In anticipation of their empty-nester status, Patrick Planeta’s future clients, a Weston couple who had lived in the same Colonial for 20 years with three kids, started searching for their dream home. In Weston. They looked at a few houses “and then thought, What are we doing? Our kids are all leaving,” the wife recalls. Realizing that downsizing made more sense, they decided to change course.
In late 2018, the couple purchased a glassy 2,788-square-foot condo in the Seaport, where they planned to move with their teenage son. Sunlight saturates the roomy 10th-floor unit, which was the very first place they saw in the city. It also boasts a 180-degree view of Boston Harbor that was too good to pass up. But while they felt ready for a change, the couple quickly realized they needed a designer to create more storage and infuse the space with some much-needed personality.
And so Planeta—drawing on the view, along with the pair’s attraction to the bright, airy feel of a neighboring unit he designed—set out to create an environment suffused with calm, but not without drama. “The architecture is neutral, in colors reminiscent of the water and surroundings, but we [wanted to] play with texture and reflections [to give] it an undertone of energy,” the designer says.
The transformation begins in the entry, where Planeta had a black-and-white marble slab leathered for softness, cut into 8-inch strips, and arranged in a piano-key pattern underfoot. A ruler-like strip of bronze cuts through the stone, inscribed with a lyric from a Bob Marley song that the couple loves: “None but ourselves can free our minds.” Planeta credits contemporary artist Jenny Holzer, who is known for incorporating evocative text into the works she dreams up for public spaces, with the idea. “[Her phrases] slap you in the face and make you ponder,” he says.
This initial meditative moment in the entry is intentional. Planeta acknowledges that the spectacular views are the condo’s key selling point, but he didn’t want the cityscape to immediately steal the thunder. “I like to hit you with something beautiful [so] you can catch your breath. Then, [when you] turn the corner, the vista unfolds,” he says.
And so it does. Beyond the entry, past a hallway that leads to a marble-clad powder room and a versatile den/guest room, the extraordinary landscape visible from the main living space finally reveals itself. The open-concept room, which encompasses the kitchen, living, and dining areas, is just as impressive: Clean-lined furnishings, reflective polished-metal details, and transparent pieces, including a glass credenza and a Roll & Hill chandelier, play up the spaciousness of the floor plan, while shades of gray with underlying blue tones echo the scene outside the windows. “It’s very calming to be in a space where the colors meld together,” the wife says of the scheme.
The new storage in the room works well, too. Conscious that the family was moving from the suburbs, Planeta maximized hiding spots throughout the unit, designing sleek white-oak cabinetry for the living area and adding steel shelves to the back of the extra-long kitchen island. The designer also inserted a row of white-oak cabinets atop the kitchen’s existing white-lacquered ones, which failed to reach the ceiling. Finally, he tucked a sleek built-in bar and a pair of full-size wine refrigerators into a nook across from the kitchen, which he created by relocating the entrance to their son’s bedroom.
The work continued in the couple’s plush suite, which sits on the other side of the unit—away from the son’s bedroom and the action of the main living area. The space feels tailored, with extra pops of color that the wife loves, including a magenta-upholstered Poltrona Frau chair and a vibrant Polaroid by photographer Ellen Carey. The bed, meanwhile, rests against a Venetian plaster-framed inset that adds dimension and “gives the bed a sense of place,” the designer says.
Planeta also used smoked glass and a Poliform shelving system to create an envy-inducing walk-in closet for the wife. Unlike her closet in Weston, it’s not large enough for her to roll out a mat to practice yoga, but the backlit shoe shelves more than make up for it.
With the renovation complete, the family find themselves happily navigating urban living. The husband walks to work, the younger son has become a city kid before going to college, and the wife joined the ICA, where she hopes to volunteer. They feel energized—and a little bit in awe of their new place. “Everything is so beautiful that at first it felt like we were just visiting,” the wife says. “But the kids have been around to properly break it in, so now it feels like home.”
Adams + Beasley Associates
Planeta Design Group
Sladen Feinstein Integrated Lighting
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