This Updated Breuer House Could Be Yours for a Cool $2.3 Million

This Updated Breuer House Could Be Yours for a Cool $2.3 Million

By Heather Corcoran
Created at the peak of Marcel Breuer's collaboration with Walter Gropius, the 1940 Chamberlain Cottage hits the market in Massachusetts.

In 1938, architect Marcel Breuer and his mentor, Walter Gropius, moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to spread the Bauhaus message to the United States. Not long after building a modern home of his own in Lincoln, Breuer was tapped to build a year-round cottage in nearby Wayland.

The stone and wood structure was designed to complement with its surroundings. Here, the Douglas fir tongue-and-groove boards are arranged horizontally, elsewhere on the original facade they were aligned vertically. 

The result was a simple, geometric home of just 600 square feet—a project Breuer historian Robert McCarter has called "one of Breuer's masterworks." In his Phaidon monograph of the Bauhaus great, McCarter goes on to describe the cantilevered house as "a remarkably minimal design that achieves surprisingly richness of experience for its inhabitants while also providing Breuer his first opportunity to transform traditional platform wood frame structure." 

Made of layers of Douglas fir (exterior cladding, sheathing, and interior cladding) that Breuer referred to as "homemade plywood," the cottage was bound by a strict sense of proportion, with the rectangular structure designed to be twice as wide as it was deep. Today, however, prospective buyers of the house, which is listed by Veronika and Michael Breer of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, will find a much different footprint. 

The new spaces recall the original design with their use of natural materials like wood and stone.

After falling into disrepair in the 1980s and '90s, the home was purchased by architects Sidney R. Bowen and Angela Watson, who expanded the structure over the course of a decade to its current size of 3,742 square feet. The house was sold again in 2005, to the current owner, who has continued restoring the house to this day.

A glass-walled addition joins Marcel Breuer's minimalist Chamberlain Cottage. Part of the original house extends from the left of the structure. 

The updated design added bedrooms, living areas, and an interior koi pond, along with a detached art studio, garage, and carport. The existing porch was replaced, as was the original kitchen. 

While the overhaul was dramatic, the architects tried to avoid overpowering Breuer's design. Taking a cue from the minimalist structure, Bowen and Watson continued the use of natural materials—cyprus, mahogany, copper, and stone—to ground the building in its wooded site. A new two-story glass-walled living area, supported by steel columns, connects to the original stressed-skin cantilevered design, its transparency the later architects' attempt to expand the space while honoring the original.

To see it for yourself, check out the video below or visit


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