“Whoever said that pleasure wasn’t functional?”
Architect Kevin Alter is quoting a magazine quoting Charles Eames. “I think I read that in a design magazine…but you understand the sentiment,” he explains. “There are things that add value to a home that don’t have to do with square feet; it has to do with how a space is used.”
And to borrow from the Eames’ famous sensibility, form absolutely follows function in the house Alter is referring to, a compact 1921 Clarksville residence he remodeled—and lived in for nearly a decade—before selling it to its current owner in 2010, graphic designer Molly Cumming.
The property, a cozy, unassuming home perched on a narrow lot, is modest at just under 1600 square feet, but inside feels much bigger. Walking in through the front door, the living, dining, and a small sitting room/office share an open space that is loosely delineated by pine half-walls, all parts of its original footprint. Occupied by a legal office before Alter bought the house, it was “an architect’s dream project,” he explains, referring to the fact that structurally, the house was very good, and the front half didn’t require major renovations at all. But as for the rest of the house, there was work to be done and room for Alter to flex his architectural prowess within a confined space.