A Home For All Seasons

A neoclassical Brookline manse gets a major renovation — and three unique copper-clad additions.

To address the backyard’s challenging 30-foot grade, Kennard introduced the owners to Keith LeBlanc, principal of Keith LeBlanc Landscape Architecture. “We thought we’d make it almost like Central Park, with rocky outcroppings and ferns throughout,” says LeBlanc. “It gives the kids plenty of terrain.” Working around two linden trees as anchor points, he created several areas: The house-level and garden terraces are made of lilac-hued bluestone, a lower-level deck was done in teak, and the hill ends in a generous lawn where the kids can play. LeBlanc interspersed ground-cover plants, climbing hydrangea, and green hakone grass with more-manicured shrubs like boxwoods and rhododendrons for a textured woodland escape.

With the surroundings in mind, Kennard was inspired to dress the building additions in copper. “I like the material juxtaposition against the existing clapboard house,” he says. “I like how it receded from view, and how it’s going to evolve over time with the house. The whole thing will change its patina from dark brown to light green in varying degrees over the next 30 years.”

Understanding that functionality and privacy are a constant balancing act, LeBlanc designed the front lawn as a final flourish, offering the kids one more grassy play space but concealing it from public view with a frame of flowering hedges, thus tying elements of the front to the multilayered back.

The effect suits the family’s needs perfectly. “We always said we weren’t scared of fixing up a house, but this was a big project,” says the wife. “In the end, I think it was all worth it. I don’t need to buy another house or any more furniture. My grandkids are going to come visit me here.”