With apologies to Robert Frost, if good fences make good neighbors, do good walls make good relatives? That’s the question we set out to explore with this family of five interventions, each a meditation on the qualities and role of walls.
Exploded axonometric drawing showing five meditations from top to bottom: office (thickened), storage wall (perforated), fort bed (stacked), flex space (dissolved), secrets desk (folded).
MEDITATION 1: PERFORATED
In the entry hallway we wrapped an existing wall with new wooden fins that are perforated into an oversized pegboard, allowing it to function as storage (seen below on the left).
View from the entry
MEDITATION 2: DISSOLVED
At the end of the entry hallway is a new ‘flex’ space. It was created by replacing a drywall partition with highly transparent millwork that lets light deep into the center of the home. One oversized operable panel acts as a door, connecting the space to the entry.
Inside the flex space
A second oversized panel functions as a window that connects the flex space to the kitchen. Operating the two panels together allows the occupants to modulate the environment from a defined space to something that feels more like a nook.
A large moving panel may be closed to separate the flex space from the kitchen
MEDITATION 3: THICKENED
The existing interior walls of the office are thickened with a new partition of walnut and opaque glass. This thickened wall allowed us to insert new lighting that helps the room feel more comfortable despite the lack of windows.
Adjustable storage wall wraps around the entrance to the office
The thickened wall curls in on itself to create a daybed, allowing for multiple modalities of work (or napping) in a very small space.
MEDITATION 4: FOLDED
Between the bedrooms of two siblings a portion of the wall was replaced with millwork folded into an S-curve in plan. This creates back to back workspaces and bookshelves for each child. Due to the fold, each workspace is half in one room and half in the other.
A small “confessional” allows the kids to pass notes (or stink eye), but only when both raise the screen simultaneously.
MEDITATION 5: STACKED
Within the bedroom of the youngest member of the family, a new wall has been created by stacking millwork. A series of volumes store the child’s clothing and possessions while protecting the sleeping area as a room within a room.
Floorplan showing meditations in gray
Photos by Mark Wickens