The old Engine 7 Firehouse in Kendall Square was lovingly renovated and converted into the Kendall Hotel by local artist Charlotte Forsythe and her husband, local architect and developer Gerald Fandetti. After two years of painstaking work and construction, the historic–but modern–boutique hotel they’d envisioned became a reality–and a family business in historic properties. Their son, Nicholas, is now the manager of the Kendall; son JJ’s art adorns the hotel; and their daughter, Briar Rose, owns and oversees the Willowdale Estate and the Mary Prentiss Inn.
Both graduates of the Rhode Island School of Design, Charlotte and Gerald have infused the beloved old building with an artistic sensibility–filling a well-loved work of art with…well-loved works of art. You can come to Cambridge for the culture and get a good dose of unique and colorful American folk art before you even set foot outside.
The lobby is home to a wealth of talent. “Circus,” a Chris Roberts-Antieau work of textile applique, is draped proudly over the upper lobby couch. It is joined by Richard Merkin’s “Hotel” and John Whipple’s “Parade.” Whipple’s technique of building up a piece “with charcoal, paint, and collage elements” while allowing qualities of the underlying wood to show through captures the spirit of creative restoration that has overtaken this old firehouse. The lobby also houses one of Concord, MA artist Richard Dunbrack’s whimsical clocks” pieced together with “significant period artifacts and found objects.”
Another Dunbrack piece takes up sidebar duty in the Rooftop Retreat, and prints by celebrated New Englanders Leonard Baskin and John Imber contribute to the charm of the Kendall’s guest rooms.
Finally, there is, of course, family art at the Kendall; Charlotte’s ceramic work is joined by JJ’s collage pieces, including his “Firehouse Machine.”