Home of the Week: A Braintree house that’s traditional on the outside, visionary on the inside

Buying Fall House Hunt Home of the Week Braintree
The dining room features a chandelier that mimics a honeycomb and fish wallpaper. Designer: Michelle Cortizo/Photographer: Kerry Howell Photography

145 Oak St., Braintree

Style Cape
Year built 1935
Square feet 1,912
Bedrooms 3
Baths 1 full, 1 half
Sewer/water Public
Taxes $5,729 (2020)

For this 85-year old Colonial in Braintree, the year that counts is 2019. That’s when interior designer Michelle Cortizo persuaded the owner to give her wide latitude as she reenvisioned rooms in this stately South Shore home.

The exterior retains a classic suburban color scheme: white. But Cortizo reached for an entirely different palette in the living room and kitchen, where the handmade subway tile backsplash is shades of green highlighted by emerald displayed in a herringbone pattern.

A curving concrete walkway passes underneath a mature oak tree before arriving at a covered front porch supported by a pair of columns. Stepping inside, you get your first glimpse of the design flair: a short hallway papered in dark gold birch trees with a charcoal background. Ahead is the central stairway, which has white balusters and risers, a dark handrail, and a newel post topped with a brass pineapple original to the house. Flooring here and throughout most of the house is planked white oak with an English chestnut stain.

Turning right takes one past a small windowed nook and then into the part of the house where Cortizo waved her designer’s wand. Although not an open floor plan, the arched wall between the kitchen and dining room is wide enough to make the two spaces nearly seamless.

To the left is the kitchen, with dark Vermont soapstone counters, an abundance of the green English-made tiles, and stainless-steel appliances. The stove is electric. A double stainless-steel sink sits underneath a window, and undermount lights line the upper maple cabinetry, which is stained a light gray. The flooring is planked hardwood, and the room is large enough to accommodate a circular table with seating for two. There are sconces flanking the window and a large lantern above the table.

Cortizo’s design won a 2019 Silver Prism Award in the kitchen renovation under $125,000 category from the Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Boston and was featured in Globe Magazine.

In the adjacent formal dining room, Cortizo settled on another unexpected design element when she chose dark wallpaper highlighted with colorful fish by famed Italian artist Piero Fornasetti. The room has traditional raised-panel wainscot original to the house painted a light gray and a gold chandelier that resembles the honeycombs of a beehive.

Off the kitchen, there’s a second entrance with a rounded exterior door that serves as a mudroom with a bench and coat hooks. Another door leads to the unfinished basement, where the laundry is located.

Returning to the front of the house, there is a half bath underneath the stairwell with a white porcelain pedestal sink, wainscot painted a dark blue, and geometric wallpaper. Just beyond is an L-shaped sitting area/office with sliders that overlook the flat and fenced backyard. The corner lot totals 0.38 of an acre.

The far left side of the first floor features two connected sitting rooms. From the hallway, French doors open into the formal living room, which has a white wooden mantel for the working wood fireplace amid walls painted and papered a rich blue. A bow window offers a view of the backyard, and a second window adds more daylight. The fireplace is flanked by built-in shelving with a rounded top. A den/entertainment room flows out from the living room and shares the same rich blue color. It’s in the front of the house and has three windows.

The three bedrooms and the full bath are on the second floor. The spacious 196-square-foot owner bedroom is by itself on one side, and its gabled dormers create an almost Gothic feel. Four other windows keep the space bright.

The two other bedrooms are roughly equal in size, and each has a pair of windows. One has a built-in dresser common to Cape-style homes.

The full bathroom was updated in 2017 and has a black-and-white porcelain tile floor that ends with built-in storage next to a dormered window. White subway tiles line the shower — which sits behind clear-glass doors — as well as the wall above the single vanity, which is topped by marble and has a wood base painted black.

Meredith Kiep of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Warren Residential in Boston has the listing. As of press time, an offer with contingencies had been accepted for the property.

See more photos of the home below:

Follow John R. Ellement on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Send listings to [email protected]. Please note: We do not feature unfurnished homes and will not respond to submissions we won’t pursue. Subscribe to our newsletter at and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @globehomes.