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Beantown Dream

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In this tightly packed Northeast city where developers pounce first on any available lot, two young architects found a rare ground-up opportunity.

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  Ample windows cut into the north elevation of the Valentine House, behind which live the architects. The openings reveal lofty double-height spaces inside. The ground-floor garage often serves as a shop for architectural model-making.  Photo by Roger Davies.
    Ample windows cut into the north elevation of the Valentine House, behind which live the architects. The openings reveal lofty double-height spaces inside. The ground-floor garage often serves as a shop for architectural model-making. Photo by Roger Davies.
  • 
  Jinhee Park and John Hong, in a doorway that opens to the building’s shared roof deck. Behind them is the upstairs lounge of their neighbors, adorned with Eames chairs, Kartell stools, and a woodstove from Rais Wittus.  Photo by Roger Davies.
    Jinhee Park and John Hong, in a doorway that opens to the building’s shared roof deck. Behind them is the upstairs lounge of their neighbors, adorned with Eames chairs, Kartell stools, and a woodstove from Rais Wittus. Photo by Roger Davies.
  • 
  Andy Hong tunes out with his hi-fi system in the living area of his ground floor. The big room contains a kitchen, a washer-dryer, and ample work surfaces. “Since I travel a lot,” he says, “I really look forward to hanging out in the big room, catching up with my hobbies and doing laundry.”  Photo by Roger Davies.
    Andy Hong tunes out with his hi-fi system in the living area of his ground floor. The big room contains a kitchen, a washer-dryer, and ample work surfaces. “Since I travel a lot,” he says, “I really look forward to hanging out in the big room, catching up with my hobbies and doing laundry.” Photo by Roger Davies.
  • 
  To save money and time, the architects used similar designs for the bathrooms 
in both their and Andy’s apartment: Philippe Starck toilets, fixtures from New York’s AF Supply, and custom cabinets painted with watertight auto-body paint.  Photo by Roger Davies.
    To save money and time, the architects used similar designs for the bathrooms in both their and Andy’s apartment: Philippe Starck toilets, fixtures from New York’s AF Supply, and custom cabinets painted with watertight auto-body paint. Photo by Roger Davies.
  • 
  Music is a big part of life for the Hong brothers: Andy was a DJ for an MIT radio station, where he met Thos Niles, a punk rocker. John plays the electric guitar, but these days he doesn’t have enough time to practice.  Photo by Roger Davies.
    Music is a big part of life for the Hong brothers: Andy was a DJ for an MIT radio station, where he met Thos Niles, a punk rocker. John plays the electric guitar, but these days he doesn’t have enough time to practice. Photo by Roger Davies.
  • 
  Between the kitchen and main entrance is a large mudroom where Andy keeps "a bike for every season, including two one-speeds." The slate floor, with a drain and a hose in the wall, facilitates mud removal.  Photo by Roger Davies.
    Between the kitchen and main entrance is a large mudroom where Andy keeps "a bike for every season, including two one-speeds." The slate floor, with a drain and a hose in the wall, facilitates mud removal. Photo by Roger Davies.
  • 
  Knowing that Andy’s multi-tasking begets clutter, John provided him with plenty of cabinets. By making very particular requests of The Home Depot—asking for irregular-sized doors and painting them electric green—John defied the generic look of big-box cabinetry.  Photo by Roger Davies.
    Knowing that Andy’s multi-tasking begets clutter, John provided him with plenty of cabinets. By making very particular requests of The Home Depot—asking for irregular-sized doors and painting them electric green—John defied the generic look of big-box cabinetry. Photo by Roger Davies.
  • 
  Avid cooks, Jinhee and John spend part of every day around their custom-built kitchen 
island, surrounded by Compasso d’Oro barstools. An edamame plant on their patio occasionally provides leaves for Korean dishes.  Photo by Roger Davies.
    Avid cooks, Jinhee and John spend part of every day around their custom-built kitchen island, surrounded by Compasso d’Oro barstools. An edamame plant on their patio occasionally provides leaves for Korean dishes. Photo by Roger Davies.
  • 
  Their bathroom has walls of watertight Plexiglas. “They were so easy to set up,” John says, “the contractors installed all six bathrooms in one day.”  Photo by Roger Davies.
    Their bathroom has walls of watertight Plexiglas. “They were so easy to set up,” John says, “the contractors installed all six bathrooms in one day.” Photo by Roger Davies.
  • 
  The building’s south elevation. The lofty double-height balcony, with windows leading into his study, shows how the architects’ break from the triple-decker’s usual horizontality created dramatic results.  Photo by Roger Davies.
    The building’s south elevation. The lofty double-height balcony, with windows leading into his study, shows how the architects’ break from the triple-decker’s usual horizontality created dramatic results. Photo by Roger Davies.
  • 
  Jinhee and John, looking east from the dual-story roof deck. The door behind Jinhee leads to the top floor of Andy Hong’s unit, where a bar fridge contains wine ready for parties. In the background is the boxy form of a traditional triple-decker.  Photo by Roger Davies.
    Jinhee and John, looking east from the dual-story roof deck. The door behind Jinhee leads to the top floor of Andy Hong’s unit, where a bar fridge contains wine ready for parties. In the background is the boxy form of a traditional triple-decker. Photo by Roger Davies.

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