Boston Common House

Boston, Massachusetts
Location
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Year
  • 2011
  • This project page was created by community member Ruhl Walker Architects

    The owners of this historic townhouse on Beacon Hill, overlooking the Public Garden, decided that previous renovations were more suited to the husband’s bachelor days than to the realities of their current life, especially with their first child on the way. As a result, Ruhl Walker Architects was commissioned to redesign the entire 6 story townhouse.

    The first step was to consolidate the house into a single home rather than the owner’s duplex unit and three additional single-floor apartments. In the new configuration, there is a small studio apartment on the lowest level, a storefront business on the street level, and four floors of living space for the growing family. The upper four floors are composed of parlor level entertaining spaces including a catering kitchen, a family living level with full kitchen and roof deck, a floor for the parents including shared home office, and a top floor with two bedrooms for children plus a nanny’s room.

    The parlor level rooms were restored to their original grandeur, with a mix of antiques and crisp contemporary furniture in sharp relief against the thick original wood moldings, marble fireplace surrounds and gilt mirrors. In the foyer, high gloss grass-green paint sharpens traditionally-detailed paneling, injecting a considered modernism into the period rooms. Upstairs, both the family living level and the parents’ level were demolished down to structure and completely rebuilt and refinished with a sleek and minimal finishes. The living level revolves around a 24’ long kitchen island with an open living space facing Boston Common and a dining space on the opposite end connected to the roof deck. Up a flight of stairs, the adults reign over an entire story, with spaces for work, sleeping, and bathing flowing seamlessly. A large, freestanding shower divides the sleeping area from the otherwise open vanity and tub areas. Clear glazing at the top of the shower allows daylight to penetrate deep into the space. The toilet is hidden behind a frosted glass wall for privacy. On the top floor, the children’s rooms received new finishes but maintained the original layout, including a loft with hidden compartment that purportedly had once been used in the Underground Railroad.

    Photography: Eric Roth Photography

    Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
    Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
    Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
    Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
    Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
    Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
    Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
    Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
    Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
    Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
    Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
    Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
    Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
    Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
    Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
    Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
    Photo Courtesy of Ruhl Walker Architects
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    Ruhl Walker Architects
    @ruhl_walker_architects
    Ruhl Walker Architects For over 20 years we have committed ourselves to creating architecture of all types and sizes for clients not only throughout New England but as far afield as Hawai’i and St. Croix in the USVI. Natural materials, expressive forms, and meticulous attention to light and views have been at the core of our practice and are manifest in our projects regardless of their context. Common to our design process is a commitment to clear and open communication, the careful management of resources, and a fundamental belief that innovative and coherent design is a joyous and essential component of the human experience. With each project we strive to demonstrate that inventive and elegant design is achievable, even within strict economic parameters, by respectfully listening and responding to the client’s needs and desires, thoroughly understanding the nature of materials and methods of construction, and carefully managing the design and construction processes. As part of our client-focused process we use a diverse set of design tools custom tailored to each client − from simple hand sketches to elaborate computer animations and rendered models − to ensure the spatial quality and experience of each project is thoroughly understood throughout the design process. Initiating a construction project can be a daunting prospect, but we pride ourselves on being there for our clients at every step of the way, from helping to identify goals at the beginning of the project, to turning over the keys at the end of construction. We look forward to bringing the joy and excitement of innovative and coherent modern design to your project.
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