Atrium House by Ruhl Walker Architects
Contemporary three-storey residence designed in 2013 by Ruhl Walker Architects located in Boston, Maine, United States.
Description by Ruhl Walker Architects
Upon entering the traditional foyer and common hall of this 19th century row house, replete with painted wainscoting, elliptical staircase and turned newels, one might expect to see a typical suite of dark Victorian rooms.
Instead, the front door opens into a three-story atrium with sunlight filling the space from a large skylight above. A custom live-edge walnut dining table with sling-back leather chairs and a lacquered banquette anchors the center of the space, and the room opens to a gleaming kitchen and modern living room on either side. Where there used to be partitions, the space now flows uninterrupted from the front to the rear of the building. A wall of gray schist stone tile similarly unites the space top to bottom.
One floor up, a transparent glass bridge spans across the atrium, connecting two bedroom suites, and allowing light to penetrate down to the entry level while providing unrestricted views across the apartment. Located at the core of the building, white Carrara tile and contrasting koto wood veneer make the en suite bathrooms look bright and inviting.
On the top level, a home office, with a custom steel and wood desk, now opens onto a private reading terrace in a new dormer, and overlooks the atrium and entry from above. Across the atrium is a media room, a guest bathroom and stairs to a renovated roof deck. The rooftop, with its stainless steel kitchenette, affords 360-degree views of the city, and an all-weather TV and infrared heater makes the built-in cedar banquette the perfect place to relax with friends most of the year.
Warm and tactile materials and abundant natural light soften the apartment’s modern aesthetic. Matte white lacquered cabinetry and a soft reconstituted gray wood veneer complement the white Carrara kitchen island and stainless steel prep counters. Custom-stained oak flooring and stainless steel and wood railings unite the common spaces of the apartment. The clean-lined furniture, upholstered in practical yet luxe fabrics, allow more whimsical pieces – Naoto Fukasawa’s “Papilio” wing chairs with dressmaker zippered backs, and two Tom Everhart “Peanuts” lithographs – to stand out. The overall effect is both soothing and uplifting – a perfect respite at the end of a busy day in the city.
Photography by Michael J. Lee Photography