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Catherine Truman Architects

Cambridge, MA
Photo: Nat Rea

Regions Served

  • Boston & New England

Services Offered

Award winning Catherine Truman Architects specializes in the custom design of modern and traditional homes, renovations, and historic preservation.

PHILOSOPHY:

Every project is different. Every client is different. Every house is different. Every budget is different.

Each solution should be unique.

Great solutions share one thing in common – excellent design. Clear thinking. A solution that works so well that it looks completely obvious. A solution that looks simple. But it’s not.

Each homeowner has different needs, wants, desires and concerns. We believe it’s important to listen, and find a solution that successfully addresses all of them.

Every existing building, every site, and every plot of land, is different. We believe that we have to understand the building and the site in order to find the solution. The materials. The restrictions. The views. The history. Everything.

Budgets are wide ranging. A builder once told me, “the most expensive house you can build is the wrong house.” Most people don’t build many houses in their lifetimes, and we want to make sure that, whatever your budget, you build the best house.

So, every project is different. Every client, every budget, every site – and every one of our solutions – is different.

That’s what makes this fun. It’s different, every day.

So, why work with us? We like solving those problems. We work with owners to find the best solution for them. We collaborate with the builder to develop the best building we can – they bring our solutions to life. We don’t drop the drawings with the builder and disappear; we are on site, with the builder, making sure it comes out the way we all want.

We design spectacular custom homes. The common thread is a solution which seems effortless and simple, like there couldn’t be any other solution.

Except yours.

Details

catherine truman architects

Contact

Owner

  • Catherine Truman

Locations

  • 29 Warren Street
    Cambridge MA 02141
  • North Falmouth, MA

Featured Projects

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Modern Boston Back Bay Townhouse

This 1873 brick townhouse in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood was converted from a multi-unit apartment building back to a spectacular single-family home. The exterior was carefully restored, and the interior was completely gutted. A new steel and open web truss structure was inserted, allowing us to maximize floor heights and create a dramatic four-story skylit atrium in the center of the house. A new stair and elevator core, illuminated from a skylight above, reach from the new ground floor to the roof deck. Winner of two PRISM awards 2019. Featured in Boston Home Magazine Spring 2018.

Photos: Jane Messinger
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Mountain Retreat

This contemporary four-season, four-bedroom vacation house in northern New England, was built on an existing 30’ x 30’ foundation, with a focus on expansive views to the mountains beyond. The very efficient floor plan incorporates a large master suite on the first floor, along with a kitchen and double height living and dining space; three guest bedrooms occupy the second floor. A character hickory floor gives a rustic touch to an otherwise simply detailed contemporary space. Catherine Truman Architects was responsible for both the architectural design and all furnishings. PRISM award 2018. Featured in New England Home Magazine, July-August 2019.

Photos: Nat Rea
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Berkshire Farm House

Before the renovation, this 17th century farmhouse was a rabbit warren of small dark rooms with low ceilings. A new owner wanted to keep the character but modernize the house, so Catherine Truman Architects obliged, transforming the house completely. The family room, a large but very low ceiling room, was radically transformed by removing the ceiling to expose the roof structure above and rebuilding an open new stair; the exposed beams were salvaged from an historic barn elsewhere on the property. Original wide plank pine floors were carefully numbered, replaced, and matched where needed. Historic rooms in the front of the house were carefully restored and upgraded. The project is a net zero energy project, with solar panels, super insulated walls, and triple glazed windows.  Boston Society of Architects 2020 Residential Design Award Citation; Awarded “Best in Massachusetts” 2019 by the International Interior Design Association.

Photos: Nat Rea
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Net Zero Barn

The Net Zero Barn is one half of a larger project (see “Farm House Renovation”). When the new owners acquired the property, their hope had been to renovate the existing barn as part of the living space; the evaluation of the structural integrity of the barn timbers revealed that it was not structurally stable, so the barn was dismantled, the timber salvaged, documented, and repaired, and redeployed in the main house. The owners still wanted a barn, so Catherine Truman Architects sourced an antique barn frame of a similar size and style in western Ontario, and worked with a timber specialist to import, restore, and erect the frame on the property. A lean-to garage structure is modeled on the design of the barn that was removed. Solar panels on the roof, super insulated panels and the triple glazed windows all contribute to the Barn being a Net Zero energy project. Boston Society of Architects 2020 Residential Design Award Citation; Featured in Boston Magazine, December 2017.

Photos: Nat Rea, Jane Messinger
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Industrial Loft

This industrial loft was dark and uninviting, even though it had 13 large windows and doors on three exposures; the space was dominated by a large duct running through the center. The renovation transformed the space into a light-filled open and modern living space for a single professional who likes to entertain. The new design creates an open floor plan with a large central kitchen, flanked on either side by living and dining spaces that are perfectly scaled for solo use or larger parties. The new entry layout more than quadrupled the original amount of storage, providing plenty of closet space, bike storage, and a bank of counter height drawers, topped by a glass wall, which maintains the openness of the space while keeping the clutter of the entry separate from the main living space. Featured in Boston Home Magazine, Fall 2017.

Photos: Jane Messinger
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Beacon Street Apartment

A few seemingly small adjustments to the plan of this downtown Boston condo made a huge difference in the openness of the space, while also providing significantly more storage for the young family. To create a more open sitting room and kitchen, Catherine Truman Architects  removed a structural wall between the original kitchen and hall, creating a larger kitchen, and replaced a line of structural columns in the family room, opening the spaces to each other, and providing a bank of storage cabinetry linking the two. The connection between the dining room and kitchen was enlarged, opening dining room for more casual family meals. Catherine Truman Architects also worked with the client to incorporate their existing furniture along with new furnishings and fixtures throughout, including the dramatic blue library.

Photos: Nat Rea
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Cambridge House

This contemporary addition to a classic house gave the client the best of both worlds, combining the character of the historic front with a spacious modern and light filled wing. The front of the house had been modified numerous times and little original material remained, but that was used as the inspiration in the recreation of an historically appropriate interior for the older portion of the house. In the rear, the old wing was removed and replaced with a new contemporary design, with a large double height family room at the center, overlooking a large terrace and the yard beyond. Fixed louvers are precisely designed to calibrate the amount of light in the south facing living area, limiting heat gain and creating dramatic shadows against the slate fireplace wall. Catherine Truman was the Project Architect for this project while at Ann Beha Architects.

Photos: Eric Roth, Peter Vanderwarker

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