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Balancing work, life, and play, as well as cooler and warmer tones was the theme for Julia Marsh Rabin’s tri-story new build.

When the architect and her husband were looking for a home in Beverly, Massachusetts, they couldn’t find anything that caught their attention. “Everything was too big or right on top of another home,” she recalls. “He recommended we buy land and build new.”

But even with the decision made, finding buildable land was another challenge. “We looked at a small lot that went straight up a granite hill,” she says. While the pair initially ruled it out, a frustrating six-month search led them back. “In Massachusetts, it’s all ledge or wetlands,” she says. “What I had seen elsewhere was extremely undesirable, and I had a vision we could do something [on that property].”

Onwards and Upwards

“Everything was a challenge,” says the architect. “Our first contractor passed away during construction. It was very sudden. We were still doing site work.” Then, the first drill blaster abandoned the site, which led to a multi-month delay, financial losses, and a lawsuit. 

“In the end, we recovered and got a beautiful house we love, but it was tough going,” she adds. 

Located on .26 of an acre and just one block from the beach, the cascading home spans three stories, each level featuring outdoor spaces and water views.

Work, Live, Play

The bottom floor is the most utilitarian with a three-car garage, office, mudroom, and guest room, while the top floors are for daily living. The kitchen and master suite are on the open-concept second floor above, while the third floor has an impressive four seasons roof deck.

Furthermore, each floor was designed with a differing palette. On the first floor, cool tones dominate, while as one explores further warm grey cabinets, dark wood floors, saffron, and blue prevail.

Semihandmade For All

Design by Julia Marsh Rabin; Photography by Ben Gebo

For a first-time Semihandmade customer, the architect went all in, using four different Semihandmade fronts throughout. “A friend of mine is an interior designer and mentioned the brand,” she says. “After doing this house, I don’t know if I’d recommend any other product than IKEA and Semihandmade. Semihandmade has the best range of fronts.”

On the first floor, she used the SSS Black Beaded fronts for the “massive mudroom and laundry room.” On the second floor, Semihandmade’s Supermatte Light Grey Shaker and Beaded Night Sky fronts are inviting, while homey Tahoe fronts are featured in the third floor kitchenette. 

Stylish Storage

“When you do more of a modern style, built-ins look cleaner,” she says. “On the main level, there are no closets except for my walk-in bedroom closet. Plus, we don’t have a traditional pantry. That’s why there is so much Semihandmade in the home. It’s clean and functions better.”

Mudroom space is plentiful with sections for him and her, plus even specified storage for their dog. Upstairs, the kitchen is both sleek and clutter-free thanks to floor-to-ceiling kitchen cabinets and plenty of drawers to conceal things like the family’s Thanksgiving turkey pan. To make the island highy efficient, under counter drawers were added. 

In this home, clever storage, varying site-inspired materials and colors, and timeless, modern style make it a stand-out. 


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