Originally designed in high French Renaissance style by Charles Brigham in 1899 as the winter home of attorney, copper magnate and philanthropist Albert Cameron Burrage, the dwelling at 314 Commonwealth Ave. has gone through quite an evolution.
Residence One was a dream come true for someone who dreamt of buying a condo that lives like a mansion in one of the most impressive addresses on Commonwealth Avenue in the Back Bay. The 4,382-square-foot home was originally listed with Tracy Campion of Campion & Co. and recently sold through Campion for $6,300,000.
Originally designed in high French Renaissance style by Charles Brigham in 1899 as the winter home of attorney, copper magnate and philanthropist Albert Cameron Burrage, the dwelling at 314 Commonwealth Ave. has gone through quite an evolution. After accommodating a variety of medical facilities for several decades, the building went through a meticulous historical restoration, creating four condos (one of them owned by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady) in 2003.
The configuration which occupies almost the entire first floor of this sumptuous edifice gives this home three sides of exposure, eight elegant rooms including three bedrooms and four-and-a-half baths, a sunny kitchen in Burrage’s old conservatory, a lower-level great room, two underground parking spaces and elaborate Beaux Arts ornamentation virtually everywhere you look.
Modeled on the châteaux of Chenonceau in France’s Loire Valley and William K. Vanderbilt’s long-gone 5th Avenue mansion in New York, 314 Commonwealth Ave. regally welcomes you home with its flamboyant limestone façade of scrolls, modillions, capitals, statues, cherubs, dragons, gargoyles, lion heads, finials, turrets, gables and more to delight the eye.
A mahogany vestibule of carved caryatids and pilasters introduces a palatial common lobby, rich with carved mahogany paneling and ceiling coffers, gilded bas-reliefs of classical figures, an ornate European marble mantel flanked by leaded-glass curio cabinets, marble mosaic floor tiles and a grandly sculptured marble stairway with cherubic bronze statue lamps and stone figurines of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella flanking stained-glass images of Columbus’ three ships.
A grilled, mirrored double-door to the right introduces Residence One’s polished mahogany foyer with a coffered ceiling, mosaic tile floor and scalloped statue/vase niches.
At left, a sitting room with lavish, leafy plasterwork and a crystal chandelier precedes the formal living room where scallops and fluted Scamozzi pilasters adorn the wall panels and plaster cherubs gaze down at you from an oval sky ceiling fresco.
The gilded marble fireplace’s over-mantel mirror with a gilt picture-frame, inspired by the proscenium of Boston’s Symphony Hall, conceals a Samsung TV, which magically appears in the glass with the touch of a remote. The oak parquet floor is inlaid on the diagonal.
The sun breaks through in the adjacent kitchen, which retains its original bulbous, copper-adorned glass enclosure and climbing coral on which Burrage grew orchids. As president of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, he received its 1922 George R. White Medal of Honor for his orchid collection.
Complementing the historical elements are an onyx basket-weave-tiled floor with a flowery marble mosaic, Calacatta marble counters, including a grand island, Gothic glass cabinets and custom-made classic paneled mahogany drawers and cabinetry.
From behind the paneled pantry, a TV screen electronically rises up so you can watch a cooking show as you prepare your feast.
State-of-the-art appliances include a Wolf gas range with a stove hood vent, a GE 30-inch Speed Oven, a Miele dishwasher, a Bunn coffeemaker and Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer units paneled into the cabinetry. Mosaic lamps and a sun catcher chandelier complete the composition, and automatic custom blinds are handy if the sun gets too intense.
In contrast to the kitchen’s brightness, the oval-shaped mahogany dining room offers a somber setting for a dinner party, enriched with an eye-feast of lion, bear, horse, wolf, griffin and unicorn carvings along the crown molding, heraldic knight plaster moldings, a gold-rubbed ceiling fresco of flower images, a crystal chandelier, stained-glass windows and a fireplace mantel with cherub and fruit reliefs.
A lavishly adorned dry bar with beveled-glass cabinet is on hand for aperitifs or cocktails. The oak floor is laid in a chevron pattern.
Off the foyer’s bowed end, a paneled powder room with a hammered copper bowl sink – a fitting tribute to Burrage’s founding of the Amalgamated Copper Company the year his home was built – introduces two bed-and-bath suites.
The larger bedroom, Burrage’s old library, retains its decorative Gothic ceiling with such famed authors’ names as Emerson, Hawthorne and Holmes carved amid cherubic wreath reliefs. The bow window on Commonwealth Avenue also plays tribute to higher learning with stained-glass images of an urn on books (“Liber Veritas”), a sculpture and a telescope (“Copernicus, Galileo”).
The smaller bedroom is simpler, but just as comfortable. A full laundry is handy off the hall.
Off the sitting room, a spacious dressing room with multiple closets, including a walk-in, initiates the master suite.
The master bath, a classic palace of marble and mirrors, boasts a radiant-heated mosaic Calacatta marble floor, a marble-tiled steam shower, a stained-glass landscape image, a crystal chandelier and a pink onyx double vanity crowned by a keystone sculpture of Goddess Maia modeled on the one in Prague’s Goethe Institute. Mirrored walls give the illusion of infinite arcades, and the water closet has switchable glass for privacy.
The master bedroom boasts a stylish sitting area embellished with stained-glass windows, festooned wainscoting and a crown molding of antiquarian bas-relief faces suggesting the likenesses of Erasmus, Cleopatra and Queen Elizabeth I.
Just off the master suite, a spiral staircase descends to a new general-purpose space paneled in blond oak, built in with copious cabinetry and bookcases, ended with a leaded-glass bow front and equipped with a marble shower bath. These features suit it for use as a library, media room or au pair/in-law suite.
Also on this level are a deeded storage room and easy access to the heated parking garage.
Residence One at 314 Commonwealth Ave. amalgamates the Belle Epoque of Burrage with the modernity of the millennium, letting the new residents live in Gilded Age grandeur and contemporary convenience simultaneously.
To learn about more fine homes available, contact Tracy Campion of Campion and Company at 617-236-0711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.