Own the home of the man who designed the MOS Musical Stairs

Chris Janney’s work combines architecture, light and sound, and he tested some of his designs at his own home in Lexington.


Photos of Justin and Victoria Anfuso by Anfuso Imaging

75 Kendall Road, Lexington
Price: $2,500,000
Size: 6,348 square feet
Bedroom: 5
Bathroom: 4 full, 1 partial

You’ve probably encountered Christopher Janney’s work if you’ve been to the Museum of Science. Have you ever run up and down the musical stairs there, creating a cacophony of sounds? This is his work. Janney is an MIT and Princeton educated architect and jazz musician who combines his two disciplines in his design work. The result is a design work that combines light, sound and color for spaces that feel like art.

Janney also tests most of his design work at his home in Lexington, where he has lived since 1989. But he didn’t limit his exploration to just pen and paper sketches, which he made in his greenhouse studio. He tested his ideas on the house itself. Over the last three decades he has left his mark on the property: rebuilding the greenhouses at the back, connecting the garage to the house, adding a second floor and building a studio and terrace. He added his own touch with each addition, experimenting with curved shapes and glass, which he incorporated into his other work. In doing so, he transformed this 1929 farmhouse into a whimsical structure reminiscent of his design work for the Children’s Museum.

Wherever you turn, the design elements will surprise you: colored glass, geometric cut-outs, glass walls and curved lines make traditional living spaces such as the kitchen or living room something very special. Small touches like glazed rooms in the shape of a nautilus or circular cutouts on the kitchen cabinets give the home a futuristic vibe, while an abundance of hardwoods and windows keep the space light and airy.

In addition to five bedrooms (including a master suite with custom built-ins and a circular window overlooking the 3-acre property and nearby nature reserve), this home also features an underground recording studio. Walk down the spiral staircase (surrounded by crimson glass) to the soundproof room where Janney composed tunes herself. There are also two spacious greenhouses at the back (4,000 sq ft and 2,500 sq ft) that are open to even more uses, including as an in-laws’ apartment. Janney himself uses it as a shop/storage room and as a design studio where he builds his prototypes. “I have a good idea at two in the morning, I can go out and at least sketch it and develop it. (Then I) go back to sleep and wake up in reality. I have something else to look at,” he says. “It was great for that.”

Janney now plans to split his time between New York City and Los Angeles, where his adult children live and work as musicians and video editors (“I like to think the house and estate influenced her career,” he jokes). In doing so, he must say goodbye to his home and open the door for another family who hopefully see the same opportunity in the property as he does. “I don’t think the house is for everyone, but I think it’s the right place for the right kind of family,” he says. “It’s my third child. I have to let it go out into the world and be what it needs to be.”

For more information, contact Donna Marcantonio, Petrowsky Jones Group of Compass, 75kendall.com.

8 Kendall Road

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2 Kendall Road

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Kendall Rd 7

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Kendall Rd 5

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