Brookline Residence


This striking brick residence, originally built in 1906 for Robert W. Atkinson by Philadelphia architect George Bispham Page, was turned sideways to the main road to expose its signature gamble roofline. The client couple, both involved in real-estate development in Boston, purchased this stately home that had not been updated in nearly thirty years.

Ben Olson Architect was hired to maintain the existing 1906 building and add a contemporary addition to house a modern kitchen, breakfast room and family room. Situated on more than 26,000 square feet of wooded grounds in South Brookline, the structures, both old and new are now formally composed to establish exterior rooms in the landscape. The original French doors, the large window openings of the new addition and the patio with new pergola provide access to the exterior.

Olson has enriched the original 1906 plan, by enlarging the opening to the living room with a pair of Doric columns. Recessed lighting now accents the white painted woodwork and the Owner’s ceramics collection. A dilapidated covered porch was removed to add more daylight into the dining room. The second floor was been reconfigured in a formal, symmetrical plan to accommodate new bedrooms and baths, while reinforcing the original G. B. Page design.

It is the new addition where Olson has extended the building to the landscape without replicating the period details of the original structure. The addition’s exterior features red brick with grey accent brick striping. Matching grey stucco is added to accommodate the primary cylindrical forms of the new design. The striped brick wall maintains privacy from the street while large window openings are used to open the house to a private garden setting.

The new kitchen is connected to the exterior by a large sheet of window glass that is clipped by brackets directly to the exterior brick wall. A ridge skylight for the family room is a contemporary extension of the Mansard roof of the 1906 design. Concealed lighting within the skylight reflects on the walls and illuminates the room at night.

The interior materials include Burlington stone pavers, ash floors, maple millwork, and green limestone countertops. The detailed interior of the kitchen and breakfast room incorporates lightly white washed floors and light maple in order to brighten the wood and reflect the natural daylight.

This residence provides both formal and informal spaces. This renovated home has respected the original 1906 design and added modern amenities including a thoughtfully designed kitchen, a separate eating area which overlooks the garden and a family room. Ben Olson has transformed this home to feature contemporary, updated living spaces that only now take full advantage of its unique private, landscaped setting.