The Kinnaird Street Townhouses
The Kinnaird Street Townhouses are built on the site of a former taxi garage at the intersection of two quiet residential streets in Cambridge, Ma. The streets intersect at an angle acute enough to pose design challenges unique to its irregular shape, as the triangular parcel compounds the difficulty of satisfying the city's setback requirements, open space and gross floor area.
The shape of the lot, and its substantial frontage on two streets offered the chance to design three distinctly different homes. Two of the units are approximately 1455 square feet and have three bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths. The third unit has nearly 950 square feet with two bedrooms and 1 bath. No unit is like any other and each has its roster of unique benefits. Wall planes step out to the lot boundaries, creating pockets of open space and seclusion. Bays project outward overhead. One unit can house two cars and has an outdoor deck over a garage. Another has a lawn and garden on three sides, with light pouring in from all directions. The third is smaller, yet offers space foot two bedrooms and an office alcove in addition to a generous Living / Dining / Kitchen area.
The townhouse's style take its cue from its predominantly Victorian neighbors. Gabled roof lines, multi-paned double hung windows, projecting bays and classical trim evoke the prior century, and allow the townhouses to settle into the surrounding neighborhood. The area, known as Riverside, was developed in the latter part of the 1800's as Cambridge filled in marshland and expanded toward the Charles River, and is now a comfortable enclave of working class and professionals, students and families.
In the larger units, the kitchen and dining room overlook the living room, whose ceilings rise to twelve feet. The rhythm of the stairs rising upward is accentuated by a Craftsman-style railing ascending to the bedrooms above and branching to the dining room gallery overlooking the living room below. The Craftsman touch is also evident in the hand fashioned quality of the tile work in the bathrooms and hearths. Appliances and fixtures are the latest available. The counters are granite, and the cabinets vary according to the taste of the owners, from simple maple Shaker style to raised panel offerings in cherry. All cabinets are custom made.