More than a wonderful Andover home, here’s your chance to live inside a work of art: the Grieco House (1956), a rare offering designed by modernist master architect Marcel Breuer (1902-1981). While a student at the internationally renowned Bauhaus school, Breuer studied with artist Paul Klee (1879-1940). In this particular house, Breuer seems to bring Klee’s ideas of light, time, and space to life.
The entrance hall of the Grieco house is central to the bi-nuclear design (bedroom wing to the left, living area to the right) as the visitor’s eye is drawn through the open floor plan. Breuer literally links the indoors to the outdoors with fieldstone walls creating lines between in and out. Following Klee’s drawings, the pond in the front garden forms an infinity form with a patio channeling light into the house. All throughout the day, natural light suffuses the space from the walls of glass and windows creating photographic images indoors. The light reflected from the pond plays upon the ceilings and walls of the living room resembling a waterfall at times.
Breuer took the location Sunset Rock road as further inspiration, building the house on a rock, “oriented precisely on the cardinal directions”. He designed the living room to enjoy the setting sun while at the same time the sun’s rays fill into the lower level of the house lighting up the house through the staircase. Even the garage door manifests Klee’s drawings of the grid pattern, as he believed that the horizontal effect of a staggered grid pattern brought relaxation.
As for the infrastructure of the house: it is heated via hot-water radiant polished concrete floors, and there are radiant heated ceilings, with a Buderus boiler. The living and dining rooms cantilever over the lower garden. A fieldstone fireplace is flanked on one side by bookcases in the living room and forms a partial wall with the dining room, with a cooking grill on the dining and kitchen side. The current owners renovated the kitchen, and refurbished all the original woodwork in the house, including all of the Breuer-designed teak built-in cabinetry. There is a large pantry and laundry room on the other side of the kitchen. The sunroom is also heated by radiant. Each of the bedrooms on the main floor has sliding glass doors out to a terrace and custom built-in closets and cabinets. The hallway also has a built-in desk. The primary bedroom has a full en-suite bath. The baths feature impeccably maintained original tiles that fit completely with today’s modern style. An above-grade lower-level bedroom with a full bath is being used as a study. There’s a brutalist wine cellar and an attached heated two-car garage. The property is actually two lots at 81 and 83 Sunset Rock Rd. The house is built on 81 and enjoys the landscaped views over the lot 83.
Breuer took up the commission after Frank Lloyd Wright and the Grieco’s had a disagreement. He did not design many homes in Massachusetts, but we have been fortunate to be involved in the trade on the Robinson House in Williamstown, and now, with an easy commute to Boston, the Grieco House.
The current owners started a thorough restoration of the house, bringing the Breuer-designed cabinetry, most of the original windows, and other architectural elements of the house back to life.