The 1860 Boston brownstone was converted back to a single-family home.
Lined with white oak, the innovative wet bar instantly transforms the front parlor into an ideal entertainment space.
New steel-framed windows give the back parlor the feel of a Parisian atelier.
The room’s wealth of texture includes a sculptural metal Jieldé floor lamp and a bold Merida carpet topped with a hide area rug.
The sparkly Ochre pendant is a modern twist on chandeliers of the past. A hide rug by Yerra references scallop shells, playing to the wife’s love of the ocean.
Tom Rickman’s engaging landscape gives the front parlor—the first room visitors see—a burst of blue sky.
Meticulous planning allowed for additional shelving and cabinetry in the family room, where Eero Saarinen’s Womb Chair from Knoll is a popular seat.
A traditional flight of stone steps leads to the front door of the classic 1880s Boston brownstone.
The contemporary vibe is played up with an Andy Warhol poster above a streamlined console.
Original brick walls and wood ceiling beams were preserved throughout the former industrial space. Cold-rolled steel with a black patina finish and reclaimed heart pine comprise the staircase, which has cantilevered elements that make it appear to float.
The second level holds a smaller seating area, grounded by a Paola Lenti rug, for intimate conversation.
The powder room’s sculptural concrete sink partners with another of Adelman’s light fixtures.
Rachel von Roeschlaub Maniatis’s acrylics on LP records add a dash of color to the media room.
Roomy, but cozy, the swiveling sofa adds a bold punch of color to the master bedroom.
In the master bath, custom wood millwork embellishes the concrete trough sink and warms the room’s pale palette.
A bright red chair and Marjorie Minkin’s vivid artwork add energy to the serene upstairs living room without detracting from the stunning view visible beyond a generous terrace with plantings by Winston Flowers.
The kitchen’s tapering metal island is inspired by midcentury iconography and fabricated by metal artisan Bartek Konieczny. Konieczny also crafted the island’s movable light fixture.
A floating wall forms the guest room headboard, where three photographic works by CE Morse hang above the bed.
Lindsey Adelman’s Agnes chandelier hovers above the B&B Italia chairs and dining table.
Interior designer Jenn Sanborn chose to keep the entryway’s existing wallpaper, then introduced vintage pieces both to add a layer of interest and to offer a preview of the home’s casual English country vibe.
In the master bedroom, a luxuriously upholstered bed and geometric grasscloth wallcovering replaced a spartan four-poster and bland painted walls.
The master bedroom’s fireplace, like the others in the house, was converted from gas to wood burning.
Wainscoting of Italian tile adorns the niche that holds the new freestanding tub.
A soffit was extended to provide the great room’s new barrel ceiling a place to land. It also allowed the designer to inch the sofa forward by placing a thin table behind it.
Wall paneling cures multiple ills in the great room by giving the small firebox more presence while minimizing the impact of the television.
A fresh finish was all the perimeter cabinets needed.
The island, however, was enlarged and reborn in the image of a European range.
A built-in wet bar adds versatility to the breakfast nook.
An antique hall rack hits a traditional note in the entryway.
Stripping, painting, and reupholstering the dining room chairs lent the beautiful but staid mahogany dining set a whole new look.
The antique pool table, turned chair, and Scottish tartan rug reference a country manor, but the purple walls, upholstery, and mantelpiece disrupt any presumptions.
The sitting room got new life as a billiards room.
Nearby, the wife’s dressing room features custom closets and a marble-topped island; crystal chandeliers, refitted with shades from Blanche Field, were relocated from the hallway.
Tress-Balsbaugh and her client found inspiration for the living room in photos of the Paris apartments of well-known designers. “That juxtaposition of old and new was something I was really drawn to,” the homeowner says.
The roof deck features discreet areas for dining, cooking, and lounging, all with spectacular views of the city.
In the master bedroom, Koto wood panels and a leather Christian Liaigre bed create a decidedly contemporary edge.
In the music room, simple furniture forms and subtle colors prevent the abundance of architectural detail from overwhelming the space.
