On the Market: An Impossibly European Maisonette in the Middle of Back Bay
French and Italian imports, a wine and cigar cellar, and a few unexpected furnishings turn this Beacon Street residence into a real-life fresco.
357-359 Beacon St. #2, Boston
Size: 2,781 square
Somewhere along the brick and brownstone-lined blocks between the Mass. Ave. bridge and the Public Garden, you’ll find this triplex that looks pretty much like all the others. Then you’ll walk up the steps and into the first floor, and instantly forget where you are and how you got there. Through an amazingly curated collection of artisan furnishings, the front door of this Back Bay condo acts like a portal to the European countryside.
One of the most obvious moments of international inspiration is what the current owners call the “outdoor room.” The hand-applied stucco walls of the courtyard encompass a hangout fit for a postcard: 18th-century French limestone flooring, idyllic Tuscan murals painted into the panes of two windows, and even planks from the USS Constitution. A custom limestone fireplace, pizza oven, and grill (the only ones in Back Bay that they know of, says listing agent Frank Celeste) serve as the centerpiece, and Bose surround sound is a welcome touch of modernity.
Back in the indoor rooms, the Italian vibes persist. The kitchen showcases a raised Tuscan ceiling and hand-cut limestone counters, while a La Cornue cooking range and a copper apron sink bring in some French culinary glamor. All around, glazed walls give off a plaster-like finish, while faux brick peaks out in a few places.
Down on the garden level, the guest suite touts another unlikely fixture: an original fireplace mantel from the ’80s soap opera Dallas. The imported French bleached oak flooring stays in pristine condition thanks to a twice-a-year professional waxing, though over in the media lounge, they opted for a darker look by sourcing oak planks from a farmhouse in Langres, a commune east of Paris. Just beyond the barrelled ceilings of the media room, a 600-bottle wine cellar can cradle all of your Bordeaux and Lambruscos. And for any cigar aficionados, there’s also space to stash your humidor—and a smoke eliminator means you can puff away without even taking to the courtyard.
Sure, such a strong theme might seem a little over the top. But coming home after a long day in the middle of winter, doesn’t stepping into a real-life fresco sound pretty nice? The artful French elements contribute that je ne sais quoi, but the secret to this home’s sumptuousness is its attention to detail. When he first walked up the stairs of the condo, Celeste says the owners asked him, “What do you hear?” When he told them he couldn’t hear anything, they replied, “That’s right, these stairs will never creak because they were custom made to be completely solid.”
For information, contact Frank Celeste, Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, frankceleste.com.
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