This 1873 brick townhouse in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston was converted from a multi-unit apartment building back to a single-family home. The exterior was carefully restored, especially the detailed copperwork on the front roof, while in the rear CTA obtained permission from the Historic Commission to enlarge several windows to create Juliette balconies. The interior was transformed into a light-filled contemporary living space. The interior was completely gutted, and a new steel and open web truss structure inserted, which allowed CTA to maximize floor heights and create a dramatic four-story skylit atrium in the center of the house. A new stair and elevator core, illuminated from a skylight above, reach from the new ground floor to the roof deck. The basement level was excavated to create a multi-function space with 10’ ceilings, storage for 10 bicycles, 5 paddleboards, lots of storage, and a karaoke room. The main living space on the first floor puts the kitchen front and center, with the large dining table under the atrium. Various “perches” are scattered throughout the house, spaces designed for anyone to sit with a laptop to do work or homework. A multi-function space on the second floor will be a play room when the children are young and transition to other uses as the children age. A movie room is also set up as a bunk room, with the banquettes around the edge doubling up as beds for multiple children on sleepovers. The five bedrooms on the upper floors are all fairly modest. On the roof, a new deck with a built-in outdoor kitchen and a green roof provide additional recreation space for the family. Materials are simple and durable, with a palette of oak, white and gray, tied together with the concrete tile, a nod to the fact that the only original material at the start of the project was a badly damaged concrete tile floor, a piece of which is now framed in the renovated home. This project won two PRISM awards in 2019, and was featured in Boston Home Magazine, Spring 2018.
Photos by Jane Messinger