How Do You Invite the Wintry Outdoors into a Basement?

This Italianate Jamaica Plain home has the answer: A wood stove, big sliding-glass doors, and plenty of Scandinavian-inspired hygge.

Architect: Horst Buchanan Architects. Builder: Kevin Cradock Builders   / Photo by Erik Kowalski

The Problem

In need of more guest space and a home gym, the owners of this historical Italianate home in Jamaica Plain decided it was time for a basement renovation. Among their highest priorities was a flexible indoor space that connected to the outdoor patio and pool. “They had no pool house or place to dry off after the pool,” explains builder Kevin Cradock, whom they tapped to spearhead the project. “There was no place to come in and warm up right after being outside.”

The Solution

Working closely with Horst Buchanan Architects, Cradock’s team carved out a lower-level room that opens to the patio via large sliding-glass Marvin doors. “It’s kind of an indoor/outdoor space. During the warmer months of the year, when the family is using the patio and pool, the doors stay open constantly,” Cradock says. When the weather is chilly, a wood stove keeps the room cozy. Adding to the coziness: built-in steel cubbies that provide storage for logs and two walls sheathed in fumed oak. The utilitarian concrete floor, meanwhile, also has an organic vibe thanks to a micro-topping that adds shine and texture to the surface—along with variations in hue. “The space is a departure from the rest of the house,” Cradock notes. “It kind of feels like a Scandinavian lodge.”

First published in the print edition of the January 2023 issue, in the column Spaces, with the headline “Getting Warmer.”

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