Last summer when we were visiting my parents in Westborough, Massachusetts–the town I grew up in (remember I told you about it here and here?)–I drove past this stunning house on Church Street and it stopped me in my tracks. I just couldn’t believe that I had never noticed it before. Well, that’s because it didn’t look like this when I lived there.
Back when I lived in Westborough, it looked more like this.
Lucky for me, the stunning house had a sign out front that said 43churchst.com. So, I checked it out and found the story of how Michael Fitzpatrick (a very talented wood furniture maker) and his wife, Dr. Jean Keamy, had purchased the house with the intention of renovating it and bringing it back to its former glory. I mean, look how gorgeous it was back in 1880.
Their website is great and it shows lots of process shots but I was dying to see it inside, so I emailed Michael and asked if he would let me–and the Sue at Home readers–take a peek. He could not have been more gracious and welcoming so the next time I was in Westborough, Pablo and I went to take a look. (Yes, it’s taken me over 6 months to write this post. What can I say, it’s got a LOT of pictures.)
They brought the exterior of the house back to its original style except for the addition of this porte cochere on the side. No need to Google it. “Porte Cochere” translates to Carriage Porch. (It’s like a fancy carport.)
Here’s the back of the house.
As they were building the porte cochere, some birds decided to make it their home so they continued building around the birds and now they’ve got permanent houseguests. See that little square in the picture below? That’s how their little feathered friends get in and out.
Michael restored and built reproductions of all the exterior millwork himself. (See more about that in this video.)
I especially loved the pale blue painted porch ceiling. Let’s go inside, shall we?
While they respected the aesthetic of the original structure on the exterior, they opted for a more modern interior with an open floor plan and a focus on function. I loved all of the clean simple furnishings.
The floating stairs–that connect all four levels–let in tons of light.
This little sitting area connects the living room and kitchen.
I love how the color of the mid-century chairs is picked up in the kitchen backsplash.
The center column in the house, which has a small bathroom and an elevator on this floor, also includes this built-in bookshelf. (Note the wood carved grate. Yup – that was made by Michael, too. It’s the details like this that make this house like no other I’ve ever seen.)
Here’s Michael showing us the diary of Mary White Forbes that they found in the house. The entries are dated 1850-1857.
The kitchen is a story itself. Every single shelf and drawer is completely thought out and made for full function.
The wood veneer is Black Palm from Ecuador, a renewable resource. (Now’s a good time to mention that 80% of the materials that were taken out of the house at the time of demo were recycled to other homes around New England.)
Adjacent to the kitchen is the dining room. That low table on the right is one of Michael’s designs made for a show at the Fuller Craft museum.
Check out these small “floorlights” that connect to the basement below. (Remember those. You’ll see them again.)
These amazing doors (from Thailand, circa 1780) were bought at auction. They lead to…
…a small music room in the back of the house.
Now, let’s go downstairs. This spooky little pod is the entrance to the future darkroom.
Of course, we had to go inside.
They’re also working on a screening room that hasn’t been furnished yet. And the little space below is the future wine cellar. See those little skylights? Those are the floor panels we saw in the dining room above.
I can’t get enough of these beautiful steps. Let’s go upstairs again.
Here’s another one of those Michael Fitzpatrick grates.
The entrance to the master bedroom.
Here’s the TV in the bedroom. On the right is a jewelry box that Michael made for his wife as a wedding gift. This house is a fully wired “smart” house. I think the coolest feature is the keypad near the bed where they can put the house to sleep with the touch of a button: the garage locks, all the lights turn off and the thermostat sets to a predetermined temperature. Need the use the bathroom in the middle of the night? No problem. Motion detectors track their way back to bed and turn off the lights as they’re no longer needed.
Of course the tub is surrounded by wood.
Now, let’s go all the way to the top floor. There’s a large TV room that has a balcony.
The teak woodwork in the upstairs bathroom was my favorite.
Out on the balcony, we get a better look at those shingles and the stunning millwork.
And before we leave, we need to take a look at Michael’s wood shop in the back garage. There are lots of plans to renovate this space next.
One of Michael’s beautiful veneer topped tables.
Some more tables with mid-century hairpin legs.
I’d like to thank Michael for the tour of his beautiful home.
There are so many other rooms that I didn’t show here because they’re yet to be finished so stay tuned to 43churchst.com for Michael’s updates.
Sue at Home