. “The multi-level spiral is distorted in the middle by a fireman’s column intended for the twins, while also anchoring the vortex relationships in the house, pivoting one-to-one and part-to-part relationships,” says Ji.
Completed by Søren Dynejord, the landscape design features a series of terraces that cascade down from the site’s rocky slopes towards the ocean, and the home’s surroundings have also been fully taken into account and work around the existing rock formations.