14 parkside drive

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14 PS

14 PS was a personal project for 30E design, as it is the home for architect Anne Barrett and her husband (who also happens to be an architect). The non-descript interior had incredibly low ceilings and many small rooms, but the setting was unique. The cascading stone cliffs and dense woods in the backyard made it hard to believe it was located within the city of Boston. The home feels like it’s in a mountain setting rather than thirty minutes from downtown Boston.

Having never been renovated (or even re-painted) since it was built in 1968, the home required a complete overhaul to make it energy efficient, as well as stylish. The underwhelming ranch was completely transformed into a stylish modern home that references the architect’s Danish heritage. 30E design raised the ceiling and removed all the interior walls in the public areas of the home to create one large, light filled living space with a cathedral ceiling. Large windows not only frame views of the cliffs and woodlands but also provide cross ventilation. Enlarging the glass doors onto the garden, blur the lines between inside and outside.

The grey porcelain tile used throughout was inspired by both the granite cliff, and the classic mid-century interiors of Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius. The walnut paneling references the woods and dried leaves surrounding the home and adds warmth to the palette of grey stone, marble and stainless steel. A new fireplace flanked by custom cabinetry was added to the living room, becoming a focal point of the living area. While the existing kitchen layout was retained, new IKEA cabinets, and energy efficient appliances were installed.

The choice of the grey tile floor was not only an aesthetic one, but also an important part of the sustainability strategy. A highly efficient hydronic radiant heating system (not to be confused with electric radiant heat) was installed to create a home that combines modernist design with 21st century technology. In the open plan living areas, this hot water beneath the tile is used to heat the room.  It works by heating the entire floor surface instead of only targeted areas along the exterior walls, typical of baseboard or forced hot air systems. This creates an evenly distributed, uniform blanket of heat. When used in conjunction with tile, hydronic radiant heat becomes even more efficient because of its conducting properties, requiring less energy to conduct the heat through it. In summer when the south facing room gets blasted by the sun, the tile floor absorbs the heat, lessening the cooling loads. In winter, the tile floor absorbs heat from any direct sunlight and transfers the heat into the room when the air temperature drops at night. Pretty cool. Or warm, you might say. A high efficiency hot water heater (a quarter of the size of a traditional boiler) combined with an insulated water storage tank, (to re-use the hot water created to heat the floor) were added to make the radiant hot water system as efficient as possible. New spray foam insulation on all exterior walls and ceilings, custom insulated windows and ceiling fans are some of the additional energy efficiency employed.

Photos: Todd Dundon