Tilton’s Living Room

By: Bryan Geary

Gus Raymond ’22 was sitting in Knowles Lobby early in the school year, doing homework with his headphones in. Though he had every intention of minding his own business, when he saw his Head of School, Kate Saunders, in a meeting with a group of people nearby, he couldn’t help but attempt to see if he could discern the topic of conversation.

“It ended up being about the redesign of Knowles Lobby,” says Raymond with a smile. “While I was listening, I started having ideas and took a bunch of notes on my computer.”

When the topic eventually came up with Saunders, he says the two shared a laugh. After the laughs came a suggestion that immediately caught Raymond’s attention: why not make this your Legacy Project?

“How do I make that happen?” he recalls asking immediately. Legacy Projects are a rite of passage for students, both 12th graders and post-graduates, in their final year at Tilton; an opportunity to merge academic and personal interests into something that leaves a mark on the institution itself. What could be more appropriate for such a project, he thought to himself, than contributing to the revival of one of the most cherished spots on campus?

Fast-forward to the spring, and Raymond’s work is coming to life right before his eyes. The project began during Tilton’s March break, featuring all new flooring, furniture, lighting, and paint, among other things. Each decision, he says, is an intricate part of the effort to modernize the space while also bringing it back to its historic origins.

“Before I was allowed to do anything, Mrs. Saunders gave me a stack of papers to read,” he says. “I had to learn all of the history, down to all the different types of windows that were used.”

That context provided important perspective to Raymond, who recognizes the place of Knowles Lobby as a focal point in the residential experience at Tilton, and manifested itself in all of the details of the project. From the color choices to the faucets, it all came back to a familiar word: home.

“Even looking at little things like sinks and soap dispensers — why would we have an automatic sink when no one has an automatic sink in their home?” he asks. “So why would we want that in a dorm?”

As his final year at Tilton comes to a close, he’s tried to soak in the process and consider the impact that it will have on the future of the school.

“When we look at Knowles Hall, it’s not a new chapter. It’s turning back the pages and rewriting the script,” he says. “I guess, at the end of the day, my Legacy Project was to create the best living room I possibly could. And I hate to toot my own horn, but I think we did it.”