Stepping Out

A sleek backyard addition pushes a traditional Jamaica Plain home forward.

Like many older homes, this 1926 Dutch colonial in Jamaica Plain lacked a true back entry. To get from the car to the kitchen, the grocery-laden owners had to walk up a set of rickety steps into a chilly glass-enclosed porch, then through a sunroom, formal living room, and finally, the front hall. To make matters worse, there was no real usable outdoor space.

The owners, a creative director at an investment firm and a film producer, sought to marry the home’s traditional aesthetic with a modern addition. To helm the project, they hired David Stern of Boston-based Stern McCafferty, an architecture and interiors practice that specializes in modern design.

Stern removed the original enclosed porch, reoriented the interior walls around a new rear-facing entry (which provided more privacy), and added a dining room, two open-air porches, and a mudroom. Now, bluestone pavers lead from the driveway into a generous entry that has steel sash doors, windows, and lead-coated copper copings. The resulting bright, elegant, 250-square-foot addition shows how perfectly modern and traditional aesthetics can wed. Inside, a built-in bench provides ample seating. With the addition of two coat closets and a skylight, Stern provided storage space and light without adding lots of square footage. And three steps now lead to the renovated kitchen.

Though the owners faced a thorough review process from local zoning boards and the total cost of the renovation was $250,000, they say the result was worth it. Stern is pleased, as well. “This addition showed us that small projects don’t have to be banal,” he says. “You can make a radical change through small gestures.”