This year, Charlestown has been one of the hottest neighborhoods in the city, especially when it comes to home sales.
The single-family townhouse at 40 Monument Ave. in Charlestown – one of several red brick and brownstone trimmed homes built between 1854 and 1856 – sold on Nov. 16 for $2,013,750.
Originally listed by Frank Celeste of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, this 2,258-square-foot single-family townhouse with three bedrooms plus two-and one-half bathrooms was sold with Nancy Roth, also of Gibson Sotheby’s.
Although this home shares several architectural features with its neighbors, including a flat front and elements of the Greek Revival era, the inside sets a new standard on how to renovate a 19th century gem.
In the three-year-long gut renovation of this four-story residence, no square inch was left untouched.
Incorporating exceptional period details such as the classic moldings (both double and triple crown as well as the extravagant window and door casings) was not only essential, but the work was done with a modern approach.
The replacement windows, which are all new tilt-in versions, look traditional. The eight panes of glass (four-over-four) “appear” oversized, but are the precise size as the originals. Multi-width pine floorboards have a matte finish.
On the thoroughly modern side, the house has a Mcintosh System and Sonos integrated inside and outside, a TV room with an independent sound system and a new Direct TV satellite on the roof. The tankless water heater is barely a year old.
The result of these thoughtful changes and, many more, is a warm, inviting home that pays homage to the past but is ready for life in this century and beyond.
The marble fireplace is an unforgettable focal point in the front parlor/sitting room that is also highlighted by three four-over-four double-hung windows. A comfortable spot to greet guests, this is also a harbinger of wonderful things to come.
The big open kitchen at the back of the house is one, of course, but getting there is another.
The beautiful barrel-like archway with raised paneling that separates the kitchen and parlor looks and feels original to the house, but this one-of-a-kind architectural element resulted from the addition of 21st century ductwork. The archway also contains another modern desire – storage: a built-in “closet” with open shelving.
Running the width of the residence, the kitchen is thoughtfully designed to accommodate a chef or two plus a few friends. The many features in this elegant room include the center island with a deep stainless-steel sink and a Fisher and Paykel two-drawer dishwasher. This large granite-topped prep area also seats three comfortably.
A suite of Thermador stainless steel appliances (refrigerator and five-burner gas stove) are surrounded by an abundance of cabinetry. Additional storage is available in an attractive custom built-in hutch that fills one wall.
Practical is only one element in this very functional kitchen; beauty is another. Detailed millwork is everywhere from triple-crown molding to detailed bump boards accented by the pine floor boards.
Of course, the view of this home’s outstanding outdoor space via three custom-designed windows is especially appealing.
Even better, the kitchen has access to the remarkable oasis that includes a curved, custom-designed Trex deck that is large enough for a table, chairs and even a lounge or two. That’s only the beginning.
Follow the wrap-around staircase to a suburban-sized, fully-fenced and lushly landscaped yard where “boulder” steps lead down to a stone/boulder paver patio almost completely surrounded by a hand-finished low stone wall.
Besides an irrigation system and electricity (night views are spectacular inside and out), the urban getaway has a unique feature: it is sited on a separate lot (that belongs to the house) with access to and from Pleasant Street. Enclosed storage is under the deck, too.
The rest of the house is equally impressive. Bump boards with deep trim follow the gentle-curving, open staircase – complete with a coffin turn to the upper floors. A storage closet/cupboard tucked into the landing is also an accent corner for artwork.
Two customized double closets are in the master suite at the top of the second floor. Two huge windows insure this room, where a king-size bed fits easily, is filled with light year round.
Subway tile is used in the surround and on the ceiling of the step-in shower in the en suite bathroom. A pedestal sink is a charming touch. The Wi-Fi-controlled radiant heated tile floor has a very pleasant affect. Built-in storage includes deep open shelving and a closed cabinet base. Natural light from the large window is a bonus.
A stunning library (den/living room/etc.) is, however, “the” standout on the second floor. This room – the width of the house – has a delightful bump out bay with one four-over-four window and two, one-over-one windows that is deep enough for a “game” table and chairs.
Two additional windows (these are floor-to-ceiling four-over-four affairs) look out over Monument Avenue and have balconies with decorative wrought iron railings.
A classic marble fireplace with arched doors and mantel is at one end of the room; a custom built-in desk/hutch with open shelving and closed cabinetry is at the other end. Magnificent triple-crown molding plus concave trim (it’s almost a foot wide) is an elegant feature.
A large skylight centered over the stairwell allows an abundance of natural light to flow into the two levels all year round.
The top floor has two more bedrooms.
An exposed brick chimney gives the front bedroom a touch of rustic charm that complements its wide pine floor boards. The slightly slanted ceiling that is 12 feet high at its peak (the “low” point is about 11-and-a-half feet high) adds to the inviting ambiance in this room as do the three windows. There is also a double closet.
Laundry facilities that include a full-size Whirlpool washer and dryer, complete with overhead cabinetry, are in the hallway adjacent to yet another closet and on the way to the other bedroom.
This large room has two windows overlooking the yard. Detailed bump boards and a single closet augment the finishing touches.
The shared bathroom has all the bells and whistles, too: a tub/shower combination, a Wi-Fi-controlled radiant heated marble floor plus a window with a pretty view.
The fully-finished lower level is an oasis of comfort, albeit an elegant one. In the main room that runs front-to-back, an exposed painted brick wall is juxtaposed to paneled-wainscoting almost five feet high on the remaining walls. A window framing a straight-ahead view of the garden and patio is quite captivating.
Like the rest of the house that has chock full of hidden storage spots, this room has its own niche-like closet built into the side of a bump out.
A half bathroom with paneled wainscoting and a pedestal sink is a handy convenience. Big on charm with a sweet angled ceiling, this room also has built-in open shelving.
The bonus is a full walk-in, enclosed brick paved “alley” that connects the yard to Monument Avenue. The “front” door to this extra storage area has raised paneling like the main double-entry doors. Talk about attention to detail…