A marble floor was removed in favor of a warmer floor of wood laid in a herringbone pattern.
Contemporary club chairs and a geometric rug bring the library into the twenty-first century. Rather than remove any of the room’s elaborate woodwork, the designer had it ebonized, allowing it to recede into the background.
The streamlined contemporary kitchen on the fourth floor is adjacent to a comfortable media area and just steps away from the bi-level roof deck.
White paint transforms the home’s beautiful but somber period woodwork. The beauty of the original mahogany can still be appreciated in the varnished newel post and stair rail, however.
Designer Carolina Tress-Balsbaugh’s lighten-it-up approach is apparent the moment one crosses the threshold.
Designed by Tress-Balsbaugh, the Caesarstone-topped dining table creates a quiet focal point in an otherwise ornate room. The glitter of the original crystal chandelier is likewise subdued with a shade by Blanche Field.
In the stairwell, a portrait of the wife of the original owner peers from behind a cascade of contemporary light globes from John Pomp Studios.
A free-floating staircase separates the kitchen from the magnificent, glass-walled study. Subtle shades of gray and brown on the island countertop and in the stools provide unity between the kitchen and the steel and wire railings of the stairway as well as with the softer interior of the wood-paneled bookshelves in the study.
A hidden panel in the study opens to reveal a computer work station, lacquered in the owner’s favorite orange hue.
The powder room features custom wallpaper with the text of an ancient Greek letter hand-illustrated by Brooklyn artist Katie Merz.
The guest bedroom, too, takes advantage of a view through one of the tall exterior windows, whose finely arched peak is echoed in the opening with a glass railing frosted for privacy.
A large door masquerading as a wall when open, can be swung shut to block noise in the living room from reaching the rest of the home.
Light pours into the living room from the original windows of what was once the Boston College High School auditorium, casting a warm glow on the hot-rolled steel used for the fireplace and mantel.
Japanese Shou-Sugi-Ban pyrography brings out the rich grain in the wood paneling surrounding the study, and a comfortable reading nook takes advantage of the deep wells of the original windows of the historic building.
Hidden appliances and the absence of cabinets around the range keep the kitchen uncluttered and in thematic harmony with the clean lines in the rest of the home.
A glass-and-steel wall allows light, but not noise from downstairs, into the balcony-like master bedroom.
A collection of pendants hung at various heights descends from the twenty-two-foot ceiling to illuminate the dining room. The owner’s Colonial-style chairs are just unfussy enough to play well with the home’s crisp, modernistic design.
In the master bath, textured black, hexagonal tile creates prisms with the light from fixtures that hide in the shower’s tray ceiling.
Defiant of the constraints of space, the staircase seems to pierce the glass wall of the study, integrating two disparate design elements while providing additional shelf space. The couch in the middle of the room can accommodate a pair of readers, head to foot.
A stone backed sculptural tub.
Custom bedding from Muse Bespoke adds another luxurious layer to the upholstered bed in the master suite.
Discreet LED lighting helps underscore the master bath’s quality craftsmanship, which includes a double vanity spanning the entire length of the wall.
The powder room features a Corian sink, also designed by Perez, backed with Fantasy Black Quartzite.
Architect Adolfo Perez designed the kitchen’s steel hood and the shelf beneath it to boost efficiency. Corian boxes—one a knife holder, the other a nest for oils and vinegars—support the latter.
The designer used ivory leather to re-cover the vintage chairs that surround the breakfast room’s table from Axel Vervoordt in Belgium.
The custom dining table is made from reclaimed American walnut. Below: In the study, de Santaren teams a desk of his design with a vintage Dunbar chair he nabbed on 1stdibs.
A bounty of built-in cabinetry provides a display area for treasures as well as books.
The study’s vintage Arne Norell chairs, discovered in Antwerp, give the owners a perfect perch for contemplating their eye-catching light sculpture.
The Santa Teresa wool window sheers hail from Muse Bespoke in Chicago, de Santaren’s sister’s company.
A sitting area in the living room is a minimalist’s dream with its 1930s Jules Leleu chairs.
