Light in the Attic

Noel Clarke, of 2C Design Studio, recently transformed the neglected attic of his Victorian house in Somerville, Mas­sachusetts, into an immaculate modern work space. Rather than bury the room’s past under layers of Sheetrock, he integrated most of its existing features. “There are ways to make interventions that develop a dialogue between old and new so they feel like they are both part of some continuous history of the space,” Clarke says.

Every modification provides clues to the attic’s former incarnation. Sheets of bent plywood curve along the slope of the pitched roof and expose patches of the old timber beams underneath. Pine slats on one of the two chimneys and the gable wall are spaced to show traces of the original structures. And a coat of glossy white paint doesn’t mask the water-damaged rough patches of the flooring. The materials, mostly purchased at the Home Depot, were relatively cheap, but the true cost was Clarke’s own labor: it took him five years to complete what he calls his “sweat equity project.”

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