229 Beacon St. in the Back Bay is a picture-perfect model that depicts the blending of the old and the new, creating a work of excellence.
Boston is rapidly growing. As the buildings sprout up all over the city, the skyline is blossoming with neoteric towers of 21st century architectural grandeur. Yet with the carefully designed renovations of the famed Victorian brownstones that line the streets of the neighborhoods, these homes have been preserved honoring the charm of the historic past while integrating the comforts of today.
Back Bay is a prime example of a neighborhood that thrives to keeps its heritage alive. And 229 Beacon St. is a picture-perfect model that depicts the blending of the old and the new, creating a work of excellence. Unit 4, a penthouse duplex condo that was completely renovated in 2017, is now for sale. Robb Silva (Robb Silva Team, William Raveis Real Estate) has it listed for $2,849,000.
Like most of the older structures, this building has an interesting history. According to Back Bay Houses (backbayhouses.org), “229 Beacon St. was built in 1868-1869 for building contractor George Wheatland, Jr., for speculative sale, one of four contiguous houses (223-225-227-229 Beacon) designed as a symmetrical group.
“On April 1, 1869, 229 Beacon was purchased from George Wheatland, Jr., by Dr. John Nelson Borland, a physician, and his wife, Madeline (Gibson) Borland. They previously had lived at 69 Mt. Vernon. His brother and sister-in-law, Melancthon Woolsey Borland and Julia (Gibson) Borland, lived next door at 227 Beacon. Madeline and Julia Borland were sisters.”
Wheatland and the Borlands would be very impressed with how their home has been preserved and greatly improved.
The outside of this stately brownstone beauty is clean and inviting and will soon be welcoming the spring arrival of lush greenery and budding trees in the front gardens for all the residents and travelers-by to admire.
As with the outside, the interior also has a fresh and welcoming spirit. The renovation successfully melds the splendor of the 19th century with the essentials of contemporary living, honoring and preserving the grace and elegance of long ago while becoming a trendsetter.
This sizable home has 2,377 square feet of space with three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths. This remarkable penthouse, rising higher than other brownstone in the area, has magnificent views, among the best of any Back Bay homes. All the windows were replaced during the renovation.
The kitchen is custom designed with lots of cupboards and counter space. Cabinets are varied in sizes, a few with closed doors, others with glass doors and some without doors for convenient open shelves for quick access to cookbooks while showcasing treasures.
Appliances include a Jenn-Air glass stovetop and oven and built-in microwave. There is also a Bosch dishwasher and a large Sub-Zero refrigerator with a beautiful panel front, matching the kitchen cabinetry decor. The glass tile backsplash adds a taste of elegance and helps create an appealing atmosphere to put together culinary masterpieces.
As with many older homes, there are a lot of nooks and crannies, adding interesting aesthetics and a bit of mystery. These have been tastefully turned into opportunities to add modern conveniences during the makeover. One wasted space in the kitchen has become a pullout pantry and another has been turned into a very handy pullout drawer to organize and store all those jars of spices.
Another revitalized area has become a dry bar with an appealing wine cooler and a glass-front cabinet.
A breakfast bar for those less informal meals separates the family room-dining room area from the kitchen.
The striking elements of the large family room are a wood-burning fireplace with the original marble surround and two large built-ins on either side. Those built-ins include closed cabinets below and open shelving above, affording an ideal opportunity to display books, family photos and collectibles, nurtures the characteristics of days gone-by while a mounted television over the fireplace appeals to the contemporaneous appetite, thereby fashioning an ideal example of mingling the past with the present.
Another spacious living room-parlor on this floor features gorgeous original hand-carved moldings (also a treat in other rooms in this home), a tall floor-to-ceiling three-window bay bump out that allows natural light to stream in while savoring optimal views of the neighborhood. There is also a beautiful marble surround fireplace adorned by a gold-framed mirror. This is a superb place for entertaining guests or having intimate family time. Two additional windows flank the sides of the bump out, allowing for more light and sights. This room could easily be converted into a formal dining room.
To round out this floor plan, there is a half bath and a laundry area big enough to hold a full size washer and dryer along with plenty of storage space.
While the original beautifully restored wide walnut finish pine floors shine throughout the first floor, the second floor is padded with plush wall-to-wall carpeting and the kitchen and bathrooms sparkle with tile.
The second floor takes you to slumber land. The large master suite has a sitting area in the south-facing bedroom and draws in plenty of sunlight throughout the day. Here, it is easy to admire the height of the building as you look out over the tops of the other brownstones in the area. This suite has the third of the original fireplaces along with the original marble surround and a very large walk-in closet. The French doors lead to the en suite bathroom, large and loaded with great features such as a double vanity, a walk-in shower and a jet tub.
The two other bedrooms are very appealing and are mirror images of each other. The second full bathroom has a large tiled shower with glass doors.
A staircase leads up to a large retractable glass roof, allowing the natural light to pour in. This opens to a terrific roof deck with an incredible 360-degree breathtaking vista of Boston, Cambridge and the surrounding area. This space is completely irrigated to grow all of your favorite plants and is well lit for safety and convenience; adding a BBQ with tables and chairs will enhance your outdoor gatherings. Just imagine experiencing all the sights and sounds of Boston – everything that makes the city so appealing – such as the majestic exhibition of the July 4th fireworks.
Residents have direct access to a deeded parking space and the newly decorated common areas.