The living room’s hearthside sitting area provides a prominent place for a painting from the owners’ collection.
A vignette in the foyer foreshadows the home’s refined aesthetic.
Modern steel doors in the foyer and the passageway to the kitchen are, says designer Manuel de Santaren, “a nod to some of the architectural details we saw in Belgium during a shopping trip for furnishings and antiquities.”
The designer chose two brass bedside lamps, but opted for different tables to throw off the symmetry; two stacked navy-blue trunks sit on one side, and a single trunk fabricated from stainless steel, wood, and leather on the other.
Favreau had some fun in the kitchen, punching up the existing cabinets with blue electrician’s tape.
A well-placed sideboard delineates the kitchen/dining room from the living space, and does triple-duty as a bar and storage unit.
In the dining room, Favreau contrasted a black granite table with midcentury retro chairs upholstered in a cocoa-colored tweed.
Designer Steven Favreau likes to mix and match. Here, he blends periods (birdcage chairs are a modern foil for an antique grandfather’s clock) and price points: “The room represents a range from $19 Ikea light fixtures to an $8,000 sofa,” he says, “and it all looks luscious.”
The family room reflects the spare aesthetic of the parlors, but in a more casual way. In the adjacent dining area, vintage leather chairs surround a sleek white table.
A mix of materials and textures, all in the palest of hues, creates a restful master bath.
The master bedroom’s vintage Karl Springer bed and Knoll loveseat sit on a soft rug of silk and wool.
The tall stairwell makes a perfect gallery space.
The palette was deepened to include darker grays and tans in the comfortable media room.
The clean-lined Bulthaup kichen works equally well whether the wife is indulging her own love of cooking or supervising the caterer at one of the couple’s frequent parties.
The family room reflects the spare aesthetic of the parlors, but in a more casual way. In the adjacent dining area, vintage leather chairs surround a sleek white table.
The owners’ art collection provides the home’s color.
The grand Alexander Parris staircase illustrates the fluidity of design, movement, and circulation that was so important to the homeowners.
Builder Cafco Construction Management and architect Pete Lackey opened access to the attic, creating a mesmerizing view of the skylight at the top of the stairs.
Interior designer Manuel de Santaren’s intent was to create a calm, blank canvas for the homeowners’ extraordinary collection of art and midcentury furnishings. In the back parlor, light-filtering window treatments contribute to that plan.
Marble tiles in a calming wave design cover the end wall of the husband’s bath.
The inviting reading corner is outfitted with an armchair, ottoman, and lamp from Holly Hunt. The Stark carpet was selected for its antique look.
Leo’s Luxe Linens, a Phillip Jeffries wallcovering with a hint of metallic, warms up the master bedroom, while pillows covered in a bright Quadrille fabric inject a splash of color.
The powder room is clad in a Phillip Jeffries wallcovering. The Briolette Glass vessel sink atop the painted vanity is by Kohler.
The office has built-in storage for books and mementoes while also leaving room for a set of prints by Jonathan Borofsky, a sculptor and printmaker in Ogunquit, Maine. A soft Stark carpet makes work more enjoyable, as does the Cardan office chair.
A custom quilt from Denyse Schmidt Quilts and a stash of pillows in the daughter’s bedroom go a long way in making bedtime happy.
To ensure plenty of seating in the dining area, Elms teamed the banquette with Elana chairs from the Bright Chair Company.
A waterfall edge on the kitchen counter is an elegant touch, as are the glass tiles along the backsplash, but, equipped with a full range of hidden organizational features, the room is also functional.
“A walnut ceiling provides a cool transition to the living room,” explains interior designer Dee Elms. Small details, like the silver base on the custom ottoman, bring lightness and sparkle to the setting. Atop a Hellman-Chang Xie cabinet, even the TV gains stature. And although, says Elms, “No one ever tires of the view,” motorized sheers afford privacy when desired.
The prints lining the hall to the central living area are by Pennsylvania artist Emil Lukas.
The reconfigured foyer grew chicer with the addition of a limestone tiled floor, Venetian plastered walls, and a coffered wood ceiling. Smaller in footage, there’s still ample room for a cast-resin-framed mirror, a custom console and small Holly Hunt bench.
