At Home With: Growth Strategy

Back in 1995, Bill Boehm was a bachelor and a recent graduate of MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning. He’d served in the Peace Corps in Malawi, had worked at the Boston Architectural College, and was preparing to open his own firm focused on affordable housing. At the same time, he began rehabbing his outdated 900-square-foot Cambridge home.
Tackling most of the construction with the help of friends, Boehm took down walls, enlarged the kitchen, and generally opened up the modest Victorian, while striving to preserve original period details. For example, he conserved a patchwork of wood flooring and exposed the chimney’s original brick. As a result, the house doesn’t feel as though it was built all at once but rather seems like the result of several cycles of construction and deconstruction.


Five years later, Boehm met visual artist Danielle Sauvé at a mutual friend’s house in New Hampshire. Shortly thereafter, she left her faculty position at Éduard-Montpetit College in Montreal to join him in Cambridge. With a child on the way, they renovated the bathroom, installing a big soaking tub with glass mosaic tile, and created a small den opposite the living room. Eventually, they erected a 300-square-foot addition to accommodate an office and a children’s bedroom. Boehm kept the windows where they were, now part of the home’s interior, but removed the glass.

Today, Boehm’s one-time bachelor pad happily absorbs a family of four. With its generous kitchen and quirky spaces, the house offers the kids a surprising number of places to run, hide, build Lego spaceships, and hold puppet shows. Still, Boehm sometimes feels a little squeezed. “We wonder about the one-bathroom situation when the kids get older,” he says with a smile. “I can envision a line of people waiting for my daughter to finish her shower.” Thankfully, Boehm’s a renovator to the core—his work will never really be done.