All Decked Out

Bold color and an innovative layout enliven a gloomy South End terrace.

When Priscilla and Stanley Sneider purchased a pre-construction condo in the South End’s Atelier 505 building, they imagined enjoying city views from their new terrace. Coming from a Chestnut Hill condo with a much-loved deck, the couple wanted this urban outdoor space for frequent dinner parties, after-work glasses of wine, and weekend newspaper-browsing.

But the Sneiders’ visions were dashed when they finally moved into their fourth-floor unit and found the north-facing deck perpetually cast in shadow. Any views were cut off by the deck’s 7-foot high wood-clad fence. Worse still, their condo’s floor-to-ceiling windows constantly reminded them of the claustrophobically dreary view.

Luckily, the couple’s Realtor put them in touch with Scott Carman and Jane Choi of Roxbury-based c2|studio. A pair of Harvard-trained architects with a landscaping background, they were up for the challenge. “We decided to transform the deck into a light box with indirect illumination,” Carman says.

Because the condo association prohibited removing the high walls, c2|studio attached etched glass panels directly to the interior structural supports and sealed the joints between the panels with roofing membrane to prevent light from disturbing the neighbors. The glass sits in a grooved steel ridge that conceals LED lighting.

The deck’s seating would serve as an extension of the Sneiders’ polished, minimalist interior. Carman and Choi enlisted Charlestown-based Custom Metalcraft to build hollow, brushed stainless steel benches that met the building’s stringent weight limits and also doubled as storage space.

Hauling the seating and landscaping soil to the fourth floor required a 500-ton crane, but everyone agrees the effort was entirely worthwhile. “I feel like I’m outside just by looking at the deck through the window,” says Priscilla. “The comfort and beauty of the space transformed our entire home.”