A ficus from Winston Flowers echoes both a fluted column and the circular windows.
Woven-backed Gustavian chairs and a French limestone floor give the space a garden-like feel.
Interior designer Susan Reddick created three seating areas in sync with the rhythms of the three arched doors and skylights.
Grand as it looks, the pavilion is perfectly scaled to fit its surroundings.
Night and day, visitors are drawn by the rhythms of this garden pavilion’s lattice-like layering of architectural elements.
A built-in desk and a Ralph Pucci chair and lamp add the finishing touches to the son’s bedroom.
The Ralph Pucci bench adds a pop of color.
The master bedroom is a soothing oasis with artwork symbolic of the couple’s interests: floral for Beauchemin, ocean waves for Grassi, a sailor.
Innovations such as a rolling kitchen island make wise use of space.
A bird’s eye view of the living room from the third level.
A hallway on the main floor, flanked by rolling walnut doors and anigre veneer panel railings, gives way to an open-tread, oak-and-steel staircase.
Designer Lucie Beauchemin installed sheer curtains that filter in light even when drawn.
Architect Guy Grassi’s brick-and-glass design pays tribute to the adjacent row of historic homes, yet pushes the envelope of sleek, modern architecture.
A cozy book loft featuring floor-to-ceiling built-in shelves overlooks a living area with eighteen-foot windows that flood the space with sunlight.
The four-story, nineteenth-century Back Bay townhouse, converted
to apartments in the 1960s, has been restored as a single-family home.
The living room features two custom-designed brushed-iron and silver-leaf coffee tables, a leather daybed, a crescent sofa, and a glazed mosaic tile fireplace.
In the dining room, an antique mirror and twin sconces draw the eye to the cerused-oak sideboard.
With its mother-of-pearl wall tiles and a hammered-metal console, the entrance foyer sets the eclectic tone of the home’s interior design.
Appliances hide behind the cerused finish of the cabinetry.
The kitchen opens to the breakfast nook and a casual sitting area.
Cassina leather Göteborg chairs and a Ralph Pucci walnut and glazed-ceramic breakfast table create a comfortable breakfast nook that is set into a light-filled alcove window.
One of the two guest bedrooms features a hammered-metal headboard from Mexico and a South African metal beadwork chandelier.
The daughter’s bedroom is a riot of colors (reds and pinks are her favorites) and circles.
A reading nook in the hallway features a tree-like bookcase.
A second guest bedroom pairs a vintage chair with a contemporary lacquered-wood four-poster bed.
The textured silk wallcovering, a white plaster chandelier, floor-to-ceiling curtains, and a color palette of creamy blues and whites give the master bedroom a serene, elegant feel.
The family room’s reproduction oak plank desk is big enough for the entire family to use.
A novel sculptural swing is the focal point of the fourth-floor family room, which opens to an expansive patio.
The walls of a small powder room wear colorful tiles and Trove’s picturesque Fuoco wallcovering.
A guest room with a lively palette is a favorite with the owners’ nieces. "I chose a strong blue for the headboards to help anchor the space," says Carter. The appealing bedding is from Bloomingdale’s, while the custom bedskirts are from Martin Lawrence Bullard. The Hickory Chair chest nestled between the beds houses clothes or extra blankets.
Upholstered walls enhance the master bedroom’s coziness and mute the sounds of the city. "I wanted the room to feel like an elegant cocoon," says the designer.
A club chair from Gregorius Pineo makes a choice spot for reading. The fetching painting is from Webster & Company.
A set of Vaughan sconces and a stylish mirror pick up on the faux-bois wallpaper in the powder room.
Having been previously renovated, the spacious kitchen primarily required cosmetic attention. Valances in a tailored Kravet fabric and sleek pendants by Visual Comfort give the space a fresh look. To accommodate his clients’ request for greater efficiency and comfort, Carter modified the island before flanking it with a parade of inviting Hickory Chair barstools.
