On your last visit to the North End, perhaps while waiting for a table on Salem Street, you might have noticed a building blossoming. With its petal-shaped railings and details, the structure is reminiscent of a flower—and that’s on purpose. Called the Chrysanthemum, the boutique building was inspired by the fall-flowering perennial.
The place sticks out like a green thumb, so to speak. While your mental image of the North End may involve narrow streets, red brick buildings, and produce stands operated for generations, this development puts a new twist on the neighborhood’s time-capsule feel. Plus, it’s rare for buildings to sprout ground up amidst the centuries-old structures.
“There isn’t a lot of new development in the North End,” says Colin Yip, managing partner at Rafi Properties, which developed the project. “That’s why we took this opportunity carefully.”
Yip hails from Hong Kong, where the chrysanthemum is proudly displayed on the territory’s flag. The flower is a symbol for prosperity, long life, and good health. To incorporate those themes into the development, Yip planned to build nine units that would meet the needs of today’s urban lifestyle while still honoring the history of the North End. That meant creating energy efficient, technology-forward units that maximize space and receive plenty of sunlight.
“The plan types were all different (and) all puzzled together in a way to maximize views and natural light and fresh air,” says Frano Violich, the project’s architect and principal at Kennedy & Violich Architecture.
Violich set out to create a modern interpretation of the North End’s architectural history, while intertwining chrysanthemums throughout its design.
One of the things that makes the North End so special, explains Violich, is the social life that happens in the street night and day. That’s part of why the building’s front balconies are one if its defining characteristics—residents can sit outside and converse on them, or chat with folks walking down the street.
“We really wanted to pay homage to the craft of the North End, which is all by hand,” says Violich. To complement the neighborhood’s iconic brick buildings and hand-wrought ironwork, he reimagined them in a contemporary way by choosing pale bricks and the floral-inspired steel railings.
The chrysanthemum motif can be found inside, too, on door mats and wall graphics. The building’s studio, two-, and three-bedroom units feature custom millwork, built-in desks with overhead storage, hardwood flooring, granite countertops, subway tile backsplashes, marble bathroom floors, LED recessed lighting, smart home technology, and washers and dryers. Most units come with private balconies. The two penthouse homes boast private roof decks with gas grills, outdoor sinks, and mini fridges. There’s also a common courtyard for all residents, complete with climbing ivy.
Several Chrysanthemum units are on the market now, listed by Campion & Company. Studios start at $549,000, and two-bedrooms start at $949,000. Yip says he hopes to start move-ins within the next couple of months.
“[The Chrysanthemum] is creating a lifestyle and a quality of life that pertains and is in proportion to the way dense, urban environments should be,” says Violich.
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