the house was built in the 1880s in cambridge’s strawberry hill ne 9

A Boston House Remodel by LA Team Barbara Bestor and Carter Design

A Boston House Remodel by LA Team Barbara Bestor and Carter Design

Information about A Boston House Remodel by LA Team Barbara Bestor and Carter Design

Newborn News

In San Francisco, they’re known as Painted Ladies. In Cambridge, Massachusetts, there isn’t a name for the preferred—and, if you ask us, far more compelling—Victorian house palette: exteriors in severe blacks, charcoals, and grays offset by front doors in wild lipstick shades like Lilac and Vixen Red.

LA architect Barbara Bestor knows and appreciates this Boston tradition—she herself grew up in Cambridge. Her client, Doug Zell, the peripatetic cofounder of Intelligentsia Coffee, brings an outsider’s interest to local ways—and an inclination to loosen things up. The divorced father of one came to town a few years ago for a romance that didn’t work out—and ended up staying to open two outposts of his coffee bar and to remodel a historic Cambridge house. Having worked with Bestor a decade earlier on Intelligentsia Coffee’s much-buzzed-about Silver Lake location, he recruited her for all of these jobs. Bestor, in turn, enlisted Cy and Genevieve Carter of Carter Design, based in LA and Long Island, to orchestrate the house’s furnishings. The team approached the project with respect—and also a Californians’ understanding of comfort and the need for some fun. Let’s take a look.

Photography by and courtesy of Laure Joliet.

the house was built in the 1880s in cambridge’s strawberry hill ne 9
Above: The house was built in the 1880s in Cambridge’s Strawberry Hill neighborhood. Previously painted white, it was given a proper Boston color combo: Farrow & Ball’s Black Blue with a front door in a custom-mixed Fine Paints of Europe high-gloss matched to the British Standard Colour Poppy Red. A fan of “combining the serious with the playful,” Zell says the palette comes from the longstanding influence of British design in Boston,

The ground floor windows are original; Bestor took out the vinyl windows that had been added to the second floor and attic and reintroduced true divided-lite wood windows with sashes painted Benjamin Moore black. She also added a standing-seam metal roof, she says, for “hyper-functionality and to give the traditional New England home a slightly more industrial, modern texture.” (Go to Hardscaping 101 to read about the benefits of metal roofs.)

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