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A Wellesley Family With Four Active Sons Builds a Guest Lodge and Sports Barn

By Michael McCarthy | November 30, 2020 | Home & Real Estate

The guest lodge’s main room reflects the homeowners’ favorite Vermont hotel.

When clients in Wellesley asked David Boronkay, the principal at Watertown-based Slocum Hall Design Group (, to create a guest lodge and a sports barn alongside their current home, he knew one of the big challenges for his team would be to maintain the architectural integrity and scale of the neighborhood and the property. Boronkay also wanted to create out-structures that related to the gambrel shingle-style home in look and feel, but wanted to add elements that made the new structures stand apart from the main house. For example, incorporating arched windows that break the cornice of the gambrel’s gable end, and barn- inspired touches to augment the aesthetic of the sports facility. This was no easy task, given the size of the new spaces: a 7,009-square-foot sports barn and a 3,560-square-foot lodge.

“We found it very important to site them on the lot in a way that didn’t feel imposing—specifically the barn, which is quite large,” says Boronkay. “We oriented the guest lodge perpendicular to the street to minimize its perceived size, and we located the barn at the rear of the property to minimize its scale.”

A deep navy blue grounds the room.

Boronkay says his firm’s mindset is flexibility. “Some people have a clear stylistic direction, while others need to better understand what their options are,” he says. “My personal aesthetic is more modernist; however, I love and respect older homes and take great pleasure in working in a more traditional palette. Many of our projects are updated versions of the architecture commonly found throughout the region, mixing in modern elements to elevate the design.” For this project, hoop dreams would become realized in the sports barn. The guest lodge features a small apartment, a garage that accommodates four cars with lifts and a great room designed as an homage to the clients’ favorite Vermont hotel.

Both buildings, notes Boronkay, relied heavily upon structural steel to manage the large, interrupted spans of space. Also, because of a high water table and the need for 12-foot ceilings in the basement of the sports barn, a heavily engineered foundation needed to be designed to manage ground water. “The foundation had to be designed as a ballast to allow the groundwater to flow around it,” he says.

A massive coffee table by Somerset Bay graces the guest lodge.

As gorgeous as the sports barn is, there’s no mistaking its purpose: pure enjoyment. There’s a full court for basketball, and a turf space lines the lower level, which is perfect for baseball pitching and batting practice. This level also has a locker room and two full bathrooms. Other than a chandelier in the entry hall by Circa (, the lighting for the sports barn is utilitarian, including Belfer ( wedge lumens to up-light the ceilings for a little drama to go along with the three-pointers and slam dunks.

In the guest lodge, the Slocum Hall team worked with the owners and interior designer Katie Rosenfeld ( to select wood for the massive beams and the nickel- gap shiplap ceiling, and designed the wainscot and millwork details—plus the wet bar. “Because the superstructure of the building is steel, we needed to find an elegant way to hide the massive structural elements,” says Boronkay, noting the elements were sheathed in dark-stained oak to contrast the cream- painted ceiling and rich blue wainscot.

The light-filled lodge kitchen.

For her part, Rosenfeld designed a ski-lodge motif; it’s now a comfortable space to watch football and entertain—it has the feeling of a retreat. “It’s always hard to make big, soaring new construction feel warm and inviting,” she says. “It takes a lot of furniture, layering and a lot of color and texture. In this case, the room is grounded in a deep navy blue, which makes it feel cozy. The goal was to make the scale and size of the furniture feel like it fit in the space.” A velvet sectional accommodates the whole family and their friends, and a dining-size coffee table by Somerset Bay ( offers plenty of space for beverages and snack bowls. The room also features custom hickory swivel chairs with Schumacher ( fabric and Lee Jofa ( pillows. A large leather ottoman invites family and guests to kick up their feet by the fireplace.

“My clients are thrilled with the results and tell me they’ve been getting a lot of use out of the space while hunkered down in the past several months,” says Boronkay. Of course, when the main functions of a space are play and relaxation, great memories will follow.

The 7,009-square-foot sports barn.


Guest lodge and sports barn

Wellesley, Mass.

Slocum Hall Design Group

Katie Rosenfeld


Custom kitchen cabinetry paint

Chandelier, guest lodge

Photography by: Read McKendree