Living Large

Weston's $15.6 million home sale, way too many orchids, and more musings on hub dwellings.
Illustration by Jonathan Carlson

Illustration by Jonathan Carlson


Trend Overkill: Orchids 

It’s getting awfully orchidy in here, eh? Parsimonious with their blooms and awkwardly angular, orchids don’t fit comfortably into domestic life. So why is it that designers suddenly want to drop this plant into every room? A mantra for you: Forge your own destiny…end orchid hegemony! Repeat until the craze finally fades.

Hot Fad: Chinese Garden Stools   While the Chinese are currently craving high-end Italian furniture, Americans (and in particular, New Englanders) are pining for chinoiserie. Exhibit A: The humble porcelain garden stool has suddenly moved indoors. The stools are fast becoming this year’s statement necklace for the living room — and it’s good to know that when their star fades, they can roll gracefully out the door to a happy backyard retirement.


Some recession. Just the latest record to be set: Weston’s most expensive property ever was snapped up at the end of March. 75 Doublet Hill Road, which sports 15,000 square feet of living space and 7.74 acres, went for $15,600,000 ($4.4 million below the list price). And who cares that the 2010 assessment was just $7,693,600? The seller was a Palm Beach cardiologist…and the buyer? A trust with a real estate lawyer at the helm. Anyone smell a subdivision?

Photograph by Andy McGlaughlin

Photograph by Andy McGlaughlin

The Big Buy  
Copper-mine magnates just may plotz to see this 4,382-square-foot, parlor-level condo in Boston’s only fully executed chateaux: the Burrage House. It was designed at that precise moment at the turn of the 20th century when architectural excess was just fine and dandy (see: the Vanderbilts in Newport), but a mere five years later? Not so much. House Beautiful featured it in a 1905 column called “The Poor Taste of the Rich” and wrote: “In this house it is not so much a question of poor taste as a lack of taste. The rooms are in no way a consistent background for the people who live within them.” Ouch. Then in 1990 the property was converted into an old-age home. Now it’s back as a Back Bay doublewide (55 feet of prime Comm. Ave. frontage), and it retains its epic marble work and grandiose proportions — which means some lucky family will chill out in a Gilded Age boardroom, cook in a glass-and-iron conservatory, and dine by the fireplace in wood-paneled splendor.

Address: 314 Commonwealth Ave., Boston. Listing Price: $4,900,000. Listing agent: Beth Dickerson, 857-362-1700, Stats: four bedrooms, four-and-a-half baths, two parking spaces.