In keeping with the husband’s wishes for a dash of the modern, Carter chose an attention-getting painting-Didactic Method of Elenchus, by Edward Lentsch-from the Lanoue Gallery in Boston, for the serene living room. The welcoming club chairs by Rose Tarlow are dressed in a Cowtan & Tout fabric, while the sofa wears a neutral Jane Churchill fabric. An antique desk set cleverly in the bay window provides a sunny work area.
An ornate Baroque mirror from Minton-Spidell is a memorable foil to the living room’s classic mantel. The gray-blue for the interior of the shelves was chosen to echo the blue of the Lentsch painting on the opposite wall.
The adjacent entry hall holds a gilded stool from Rose Tarlow clad in a dreamy Jim Thompson fabric that echoes the striking colors of the art. The candlestick lamps are from Dessin Fournir.
No ordinary foyer, this one includes a Donald De Lue sculpture by the window and antique Foo Dogs atop the mantle.
The antique sideboard hails from Alexander Westerhoff in Essex, Massachusetts. "These aren’t wide rooms. The sideboard is a perfect size," Carter notes. Velvet drapes and distressed-velvet dining chairs ramp up the luxe factor.
A stunning mirror from Donghia and a Murano-glass chandelier add sparkle to the gleaming paneling of the dining room’s walls and ceiling. The antique sideboard hails from Alexander Westerhoff in Essex, Massachusetts. "These aren’t wide rooms. The sideboard is a perfect size," Carter notes. Velvet drapes and distressed-velvet dining chairs ramp up the luxe factor.
Designer Stephanie Sabbe created the graphic headboard.
The new kitchen is bright and efficient. The dining room’s Robert Abbey chandelier makes a striking contrast to the warm wood table.
The living and dining rooms are one, with a comfortable, eclectic mix of furnishings chosen for visual and textural interest.
A few modern moves make all the difference in this townhouse transformation. In the living room, a log trough adds an artistic as well as functional touch to the fireplace wall.
The Lio wall sconces in the master bath are by -Vistosi. Birkerts had the curtain made from Knoll Luxe’s -Millicent drapery fabric.
The Origami Wood wallcovering is a dynamic backdrop for the Parallel Bed with integral nightstands from Design Within Reach. The Helix pendant light fixtures are by Bec Brittain.
In the guest room, wall lamps from Urban Electric flank an upholstered headboard from Ligne Roset.
A lemon-yellow four-arm candelabrum from Dunes & Duchess in the guest room is an unexpected touch.
Hammered-gold wallpaper on the ceiling of the dining area adds texture and warmth to the room without being glitzy.
Ligne Roset’s sculptural Rewrite Desk is paired with the Clutch Dining Chair by Blu Dot in the children’s room; twin trundle beds wear a textured aquamarine fabric from Kirby Design.
The midcentury aesthetic is in full swing in the living room, where a lamp by Serge Mouille stands behind Ligne Roset’s Feng sectional by Didier Gomez and the Tati sofa table by Broberg & Ridderstråle from Asplund.
A colorful backsplash from Ann Sacks brightens the kitchen as do the brass pendant lights, with a black patinated exterior, by Tom Dixon.
A photograph by Massimo Listri of the Strahov Library in Prague is a nod to the clients’ Czech roots and a rococo counterpoint to the apartment’s clean lines.
The clients’ books and collections are displayed on the Ubiqua shelving system by Porada.
The Friday Lounge Chair by Zeitraum stands on an abstract, hand-knotted silk rug from Fort Street Studio.
The TV "floats" on a sleek stand that lets the homeowners watch from any number of vantage points but never interrupts the views of downtown Boston. A multi-arm, raw-brass light fixture by Apparatus Studio hovers over the Knowlton Brothers dining table (custom-painted in Benjamin Moore’s Mexicana) and vintage Edward Wormley for Dunbar chairs.
Pilgrimage, a wall sculpture by Heather Allen Hietala, speaks to the homeowners’ love of the outdoors.
Eero Saarinen’s Womb Chair turns a corner into a -mini-sanctuary.
The playful nursery sports an African motif.
