Designated a landmark by the Cambridge Historical Commission, the Garrett Birkhoff House is important for its association with the International Style of architecture including the German Bauhaus movement. The original architect and client were both renowned members of the Harvard faculty, further contributing to its historical significance. When the new homeowners approached Feinmann, they wanted to enlarge and update the kitchen while maintaining ties to its illustrious past. Because of its designation, the outer envelope of the home could not be changed so the challenge for the Feinmann design team was how to modernize the kitchen while referencing the Bauhaus-International Style.
To enlarge the square footage, space was taken from a study located behind the kitchen. By repeating and emphasizing the horizontal planes prevalent in the home’s architecture throughout the kitchen, Feinmann played off of Bauhaus basics with a thoroughly innovative and modern twist – from the horizontal stacked tile work to the muted color scheme (mostly white with some gray) and from the hidden pocket door in the enlarged doorway to the dining area to the ultra-21st century espresso bar.
The kitchen presents the “clean slate” aesthetic – with form and function being primary in the design – for which the Bauhaus-International Style is best known. An array of white drawer cabinets by Showplace emphasizes the horizontal plane with stainless steel bar pulls. Upper cabinets reflect the horizontal drawers below, utilizing upward pull doors.
The backsplash tile is Oxy bright gray ¾” x 4” textured stone tiles that work with the sheen of the cabinetry and the darker gray tiles of the floor (16” x 24” Tar with Anthracite with London Grey grout). The countertops are coarse Carrara Zodiaq Quartz with a custom raised peninsula with seating. The contrasting dark wood on one wall housing the refrigerator, microwave oven, and espresso bar is also reminiscent of Bauhaus. Recessed lighting and under-cabinet lighting, unadorned windows, and the Icy Gray walls and white trim complete the kitchen renovation with an eye toward restoring the Bauhaus vibe.
2015 National Coty Winner NARI – Residential Historical Renovation/Restoration under $250,000