A3 Architects

“I said to Alison,” the homeowner recalls, “‘I. Want. Windows. And I need light.’” Wish granted: A statement-making glass feature stretches along the back wall of the kitchen/dining room.

In place of upper cabinets in the kitchen are counter-to-ceiling windows, transoms and a set of French doors across the back wall, allowing for abundant natural light. “I love that it pulls you through the house from the front door,” Alessi says of the glass feature. “You have this solid moment at the front and then it’s really glassy at the back, which is a fun contrast.”

To help break up the open living spaces on the first floor, Alessi and O’Reilly designed a den/breakfast nook off of the dining room. “If you read Sarah Susanka’s book ‘The Not So Big House,’ she has this idea that you have this big open space but then you have a quiet ‘away room,’” Alessi notes. “Sometimes it’s overwhelming with all of these open rooms, so it’s nice to have that quiet space.” Suzanne says the cozy nook has become a popular spot for morning coffee and doing puzzles.

Complementing the family’s laid-back lifestyle in Chatham is a simple, neutral color palette throughout the home, consisting of off-white and muted blue-green hues. A3 worked with Suzanne to select the paint colors as well as the comfortable, functional furnishings. “She wanted to slowly add color and stories to the decoration,” Alessi says of the homeowner, “which I think is a nice way to approach it because sometimes you can be too bold with color. I admire that restrained palette she has here.”

Suzanne notes, “Everybody says, ‘Whenever we’re there, we’re happier, we’re more relaxed.’ It’s just awesome.”

Faced with zoning constraints, Alessi and O’Reilly had the challenge of accommodating all of the living spaces the homeowners desired, all the while keeping the 3,800-square-foot house in scale with its neighborhood. “This little neighborhood is quite charming—it’s off of Main Street—and we wanted the house to feel like it fit in that neighborhood and didn’t feel imposing,” Alessi says, “so we designed several gables to break up the mass of the house so it felt a little smaller than it actually is.”