November 30, 2023


Interior spice

Couple bringing postmodern design to run-down Holyoke home


Nestled in a limited row of properties in the city’s Oakdale District sits an architectural anomaly. Coated totally with black siding, and featuring no forward-facing home windows, the smaller Victorian dwelling has become a source of wonderment for passersby.

At first look, the 850-square-foot, two-story household is unsettling and inefficient by visual appeal. On the other hand, a further appear into the house by itself and the head at the rear of it unveils artist and designer Kevin MacDonald’s knack for layout innovation and eye for depth.

As soon as in shambles, the home has develop into a pet venture for MacDonald, an artist specializing in modern large-stop design architecture who spent the the greater part of his occupation in New York Town and Los Angeles constructing household furniture, properties and fine interiors. Eight a long time in the past, he moved to western Massachusetts from New York, captivated to the artist community and architecture of the location.

“I am not in this to be status quo,” MacDonald remarks throughout a the latest tour of the home.

MacDonald and his wife, Rosemary Barrett, also an artist, purchased the 1920s property about a yr back and have been reworking it to match his architectural concept — a progressive, modern-day structure that he hopes will go the property from a “scant rental” to a dwelling that promotes creative residing. The house, formally a rental property, is just across the street from the couple’s townhouse.

What is quickly fascinating about the home is the color. MacDonald characterizes his preference of black asphalt shingles as an try to give the house a feeling of goal. According to MacDonald, the color black encapsulates the traits he was searching for — unifying strength and thriller.

Pushed by a minimalist style and design approach and impressed by uncooked components, MacDonald’s purpose is to generate a sense of movement in the household as a result of layout, when working with what is currently there.

In addition to its strange exterior, the home’s inside is just as intriguing.

Carrying ideas rooted in deconstructivism — a motion of postmodern architecture that offers the impression of the fragmentation of a made setting up alternatively of symmetry or performance — MacDonald strives to split the boundaries bordering common architectural structure.

One particular way he’s completed this is as a result of altering where by windows are placed in the household. Alternatively than the customary front/back again window axis normally uncovered in American architecture, MacDonald shifted the home windows to generate an east/west diagonal axis to optimize purely natural lighting in the course of the day.

In this, he also prioritized privateness and views, including lesser home windows at floor amount he’s deemed “garden windows.”

With the intention of guiding motion, MacDonald has opted to stray absent from the regular use of right angles in American properties. He’s additional partitions to aid guidebook people as a result of the property, while nonetheless protecting a feeling of openness.

A single of the coolest attributes of the residence is an art gallery designed into the home’s lobby. The MacDonalds hope this room will encourage a innovative way of living for whomever ends up dwelling there, and the few ideas on exhibiting their personal parts, as very well as work of artistic pals.

Deeming the exterior 80% completed, and the interior nowhere in the vicinity of completion, MacDonald’s intention is to have the undertaking wrapped up sometime this summer. As for what will transpire to it at the time he’s concluded, he’s open up to all avenues, regardless of whether it be renting, selling, or residing in the dwelling himself.

It is no magic formula this sort of progressive architecture is not frequently located in the space, as it is in Los Angeles and New York.

When asked about preserving the neighborhood’s recent vibe, MacDonald states, “I assume as artists and architects it is our accountability to mirror and revolt to develop modify and therefore development.”

Seeing the city’s energetic City Renewal Plan bordering the preservation and simultaneous development of Holyoke, this appears to be a superior time for minds like MacDonald’s to be locating their place in Holyoke.

MacDonald has been interested in architectural structure and woodworking from a younger age. At 6, he viewed a friend’s father build a ranch household one particular summer. He remembers being astonished by the system of the uncooked components — the timber, concrete, plywood — all coming jointly to sort a collective foundation.

He went on to generate crude constructions all over childhood making use of nails and scraps of wooden offered by his grandfather.

In large college, MacDonald researched art and architecture, and went on to receive a degree in art and architectural historical past from Bard School. He at some point apprenticed for a grasp builder, a designer, and then an architect who labored on log cabins.


Resource connection