Chris Janney’s work combines architecture, light and sound and he has tried out some of his designs in his own home in Lexington.
75 Kendall Road, Lexington
The size: 6348 square feet
Bathrooms: 4 complete, 1 incomplete
You’ve probably already come across Christopher Janney’s work if you’ve been to the Science Museum. Have you ever run up and down the musical stairs, creating a cacophony of sounds? Its’ his job. Jenny is an MIT- and Princeton-educated architect and jazz musician who combines her two areas of expertise in her design work. The result is a design work that combines light, sound and color for spaces that feel like art.
Jenny also tests most of her design work at her Lexington home, where she has lived since 1989. But he did not limit his research to only hand and paper sketches made in his greenhouse-studio. He tested his ideas on the house itself. Over the past three decades, he has transformed the property: he restored the greenhouses at the back, connected the garage to the house, added a second floor, built a studio and a terrace. With each addition, he added his own touch, experimenting with curved shapes and glass, which he used in his other works. In doing so, he transformed this 1929 farmhouse into a whimsical structure reminiscent of his work designing the Children’s Museum.
Wherever you turn, you will see amazing design elements: colored glass, geometric cutouts, glass walls and curvilinear lines make traditional home spaces like the kitchen or living room completely unique. Small details, such as nautilus-shaped glazed rooms or circular cutouts on kitchen cabinets, give the home a futuristic vibe, while an abundance of hardwoods and windows keep the space light and airy.
In addition to five bedrooms (including a master suite with custom-built built-ins and a circular window that overlooks the 1.5-acre property and nearby conservation lands), this home also features an underground sound studio. Descend the spiral staircase (surrounded by crimson glass) to the soundproof space where Jenny himself created the melodies. There are also two spacious greenhouses at the back (4,000 square feet and 2,500 square feet) that are open for even more use, including as an apartment for the mother-in-law. Jenny himself uses them as a store/warehouse and as a design studio where he builds his prototypes. “I have a good idea at two in the morning, I can go out and at least sketch it and develop it. (Then I) fall asleep again and wake up in reality. I still have something to look at,” he says. “So it was great for that.”
Jenny now plans to divide her time between New York and Los Angeles, where her grown children live and work as musicians and video editors (“I like to think that the house and property influenced their career,” he jokes). In doing so, he will need to say goodbye to his home, opening the door to another family who will hopefully see the same opportunities in the property as he did. “I don’t think this house is for everyone, but I think it’s the right place for the right family,” he says. “This is my third child. I need to let it go out into the world and be what it’s supposed to be.”
For more information, please contact Donna Marcantonio, Petrowsky Jones Group of Compass, 75kendall.com.
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