Commonwealth Avenue Triplex

c. 1861
Interior Architecture and Decoration
Completed in 2014
General Contractor: FBN Construction

A row of three grand townhouses on Commonwealth Avenue were divided into multiple condominiums in the 1980s. When our clients bought a unit in 2012 they were lucky enough to score one with excellent features: a private entrance in the front, a private garden in the back, a parking spot behind the garden, high ceilings, original detail, large rooms, and a grand stair.

That was the beginning point for designing this space for a stylish and energetic young family of four. They came to us with a clear vision. The idea was to maintain the integrity of the architecture and insert contemporary spaces for contemporary life into it.

The garden level was a rabbit warren of dark spaces so we opened up the back wall for more light and created a large playroom. In the front we enlarged the windows for a guest room.

We widened the stair to the garden level in order to make a more gracious connection between the floors. Glass guardrails and simple lighting make the space more open. The sweeping stair to the second floor had a surprising low handrail so we raised it for safety while maintaining the historic character of the stair. A mirrored wall in the dining room “doubles” the space.

A white lacquered kitchen with Calacatta marble countertops is as minimal as can be. In a similar design paradigm the master bath has full slabs of white marble, a counterpoint to the blue toile de jouy accents in the master bedroom.

What ties the existing space—with its elegant proportions and period detail—to the mostly-white interventions is a constant attention to craft. Hidden cabinets, built in wardrobes, bronze chandeliers, a burnished maple table with 1970’s chairs, and a brass and lucite coffee table all conspire to become a perfect bespoke and hyper-eclectic living space.