Architect Jacob Lilley Brings the Outdoors Inside His Family Room

Jacob Lilley, of the eponymous Wellesley-based firm, brings a breath of fresh air to his 1915 English Tudor.

Photo by Jared Kuzia

Peek inside any Jacob Lilley–designed house, and you’re bound to find spaces that seamlessly transition to the outdoors. But when the architect moved into his own Wellesley home in 2015, he felt a disconnection between the English Tudor and the surrounding landscape. “We had a beautiful yard, but nobody could find it,” Lilley says, noting the lack of windows and access to the lawn. His solution? Adding on a new family room equipped with a pair of Kolbe retractable doors, which open to reveal a rock garden and a three-tiered pavilion.

As for inside the new space, Lilley kept it simple. “The outdoors has so much to say that we didn’t need to work so hard to embellish the room,” he says. With that in mind, he opted for a neutral color palette and low-back B & B Italia furniture, complemented by an inviting fireplace with a marble surround. From there, he let the scenery do the rest: “With the light cascading through the trees comes a dappling effect. It’s like moving artwork,” Lilley says. “It’s such a neat space. It surprises you.”