City Edge Loft

This project page was created by community member Ruhl Walker Architects

In 2005 when this loft was built, its Boston neighborhood was still ‘up and coming,’ and the developer was taking a bit of a risk even in offering sparsely finished lofts with modest finishes. This penthouse unit – located in the key upper “turret” of the building -- never quite managed to fulfill the promise of its prominent position with a double-height living room and panoramic views. After living in the unit for seven years, the owner, realizing that the neighborhood was changing fast and could now support additional investment, came to Ruhl Walker Architects with the desire to add privacy and function to the unit. Although lofts offer a tremendous amount of flexibility and are perfectly suited to certain peripatetic lifestyles, an open floor plan and high ceilings often make controlling sound, light and heat difficult. The homeowner wanted a bedroom and a study, each with walls and built-in storage, and a bigger bathroom. The challenge was how to maintain the allure of a light-filled open floor plan while providing the delineated spaces the client desired. At the same time, this unit was in need of the next level of design to give it the texture and character that would fit the owner’s lifestyle. The functional solution was to partition the bedroom and study with a nearly continuous wall of black metal industrial glazing - a modern evocation of the industrial roots of the neighborhood. Translucent glass for privacy below eye level and clear glass for maximum light transmission above allows light to reach the entry hall and kitchen spaces. Full-height cabinetry finished with a sustainable, engineered wood, stained a calm, warm gray/brown that subtly mutes the existing reddish orange concrete flooring divides the spaces perpendicularly and provide the much needed storage. Through some careful planning around the existing building service cores, a bathtub was removed, turning the existing bath into a powder room, while gaining space for a generous walk-in shower in a new en-suite master bath. The drum-shaped living room, which affords a 270 degree city views, suffered from a multitude of bad details – heating and cooling units placed awkwardly, windows that felt too small for the volume of the space, and walls and ceilings broken up by drywall protrusions. In response, the coffers in the high ceiling were smoothed over and the curve at the outside wall was reworked. A top-to-bottom expanse of knit mesh drapery and carefully selected paint colors unifies the drum. On the opposite side, HVAC and A/V components were collected into a rational assembly of concealed storage cabinets and fixed panels, finished with the same wood veneer used throughout. A show stopping 8’ diameter David Weeks suspended light draws the eye upward and accentuates the luxurious volume of this monumental space. Ruhl Walker was also commissioned to re-think and design all the furniture and furnishings for the loft. While the new construction is relatively calm and uniform, with neutral colors and textures, the furniture was an opportunity to be livelier, starting with the owner’s lime green sofa and living room chairs, which are now paired with a large white coffee table, and striking black metal pole lights. The dining room features a simple Magis Baguette table with Kristalia Elephant chairs, an Axo Skin ceiling light, and a bright abstract canvas by Boston artist James de Crescentis. Photography: Michael Lee Photography

Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
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Ruhl Walker Architects
@ruhl_walker_architects
Ruhl Walker Architects For over 20 years we have committed ourselves to creating architecture of all types and sizes for clients not only throughout New England but as far afield as Hawai’i and St. Croix in the USVI. Natural materials, expressive forms, and meticulous attention to light and views have been at the core of our practice and are manifest in our projects regardless of their context. Common to our design process is a commitment to clear and open communication, the careful management of resources, and a fundamental belief that innovative and coherent design is a joyous and essential component of the human experience. With each project we strive to demonstrate that inventive and elegant design is achievable, even within strict economic parameters, by respectfully listening and responding to the client’s needs and desires, thoroughly understanding the nature of materials and methods of construction, and carefully managing the design and construction processes. As part of our client-focused process we use a diverse set of design tools custom tailored to each client − from simple hand sketches to elaborate computer animations and rendered models − to ensure the spatial quality and experience of each project is thoroughly understood throughout the design process. Initiating a construction project can be a daunting prospect, but we pride ourselves on being there for our clients at every step of the way, from helping to identify goals at the beginning of the project, to turning over the keys at the end of construction. We look forward to bringing the joy and excitement of innovative and coherent modern design to your project.
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