mid-century modern in weston 04/2014


It was a pleasure to be asked to restore this Weston gem, designed by Henry Hoover, one of New England’s modernist pioneers. The interior finishes and systems are being updated while respecting the integrity of the original vision.


After graduating from Harvard’s GSD in 1926, Hoover won the Sheldon and Robinson Traveling Fellowship, spending two years in Europe, sketching landscapes and buildings that caught his eye. After returning, he worked for twelve years at Fletcher and Steele, becoming Steele’s draftsman. Known for his fine draftsmanship, he worked on the gardens of Naumkeag. The garden’s iconic stair, shown below, climbs the natural topography.  Hoover focused his residential practice in the Boston suburbs of Lincoln, Wellesley and Weston. His own house was built in 1937, a year before Walter Gropius' own iconic modern house was built.


Twenty years passed before Hoover built this home in 1959. His style had grown away from the strict modernism of his early work, and became more integrated with the local climate and landscape. The carport is separated and a full story below the entry to the house. In a nod to Naumkeag, the stairs lead from the carport to the front door exactly following the contours of the land. Only after entering the house and going up more steps does Hoover’s trademark magnificent view emerge, with large windows facing due south. The house appears to rest on the land with little disturbance. Aside from a small terrace to the south, the land has a natural feel with native shrubs and ferns nestled within the stone outcroppings. He also incorporated elements of west coast modernism, like natural wood beams and siding. Strict flat roofs of earlier homes give way to sloped roofs that follow the contour of the land.




Written by: Colin Flavin AIA                                                                                                             

Flavin Architects