Family Bonds

A young couple breathes new life into a Colonial Revival in Brookline.

By Erin Byers Murray | Boston Home |

brookline colonial revivalIn the foyer, a Iacoli & McAllister chandelier is framed by an abstract painting by Anne Grandin. (All photos by Michael Piazza)

Juliana Pastick had been warned about the dilapidated Brookline house before she went to see it. Bulging with boxes of junk accumulated over the seller’s lifetime, the 1913 Colonial Revival was to be sold as is. But that didn’t stop Juliana from making an offer.

“There were leaks everywhere, the electricity wasn’t working in half of the house. It was awful. But I said, ‘It’s okay, I’ve seen this before,’” says the 32-year-old. Having completed a gut rehab on a Jamaica Plain home three years earlier with wife Shayleen Pastick, 36, Juliana knew good bones when she saw them. And this 3,400-square-foot house, built by architect Joseph Chandler, had them. So in 2010, she outbid a number of contractors and embarked on a two-year journey that resulted in a stunning, eco-friendly space where she and Shayleen hope to expand their family.

The couple started the arduous renovation process by sifting through the former owner’s things, salvaging a few key pieces and letting auctioneers from Skinner pick through the rest. Then came the real challenge: figuring out which walls to tear down and where to put more up.

brookline colonial revival

Juliana Pastick sits with one of her two dogs in the great room.

brookline colonial revival

Left: Brookline’s Faithful Flowers transformed the overgrown yard into a peaceful escape. Right: The kitchen features recycled-stone countertops and handblown pendant lights from Niche Modern Designs.

“There was a dumbwaiter, which is so cool, but it’s like, we either have a dumbwaiter or we have a half bath on the first floor,” says Juliana, who, working with Dietz & Associates on the redesign, acted as project manager. The half bath won, and in went a handpainted sink and antique mirrored wall panels, both of which were inspired by her family’s home in Rio de Janeiro, where she grew up.

Juliana, a science teacher at Fenway High School, says that she never would have crossed paths with Shayleen, the owner of Vitality Personal Fitness in Newton, if they hadn’t met online. “We can hardly find each other at Whole Foods,” she jokes. When the two finally did meet in person, “the coffee date turned into lunch, which turned into a house in J.P., and now, a house in Brookline.” They were married in 2009 at Harrington Farm in Princeton.

For their second home rehab, Juliana and Shayleen, with help from Ken Dietz and Misty Gray of Dietz & Associates, went about creating an elegant yet comfortable space that keeps their passion for the environment front and center. They invested in a geothermal heating system and recycled-plastic and bamboo-composite decking, and also installed raised farm beds for growing herbs and vegetables out back.

brookline colonial revival

The couple’s rescue dogs, Jax and Lily, lounge on the Kravet sectional in the great room under a photograph by Yoav Horesh.

brookline colonial revival

Left: A piano from the 1920s serves as a focal point in the great room. Right: To add visual interest to the second-floor office, the walls and ceiling were clad in rustic French oak paneling by Hakwood.

To improve the layout, the team pulled down a few walls—like those in the great room, which they turned into a combination living, TV, and music room. A nearly 100-year-old piano, discovered by a client of Shayleen’s, sits beneath a crystal chandelier that came with the house. (“It’s a little bit glam, a little Liberace,” Ken Dietz says.) Shayleen and Juliana also installed a pocket door to keep their two rescue dogs, Jax and Lily, from doing any unsupervised lounging on the upholstered furniture.

In the kitchen, Juliana added walls, and, in the process, more cabinetry. “Shay is a really good cook and I love to bake, but in our old place, my baking stuff would mix in with her cooking stuff. We were always bumping into each other,” she says. A long island topped with recycled stone runs almost the length of the room, offering both ample elbow room and a communal dining space.

The second and third floors were reimagined with kids in mind. The couple turned two bedrooms and a bath into a master bedroom suite, and added a laundry room. The master bathroom wallpaper, an embossed floral pattern, reminded Shayleen of a hibiscus tattoo on Juliana’s upper arm.

brookline colonial revival

Shayleen and Juliana sip champagne in the three-season sunroom.

brookline colonial revival

Clockwise from top: Wood, bronze, and “Sariskar Maharani” wallpaper, from Osborne & Little, brings the garden motif into the dining room; a room-length curtain behind the bed adds a luxurious touch to the master suite; one of the third-floor bathrooms is wrapped in “Perroquet Aquarium” wallpaper also from Osborne & Little.

The third floor, affectionately called the “kids’ floor,” was designed to accommodate both guests and future additions to the family. The two bathrooms boast fun, quirky themes: One is papered with a variety of boldly colored fish and features bubblelike tiles in the shower, while the other, dubbed the “treehouse,” has a foresty feel and tiles that look like planked wood. “There won’t be any fighting over who gets which bathroom, guests or kids,” Juliana says with a laugh.

Outside, Faith Michaels of Faithful Flowers (another of Shayleen’s clients), worked miracles on the dusty, overgrown lot, giving the couple a stone patio, a rose garden, a built-in fire pit, and a sunken hot tub. Now an extension of their customized new home, the space feels like an outdoor living room. “This is our little peaceful place,” Juliana says of the yard. “You can hardly even tell you’re in the middle of Brookline.”

Interior Designer: Dietz & Associates
General Contractors: DiSipio Design & Construction
Landscape Architect: Faithful Flowers 

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