All Projects Dorchester, MA

Virtuous Victorian

Bathrooms Energy Efficiency Kitchens

Located in a historic district, this 1870s Mansard Victorian featured gracious living spaces, well-preserved period detailing, and high ceilings throughout. However, the kitchen was cramped, isolated, and dated. Similarly, the home lacked a proper primary bedroom suite. Efficiency and systems upgrades were also sorely overdue. As committed environmentalists (one of the owners works for the Union of Concerned Scientists), the homeowners cared as much about improving their home’s performance as meeting their functional requirements.

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The kitchen was separated from the dining room by a pantry and an underutilized full bathroom. Although the pantry had plenty of storage, getting items to and from the kitchen was a schlep. In addition, the bathroom opened directly onto the dining room and the tub was never used. We saw opportunities!



The result is both stunning and eminently practical...

By eliminating the pantry and relocating the bathroom, Architect Frank Dill was able to expand the kitchen, creating a cohesive and far more functional space. He also capitalized on the 12 ft ceilings to design extra tall custom cabinetry that not only meets the homeowners’ quotidian storage needs but also enables them to display art and collectibles.

The cabinetry is furnished with myriad custom details — an insert for hanging wine glasses, a phone and charging tilt-out, a narrow cabinet at the end of the island for dog treats, and lift-and-slide doors at the coffee station. A second prep sink allows both homeowners to cook together and entertain with ease. The result is both stunning and eminently practical.

Upstairs the primary bedroom and bathroom were both small, the bedroom lacked sufficient storage, and the bathroom finishes were worn, dated, and lacked the sophistication expected of this stately home. Frank Dill’s first key design move was to incorporate a small and underutilized bedroom into the primary suite. Within this expanded footprint, he reconfigured the layout to better align with the homeowners’ daily patterns. We added a separate dressing room off the bedroom and a new exquisitely finished bathroom with separate vanities, a two-person shower and a gorgeous free-standing tub as a focal point. The resulting primary bath has elegant finishes, improved functionality, and a pleasing symmetry.




Prior to working with us, the homeowners had worked with Mass Save to insulate the walls. Previous owners had insulated the underside of the roof, however our initial assessment indicated room for improvement in both the roof and the walls. In addition to insulation upgrades, we reinforced the south facing roof for future solar panels, increased the electrical service to 200 amps, and installed a ducted heat pump to serve the second floor. During the initial planning work, we explored converting the entire house to heat pumps, but to manage budgetary constraints the owners elected to save this for a later project, likely in coordination with the installation of solar panels.