Original Designs

Introduction | Family and Early Life | At “The Tech” | A Woman-Owned Firm | Original Designs | “Renovising” | Howe and Her Community | Interactive Map | Works Cited | Other Links and Resources

While much of Howe’s work involved renovating or “renovising” existing homes, throughout her career Howe and her firm designed dozens of original buildings. Her mix of influences—from the Beaux Arts/classical styles she’d studied at the Museum of Fine Arts and MIT, the traditional Colonial architecture of Cambridge (and its Revival in the early 20th century), and the homes and buildings she’d seen on both her grand tour and on her frequent travels through New England—creating comfortable, welcoming, and easy-to-navigate living and working spaces. Below are just a few examples of the original homes that Howe (and her collaborators) designed in Cambridge.

1 Kennedy Road, Cambridge.
  • 1 Kennedy Road: Howe’s very first home design, on Kennedy Road immediately next door to the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House (later headquarters to the Cambridge Historical Society), dates from 1894. It was a project for a newly-married family friend. While the home’s siting, gambrel roof, and interior layout certainly show the marks of an unseasoned architect, with further Howe renovations in 1913 it has stood the test of time and still exists today.
  • 15 Fayerweather Street (1916): One of Howe and Manning’s first joint projects. This Colonial Revival home, with its gabled roof and other Revival touches, were combined with an uncrowded interior that took into account contemporary needs.
  • 4 Grey Gardens West (1922): Expressly designed for an independent, modern woman to live in (including a servants’ wing), this home designed by Howe and Manning eschewed the requirements of family living. The master bedroom had a private study attached, spacious first-floor rooms for entertaining, and a glassed-in porch offering a view of the garden.