In Porter Square, a three-bedroom mansard for the ages

Home of the Week Cambridge
The home was built in 1872.
The home was built in 1872. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

8 Cogswell Ave., Cambridge 

Built in 1872 when fashionable Second Empire homes often had mansard roofs, this single-family home in Cambridge’s Porter Square neighborhood had a variation of an open floor plan before that design was a thing.

Its exterior is painted with bright colors, while the window frames provide a dark contrast. In 1982, the house underwent a makeover that left intact key aspects of the original. A small porch of three steps leads to the foyer, where a stairwell winds to the second floor on the left-hand side and a doorway beckons guests into the living room on the right.

Ceiling heights in this home are 10 feet, making rooms seem larger than their actual square footage. The living room features a built-in cabinet to the right of what was once the fireplace, and light streams in from a bump-out with four windows.

In the dining room you’ll find a chandelier and another bump-out with four windows that let in a flood of natural light. There is a direct connection to the kitchen, which has a counter with a small sink that can be used as a breakfast surface. Cabinets are dark wood, the counters are topped by laminate, and the appliances are stainless steel.

Off the dining room, a doorway leads to a wooden deck and then to a home office that measures about 208 square feet and includes a small half bath.

The bedrooms are on the second floor, which is also where the visual impact of the mansard roofline makes itself known — all of the windows are inset several inches into the sharply angled walls. Set at the rear of the home, the master suite is
composed of a bedroom with a large skylight and a dressing room that connects to both the bedroom and the master bath. A large white soaking tub is found in the master bath. With four closets, including the dressing room walk-in, there’s loads of storage in the master suite.

The two other bedrooms — one is currently set up as a quilting studio — are large and sunny and adjacent to a full bath.

The basement, which offers an additional 1,053 square feet of living space, features a drop ceiling, carpeted floors, and the laundry room

The deck overlooks the small, flat backyard, a one-vehicle carport, and parking for two more vehicles.

The listing agents are Lisa May and Lindsay Allison of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty. As of presstime, an offer has been accepted on this property. You can visit their website at

The details:

Style: Mansard Victorian
Year built: 1872; updated 1982
Square feet: 2,170
Bedrooms: 3
Baths: 2 full, 1 half
Sewer/water: Public
Taxes: $7,684 (2017)