Becky Kidder-Smith and Tom Smith, the owners of Newbury Street’s Kidder Smith Gallery, didn’t mean to renovate their new townhouse quite this extensively. "But it was so full of possibilities," says architect Bill Boehm. "In the end, the floors are the only thing that’s still recognizable."
A critical job of the renovation was to design contemporary interior details that would match the couple’s collection of West Coast pop art. The kitchen’s enameled cabinets and concrete countertops, for example, complement the cartoonlike Kevin Kelly painting in the adjoining living room.
Likewise, Kidder-Smith and Smith used a 1950s Saarinen table found at Abodeon in Cambridge to anchor a custom banquette upholstered in Maharam fabric. They then added two bent plywood chairs painted by artist Melissa Hutton to resemble, respectively, a Hershey bar wrapper and a box of animal crackers. The kitschy new space echoes the nearby grand Warholian 7Up painting by California artist Greg Miller.
Around the corner, the couple kick back and watch television in an informal living room, balanced by warm walnut built-ins. Boehm’s open floor plan glows under fluorescent lights hidden in a deep soffit above.
Kidder-Smith and Smith use the home’s high ceilings and expansive wall space to display their growing collection of mixed-media works, including the third-floor stairwell’s large plexiglass map of the United States that has pockets filled with 1950s pulp fiction paperbacks. And in four-year-old son Griffin’s bedroom, a vintage surfboard becomes art. The resulting vibe, Smith explains, "is very cozy but also aggressive. It has an informal polish."
"First, we fell in love with big, representational art," he adds. "Then we fell in love with a traditional townhouse. And we loved the process of joining the two."
AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT
Art gallery owners Tom Smith and Becky Kidder-Smith didn’t love the neutral palette and dark floors of the townhome they purchased in 2006. So they hired architect Bill Boehm, principal of Boehm Architects in the South End, to bring the interior to life with new cabinetry, vibrant colors, and eye-catching materials. At right, a glass chandelier illuminates the dining room’s regal floor-to-ceiling silk window treatments, striped upholstery, and blond floors.
The blue hues of the new bookshelves and sofa, as well as point lights and bold fabrics, bring liveliness to the living room without stripping it of its stately disposition. Boehm also added a chocolate brown runner to the staircase, warming up the entry while maintaining its traditional feel.
RAY OF LIGHT
Boehm transformed the ordinary staircase into an extraordinary space by adding a skylight, new mahogany railings, and an Italian ceramic tile wall to the fourth-floor run of beech stairs. On the top story, a catwalk with a metal grate floor leads to a large roof deck, now accessible without having to wander through the master bedroom. In a nod to the home’s historic character, Boehm used several mahogany joists to support the modern metalwork.
The basement serves as both Kidder-Smith’s home office and a guest suite. Its bamboo-faced kitchenette and cabinetry by Jamaica Plain’s Kenyon Woodworking afford the room a streamlined panache. Sage hues and bamboo detailing are complemented by a variety of light fixtures that keep the subterranean space bright.