I: Inviting Interiors
An open, cohesive design that ebbs and flows across multiple gathering areas is the goal for many, yet incorporating a comfortable atmosphere into your living space calls for planning and consideration. Alison Alessi of A3 Architects creates thoughtful, inviting interiors while focusing on functional living and timeless designs. Alessi offers her insight on this process, like what to focus on to create an overarching, warm ambiance.
For over 15 years, Alessi has been practicing architecture on Cape Cod with a focus on building energy efficient homes in a carefully, beautifully designed manner. Designing homes on the Cape, Alessi balances the needs of homeowners who intend to entertain indoors and out in the summer, while warming up in an intimate space come winter. “Most of our clients want large, open spaces that connect to the outside. We have these expansive spaces, but then it is about how they can transition and work as intimate, winter spaces when you are entertaining fewer people. We always try to balance that,” Alessi notes.
To create a warm atmosphere and maximize the use of space, designing smaller interiors is key, like a den or office, so the area is not completely open. In the open space that encompasses living and dining, Alessi has mastered the art of creating visually distinct areas. “If we have large open spaces, we try to differentiate a bit. We do this often with ceiling heights. Maybe the kitchen has a lower ceiling for a more compressed feel, but the living room has a more dramatic, vaulted ceiling. I think that’s a nice way to make the space look larger, but each area is defined so you are not locked in this great room,” Alessi comments.
Transitioning your furniture can also play a role in enhancing an inviting atmosphere. Perhaps the couch faces the water in the summer, but is turned to face the fireplace in the winter. For Alessi, designing interiors takes into consideration her clients’ way of life throughout the year and the ability to shift and accommodate a larger gathering when needed.
With many families settling on the Cape for the long term, Alessi is passionate about building homes to last for generations. “I hope we are designing homes that are heirlooms and will last for a long time, incorporating finishes that look really timeless,” she says. “Often, clients want their home to stay in the family so their kids can continue making memories here.”
Throughout the year, the Cape’s ever-shifting climate means a shifting way of life and use of the home. A thoughtfully designed home offers a welcoming, transitional space that will uphold a timeless presence for years to come.
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