The Light Touch
A couple’s Meridian penthouse is opened up for brighter days
IN 2003, JEREMIAH’S WORLD turned dark after he lost his first wife to cancer. He halted the remodel of their downtown condo.
Then he met and fell in love with Cassidy, who is from Shanghai, China. They married in 2006 and decided to bathe the Meridian penthouse in light, symbolically matching the sunshine Cassidy brought back into Jeremiah’s life.
In a building where natural light can be found only at the perimeter of rooms, Fred Gemmell, principal designer for Matrix Design Studio, says he and his colleague, Matrix architect Lauren Williams, had to create openings to guide it into spaces that would otherwise be dark.
“We designed openness into the home to allow light to move freely. We introduced clerestory windows in the entry gallery that bring light in from the children’s bedroom,” Fred explains. “In the evening, the lighting changes dramatically. Each piece of art gets its own source of light; and each ceiling form becomes a floating chandelier, further dramatized by soft, glowing perimeter lighting in the soffits.”
Great care was taken to make sure electrical fittings did not become the focal point. The use of small, trimless fixtures helps them disappear into the sculpted ceiling.
“The palette is very light,” Lauren says. “White walls, bleached veneers, vintage ivory-washed teak floors all allow light to bounce around the space.”
Jeremiah and Cassidy chose to completely reconfigure the home from its original boxy layout into an open plan with 180-degree views of the harbor and city afforded by floor-to-ceiling glass.
Spalted beech, recycled teak floors (wire brushed by hand and finished in oil), glossy white acrylic and petrified wood “bricks” create a combination of minimalism and warmth.
One of the home’s defining features is the art collection, a joyous assemblage of colorful paintings and drawings from all over the world. Included are works by Jan Owen of Maine that incorporate Asian calligraphy in the image and the surrealistic paintings of Russian-born Igor Galanin.
“We love art. It’s a big part of our lives,” Cassidy says. “We really didn’t know if we were going to be able to fit it all into this space. But it worked out well.”
Upon entering the home, the transition to light and texture begins at the gallery, with a long art wall that leads to the kitchen and dining, living and family rooms, which seem to float within the downtown skyline. The living room floor has been raised to create the feeling of being on the edge of the building. Lit from below, live-edge solid teak steps carry you farther up into the view.
The Arclinea kitchen is solid acrylic with Miele appliances, a strong core of white in the center of the home that anchors the surrounding textured floors and cabinetry with minimalist purity. The cabinetry is custom designed to meet the storage demands of a small space. At 3,500 square feet, the three-bedroom/three-bath home is designed for the efficiency a young family of four requires.
The ceilings, which were designed around the existing structure, take full advantage of all the space that was once left as voids behind a low, flat expanse of drywall. The new ceilings consist of curved and rectangular drywall forms, cove lighting and backlit inserts of resin carved with waves that become minimalist chandeliers within spalted, bleached beech coffers.
The master bedroom, which also incorporates a raised teak floor with live-edge steps, is framed in beech cabinets that lead to the closet and master bathroom. White calacatta marble keeps the light-deprived bathroom bright; linear reveal lighting frames the mirrors and lights the floating cabinetry.
“It’s taken a lot of work and a lot of love to get to this point, and we spared no expense to get it right,” Cassidy says. “Jere has been through so much. He’s weathered the storms in his life. We decided it was time to let
the sun shine in.”
By Jamie Reno Photography by Pablo Mason