get Your custom quote

Before and After: Beauty and Functionality in an American Foursquare

Life was different when this traditional foursquare home near Boston was built in the early 1900s. Back then, rooms were separate and had clear assignments: The kitchen was for cooking, the dining room was for eating and so on. In those days, windows let in cold air during the winter, so they tended to be smaller and less embracing of a view.


This home had been remodeled over the years, and each refresh had added details that were not age- or architecturally appropriate and took the home away from the plain-spoken look of an American foursquare. The new owners wanted to bring back some of the original details (or what could have been original) and add modern touches, so they hired Robert S. MacNeille, design principal and president of Carpenter & MacNeille.

In the end, it was as much about subtraction as anything. “We stripped away all of the extra details that didn’t fit,” Alberts says. Hodgson adds that the insertions were as important. “We jazzed up a simple house with great, period-appropriate architectural details,” she says.

Like a writer, many old houses can be made better with a little editing.


Mary Jo Bowling
Houzz Editorial Staff; writer, reader, serial remodeler.