Boston Home

Setting the Stage

For a theater actor and his partner, a Victorian kitchen is reimagined as a showstopping space for entertaining.

Glossy subway tile, a custom-painted hood, and Schoolhouse sconces help keep the kitchen shining bright despite limited natural light. / Photo by Michael Stavaridis

When a Broadway performer and his partner set out to transform an 1869 Back Bay townhouse, the pros at Hacin flexed their flair for drama. “They wanted something that honored the spirit of the house but had a fun twist, a sense of color and theatricality,” explains senior associate and architect Eduardo Serrate.

Color played a lead role in the kitchen, located on the six-story home’s garden level, where natural light is limited. “It’s still dark, but it’s also tremendously colorful,” Serrate says, noting the forest green–painted cabinets, the rich red of the antique carpet, and glimmers of gold from the fixtures and the ceiling’s wallcovering. The team also played with scale, including statement pieces like the Urban Electric Co. pendant light. “It’s almost the same size as the table below, so there’s a bit of that Alice-tumbling-down-the-rabbit-hole quality,” says interior design principal Jennifer Clapp.

The homeowners, who love to entertain, envisioned the kitchen as a counterpoint to the formal dining room upstairs, a place to hang out with friends—hence the front-row seats at the butcher-block table. The upper cabinets were replaced with shelves to showcase collectibles, and the team put the couple’s personal stamp on the space, designing an insignia for the residence that incorporates the street address and was inspired by scrollwork on one of the home’s original mantlepieces. The motif appears in a mosaic at the kitchen’s threshold, a bespoke spin on a welcome mat for the home’s secondary entrance. “Again, it’s scaled up, so it’s meant to be sort of a Willy Wonka version of a mark. Yes, it’s this grand home, but our clients approached it with this sense of wit and irony,” says Clapp, noting that it was fun to work with homeowners who said, “‘Let’s have a good time with this kitchen.’”

Architect & Interior Designer 

Sea-Dar Construction

First published in the print edition of Boston Home’s Fall 2023 issue, with the headline, “Setting the Stage.”

See the rest of the Kitchens Guide 2023.