1100 Architect and Ray Booth Create a Strikingly Modern Home in Massachusetts
An art-filled white box accented with jewel tones features interiors as chic as they are family-friendly
For many architects and designers, those initial client meetings are filled with trying to extrapolate the homeowner’s vision. There’s usually sharing of magazine tear-outs, a trove of various Instagram posts, and a few Pinterest boards with an array of possible directions or things the client loves in order to nail down a single direction. But for a recent project in Massachusetts, 1100 Architect and Ray Booth received that rare gift of someone who knew exactly what she wanted.
When the homeowner first approached 1100 Architect—known for such artistic endeavors as Metro Pictures Gallery, Roy Lichtenstein’s studio and residence, the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, and MoMA Design Stores—her focus was laser sharp. She wanted a minimalist white box with clean-lined interiors enhanced with pops of jewel-toned color. She was familiar with the firm’s work from her career in the New York fashion industry, and she knew that David Piscuskas (the studio’s cofounder) and his team were the perfect choice to make her dream a reality. “When I asked her what she envisioned living in when she was a kid, she said a white cube,” Piscuskas recalls. “That was a welcome starting point for a modern architect.”
Although the residence totals a substantial 14,000 square feet, it appears quite smaller since half of that space is nestled underground, and the largest floor measures just 3,300 square feet. With a generous portion of the façade constructed of glass, nature is constantly present, giving the feeling you’re always outside surrounded by trees. Huge windows with minimal mullions add to that overall affect as the exterior walls seem to disappear.
The rooms and flow were tailored to the growing family’s needs as well. There’s lots of entertaining space, including a squash court, and the kitchen is the hub of the home, situated in the center of the loftlike, open ground floor, which is easily closed off by pocket doors. “The entire house is a living machine,” Piscuskas explains. “Things open and close.”
For the interiors, Ray Booth of McAlpine joined the team once design was already under way. Fully acknowledging that the aesthetic direction was outside of his usual approach, the interior designer appreciated the clients’ willingness to take a risk. “Our portfolio wasn’t exactly what they were looking for,” he admits. “But I love learning new tricks and doing something different.”
Booth’s homes tend to play with the yin and yang of mixing antiques with contemporary pieces. But in this case, the designer found balance between the organic and rectilinear. For instance, the bronze base of the Costantini dining table is paired with a cluster of Milo Baughman chairs. A Minotti sectional swoops around side tables by Sebastian Herkner—all atop a super graphic floor covering from the Rug Company. Vivid pops of color are added to the floor with a variety of rugs that reflect the palette of the artworks, such as a magenta circular Stark rug paired with a Kasper Sonne work above the fireplace on the main floor.
The design took into consideration the art collection, which was still in the process of being assembled when plans began. “We were designing for the art. Knowing they would come but not knowing what they would be,” says Piscuskas. “In the end, there were lots of surprises. It wasn’t just flat canvases on the wall.” Working with art advisers Lloyd Speed and Evan Scheele at S3 Contemporary in Boston, the homeowner also selected works by Zak Prekop, Artie Vierkant, Brie Ruais, and Al Freeman.
As any architect may claim, a good staircase is a work of art in itself. In this case, that’s absolutely true, winding through the house, allowing space for large artworks and even cantilevering off the back of the house. In addition to adding a wow factor, that moment also created the ideal space for the perfect window for a young mother to watch her children playing outside while she enjoys her dream to come to life.
“It’s truly a reflection of who it was designed and built for,” says Booth, “because they are a joyful and wonderful family.”