At home with Cathy Basrak and Tim Genis:
When Cathy Basrak’s South End kitchen flooded while she was playing at Tanglewood a few summers ago, it turned out to be fortuitous.
Not long before, Basrak, assistant principal viola for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, had married Tim Genis, BSO’s principal timpanist, who had moved into his new wife’s South End brownstone. Though comfortable in the home, they sorely lacked storage space. After the flood, they renovated the kitchen and the adjoining living room to better accommodate their needs.
They began by gutting the beleaguered kitchen and turning it into a modern room with stainless appliances, granite countertops, maple cabinets, and a wine fridge for Genis’s French and California collection.
Both like to cook, with Basrak doing the day-to-day meals and Genis the ‘‘extravagant meals,’’ since he attended local cooking classes before they were married, she says. Indian is among their favorites.
While renovating the kitchen, they also wired the adjacent living room for electronics. Then they added builtin wall units to store Genis’s 1,000 classical CDs and his symphony-quality sound and recording system, complete with high-end Bowers and Wilkins speakers, Krell audio and sound systems, and a plasma video screen.
His CD collection is ‘‘almost exclusively for work,’’ he explains. He uses the music to study upcoming pieces the symphony will perform.
Genis, 39, is completing his 12th year with the BSO, and Basrak, 27, her fifth. He also runs the percussion department at Boston University; she is an adjunct professor in the music department. He is originally from San Francisco, she from Chicago. Both came to Boston for the BSO.
Since the renovations, it seems change is what the couple specializes in: They’re expecting their first child in November. Then, a mere three months after the baby arrives, their new 3,000-square-foot post-and-beam barn-style home will be ready for occupancy in Lee, near Tanglewood, where they spend summers performing with the Pops and Symphony.
They will remain in the South End condo except for summers and ‘‘a little escape for holidays,’’ Basrak says. They plan on relocating a few pieces of furniture from this home, and selecting others from a storage unit loaded with items from Genis’s former Newton condo, which he now rents out.
During the drive to and from Western Massachusetts, the couple agrees they will most likely listen to jazz (his choice) and oldies (hers). Classical is largely for work.
The couple’s living room, where they spend much of their time when not working, is decorated with a mix of their old furniture, including Basrak’s plush sage-colored Ethan Allen couch and loveseat; Genis’s large ottoman reupholstered with fabric to match the room’s decor; and two russet leather chairs, one originally belonging to each but looking uncannily like a matching set.
‘‘We love it here,’’ says Genis, and as Basrak agrees, so does the couple’s beloved Samoyed, Lucy, who climbs onto ‘‘her’’ loveseat, adjusts the pillows with her paws, and settles down, looking out the window at the other South End brownstones. The home is nearly 100 years old, complete with knotty pine floors and two marble fireplaces.
An alcove off the living room contains mostly Genis’s furniture, including an 1842 French cabinet with a marble top, which he concedes he ‘‘probably devalued’’ when he cut out the back to accommodate stereo equipment. An antique lamp with a tassel shade sits on top, and an ornate gold mirror nearly fills one wall, placed there to make the space appear larger.
The second floor contains the master bedroom, with a rich maple set from Domain. It features a headboard and footboard with inlaid wood, a matching dresser with mirror, and a stately armoire. A window seat with individual cushions looks onto the street, and dotting the floor is a small Persian rug where Lucy sleeps at night, ignoring her nearby dog bed.
A guest room doubles as an office. It has a bed, a computer, a cozy red chair (‘‘Lucy’s chair while we work,’’ says Genis), and scuba diving equipment — a hobby they learned together and enjoy on trips to the Caribbean. One level up, a roof deck provides a place to barbecue and a lovely view of the Back Bay. They use it ‘‘when the weather cooperates,’’ Genis says.