On The Shore

The Boston Globe Magazine: In Search of New England

On The Shore

The Boston Globe Magazine

August 6, 1989

In Search of New England
By Peter Anderson

By M. Dolden


On the banks of Lake Cochituate in Wayland, what was once a colony of summer cottages has become engulfed in suburban Boston’s western development push. 

A young couple bought this lakeside cottage and, before long, realized that with a family on the way the little house would require expansion and extensive renovation to be made into a year-round home. Their architect, Robert Olson of Boston, appreciated the bungalow’s basic building form and was sensitive to the need to expand upon, rather than change, the image of the house and the waterfront cottage. By popping up above the roof line with the addition of a clerestoried skylight, which allows light to spill into the new spaces created by a wing housing the master bedroom, and having a new main entrance, the house gained an axis that runs front to back, from entry toward the waterfront views. 

Carrying the theme of a waterfront structure to a higher plane, Olson designed the master bedroom wing in such a way that it appears like the prow of a ship, pushing toward the waterfront. The wing’s multiple windows and French doors opening to the lawn serve to make the house more accessible to the water. This assures the family of a quiet corner from which to awaken to a summer morning on the lake—as if the passing of time, and urban sprawl, had been contained.  

Architect Robert Olson added height, light, and whimsy to the bungalow’s interior by designing the expansion as two major elements. The double-height skylight-cum-clerestory makes the interior space airy and establishes a new verticality. In the master bedroom wing (far left), multiple square windows along the roof line create a series of framed “pictures” of the surrounding trees and encourage views upward, as well as out toward the lake front. 


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