History was made here in the 1870s when Elizabeth Smith, daughter of Black abolitionist John J. Smith, is believed to have been the first African-American teacher in an integrated Boston public school. Converted to a condominium in 2000, a sense of history remains here with a graceful mix of period details and modern design.
Natural light pours through the tall arched windows of a parlor level condo at 41-43 Phillips St. on Beacon Hill. Ceilings soar to 11 feet, giving the space a tremendous sense of volume.
This corner unit was once part of the 19th century Wendell Phillips School, one of the first integrated schools in the city.
History was made here in the 1870s when Elizabeth Smith, daughter of Black abolitionist John J. Smith, is believed to have been the first African-American teacher in an integrated Boston public school.
Converted to a condominium in 2000, a sense of history remains here with a graceful mix of period details and modern design.
Go up a flight of stairs to Unit 1 and walk through the four-paneled front door of this home - listed by Mary Conner and Julie Harrison of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty for $2,395,000. The lovely moldings and brass hardware create an attractive contrast with a couple of contemporary bronze sconces that flank the entrance.
To the right is the dining area, where a wall of built-ins is accented by a library ladder. The two brass pendant lights that hang from the ceiling emphasize the height of the room and call attention to attractive crown molding. On the floor, dark hardwood gleams.
Step into the living area, which is illuminated in the daytime by the big arched, mullioned windows. Plantation shutters regulate incoming light. By night, an intricate brass chandelier provides the lighting.
The focal point of the space is a two-sided gas fireplace. Its mantel is white and its face is enhanced by a warmly-colored polished stone. The sconces over the fireplace match the ones in the home’s entry foyer. It’s easy to imagine entertaining a large group of friends here when the time is right.
On the other side of the fireplace, a delightful office area has been built out, featuring a long desktop and workstations for two people. Cabinetry offers generous space for supplies. This portion of the living area is actually quite versatile. The next owner could convert it to a den or even an extra guest space.
Next, explore the open gourmet kitchen. Its updated look is spot on with white cabinets and sparkling hardware. High-end appliances by Sub-Zero and Gaggenau, including a gas cooktop, could satisfy the most discerning home chef.
The counters and breakfast bar rock dark granite, and the mosaic backsplash sparkles against it. Under-cabinet lighting keeps everything visible during meal prep. The vent fan over the cooktop resembles a modern sculpture. Storage for food, kitchen tools and dishware is plentiful in the peninsula, upper and lower cabinets, and pantry.
The private portion of the home is as well-designed as the public part. It is located down a hallway to the left of the unit’s entry door. Wine storage, a built-in desk and bookshelves line the passage so there is always something interesting to look at on the way to the bedrooms and bathrooms.
The main suite has two exposures with pediments topping the arched windows. Crown molding and deep baseboards add charm. Soft neutral-colored carpeting feels very soft on bare feet.
Walk out through French doors to a private balcony that looks out onto greenery. It’s a comfortable place to sit with a cup of coffee.
Back inside, the owner’s en suite marble bathroom is immaculate and spa-like. The long double vanity provides ample storage and allows two people to get ready at the same time. A glass-enclosed shower shines and offers a hand-held spray along with a showerhead.
Next to the bathroom is a well-organized walk-in closet with rods, shelves and drawers for clothing and cubbies that hold literally dozens of pairs of shoes.
The second bedroom suite is bright and comfortable for a guest or a family member who needs to do some work, possibly homework. The wall opposite the bed is lined with built-in bookshelves and cabinets. There’s also a wood-topped desk located at the center. Corbels decorate the area above the desk, reminiscent of the historic architecture of the original schoolhouse. A good-sized closet stores clothing.
Accessible from the hall and en suite to the guest bedroom, the home’s second full bathroom has a tub/shower combination and a single vanity. A mirror hung above the sink reflects light from the shiny nickel fixture above it.
When laundry day arrives, a stacked Whirlpool washer and dryer is available in a closet. There is also a laundry closet for all those wash day essentials.
When the owners of the home want to leave their unit without going far, they can take the elevator up to the common roof deck to socialize with fellow building residents while enjoying a view of the Charles River.
The building also possesses a private manicured courtyard area, including a few visitor parking spaces. That’s a rarity anywhere in Boston, especially on Beacon Hill. And for the new owner’s vehicle, a garage parking space is included with the purchase of the home.