A Traditional Cape Gets a Contemporary Makeover

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When our clients were ready to move their growing family from their Somerville condo, they began looking for the perfect single family home. After two years of searching, they decided to change their thinking. They would buy a house that had potential and transform it into the house they loved.

The couple bought a pre-1930s Cape in Winchester. The small rooms and heavy paneling fit neither their lifestyle nor their design aesthetic, but the yard and location were enticing. Our clients immediately started interviewing contractors and design/build firms. In Spring 2015, they signed with Morse Constructions. Our client says “Paul was the only one who really seemed excited by our vision. We felt we could trust him and he truly listened to what we wanted.”

Our clients envisioned an open, airy, contemporary floorplan with an updated kitchen, additional baths, a master suite, mudroom and first floor laundry – all within the same footprint as the original home. “We have lived in the Boston area for 13 years but our design tastes are definitely not traditional New England,” comments our client.

We brought in architect Tom Downer of Downer Associates in Cambridge to develop a design that met all of our client’s needs within their budget, and without enlarging the existing home. According to Tom, “It’s a very efficient process to work with Morse because we work as a team. Morse estimates construction costs as we go so we know we are proposing designs that are financially feasible.”

Our clients moved into their Winchester home a little more than one year after they closed on their purchase. “We couldn’t be happier with our decision to renovate,” says our client. “Throughout the project, Paul and his team kept our priorities in mind. The result reflects our vision and our lifestyle perfectly.”


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Want to transform your own home? Please contact us to discuss your project! We are currently booking for Fall 2017/Winter 2018.

Tags: whole home renovation, design/build, Winchester, MA home renovation

Design/Build Partner Spotlight: Lisa Wasserman Sivan

Boston area kitchen renovation

Morse Constructions is a design/build firm.  This means that you may choose us for all services from initial design, to construction, to finishing touches instead of hiring separate services from an architect, space planner and/or interior designer.

We assemble a design team that is best suited to your goals and your project. One of our Lisa Wasserman Sivanmost frequent collaborators is Lisa Wasserman Sivan.  Lisa and Morse first worked together years ago to create an open, airy kitchen/mudroom in a West Newton home (see photo above). Currently, we are collaborating on a Somerville condo renovation and a whole house renovation/addition for an historic residence in Arlington.

How does the design/build collaboration work? What are the advantages? We asked Lisa to share her perspective with our readers in the following Q & A.

Q: Thanks for joining us, Lisa. You and Morse Constructions have worked well together on a number of projects. What do you feel is the secret to this effective design/build collaboration?

A: It has a lot to do with listening and communicating with the homeowner and the whole team. Everybody comes to the table with different expertise and ideas. If you respect this, then everybody is working together toward a shared vision. This leads to more creative ideas because different perspectives are incorporated. The end result is fresh, creative and innovative.

Q: Are you finished your job when construction begins?

A: When I collaborate with Morse Constructions, the services are completely integrated from beginning to end of the project. During the design phase, there is a lot of give-and-take to make sure that designs can be constructed within the budget. Sometimes we save money through smart building, which opens up more design options. There’s always movement and flexibility between design and construction. When building begins, the collaboration continues. We work as a team until the vision is fully realized.

Q: What are the advantages to the homeowner with design/build?

A:  Since the designer and builder are working together from the outset, you know that what is designed is achievable within the established budget. There are a lot of checks and balances that are built in to the system, so you’re going to know exactly what to expect every step of the way. You’re also going to have a team that works together, rather than protecting turf. I think this is the most effective way to realize a vision and create highly functional, imaginative design.

Q: Do you stay involved after construction to help clients with finish selections and furnishings?

A: It is up to the client. Some homeowners want to select their own paint colors, light fixtures and so on. Others want help creating finished spaces. I have some projects that are purely interior design.

Read more about Morse’s six-step design/build process or contact us for more information.


Tags: Massachusetts renovation, design/build, architectural design