A painting by Michael Hoffman adds a spark of color to the dining area.
Designer Kristen Rivoli took cues from Kathy Soles’s vivid painting Deep Water to form the palette for the living room and dining area. The homeowners’ own discoveries, like the gold and jade Thai vessel on the coffee table, bring a personal touch to the space.
The sleek living room has a contemporary slate fireplace.
The daughter’s bedroom sings with color.
The while the master bedroom has a neutral palette.
The dining room holds a Saarinen table and chairs.
A Jonathan Adler desk and a Kartell acrylic chair.
The designers cleverly chose a polished steel base for an Indian marble sculpture in the dining area.
In the master bedroom, built-ins fabricated by Herrick & White Architectural Woodworkers showcase the custom bed and create a home for a collection of pottery. The upholstered chair and table along the window are by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.
Bentley sconces and luxe upholstery up the glamour.
Custom vanities offer ample master bath storage.
The kitchenâs coral-colored tiled backsplash is in keeping with the homeâs concise palette.
Dramatic Linea chandeliers by Boyd Light illuminate the open living-room area where seating, including a leather-covered accent chair by Holly Hunt, surrounds a versatile Madam X cocktail table. The sofa is covered in a taupe Larsen fabric that wears as beautifully as it looks.
In an intimate corner, oversize horizontal stripes on Bauen chairs play to a graphic cowhide leather Alhambra rug by Kyle Bunting.
A freestanding tub takes pride of place in the master bathroom
Stephen Mueller’s buoyant watercolors, from Boston’s Obelisk Gallery, hang by the living room’s new fireplace.
The entry sports a rosewood-topped buffet by Holly Hunt, sleek sconces by Jonathan Browning and a colorful painting by Tristan Govignon.
The homeowner’s study, tucked away at the top of the stairs, offers views of the Public Garden.
A lavender ceiling is an unexpected surprise in the master bedroom.
In the attic loft, a large zinc-topped desk overlooks an L-shaped sofa that can fold together into a king-size bed for overnight guests.
A lush purple velvet sofa, black-and-white checkerboard flooring and subtly patterned wallpaper add drama to the foyer.
A large crystal chandelier sparkles against the powder room’s red walls.
A red-leather corner banquette cozies up to a marble-topped table in the “flop room” off the kitchen.
An antique lamp in the corner inspired the living room’s green accent color.
The exterior retains its Federal-style charm.
The dining room wallpaper’s hand-painted silver leaf changes color in different lights.
The formal living room is an elegant balance of light and dark, with lacquered charcoal-gray walls offset by silvery drapes, lighting fixtures bedecked in crystals and fabrics that boast a reflective sheen. The stone fireplace is original to the house and retains Asher Benjamin’s signature fretwork.
The back of the living roomâs L-shaped leather sofa slides to orient the seating toward the view or into the room.
Glossy white lacquer makes the kitchen all but disappear, allowing art and the occasional shot of color to pop.
Rotenberg’s sitting room takes on a decidedly feminine persona.
Rotenbergâs office displays an almost twelve-foot-long American flag she painted, replacing the stars with flowers.
Life imitates art in the form of an orchid displayed in front of one of homeowner Judi Rotenbergâs bright paintings.
A crystal LED chandelier that changes color illuminates the entry, with its book-matched marble tile floor and a painting by Sheila Gallagher.
An open floor plan gives the apartment its airy feel while still providing enough wall space for art.
A shimmery silk from Robert Thompson covers the dining chairs, playing off bold bluesâincluding a glossy InterlÃ¼bke sideboardâin the dining room. A crystal Schonbeck pendant light gleams above the table.
The master bedroom’s personality is serenity itself.
A powder room goes glamorous with reflective wallpaper.
Shannon Feeney introduced audacious color to the family room with textiles and accessories.
Climbing all four stories of the house, the graphic black-and-white stair runner forms a unifying backbone.
The living room’s original marble hearth and mantel surround the new wood-burning fireplace.
Formal dining takes place at the room’s opposite end.
A palette of soft blue, taupe and ivory creates elegant comfort in a living room seating area.