The mansion-like living room boasts two classic gas fireplaces – one flanked by built-in bookcases. Crown and wall moldings enrich the environment while three windows provide ample light and historic views. The living room and foyer access a fancy wet bar with a marble counter, wine cooler and wine-bottle cubbies.

Unit C at 61 Mt. Vernon St. is more than the dimensions of a townhouse spread out over a single floor. It is a virtual symbol of the evolution of housing on Beacon Hill - from mansions to rowhouses to French flats to condos, incorporating elements of each into its design and layout, inside and out.

Its address marks the site of the c.1804 mansion of Jonathan Mason, one of the Mount Vernon proprietors who developed Beacon Hill, joining a list that also included Harrison Gray Otis and Charles Bulfinch - architect of the Massachusetts State House up the street.

Rising land values changed the proprietors’ plans for the Hill from freestanding homes to rowhouses, which were set back 30 feet from the brick sidewalk along Mt. Vernon Street’s north side to be flush with the fronts of Mason’s and Otis’s Bulfinch-designed homes.

Mason’s home gave way to five rowhouses in 1837, one of which at No. 61 was replaced in 1911 as population growth sparked massive apartment-building development in and around Boston.

The trick for developer W. Stanley Tripp and architect Richard Arnold Fiske was to squeeze a stack of floor-through French flats onto Mt. Vernon Street’s setback and abutment confines unobtrusively. They did so by extending No. 61 back to 26 Pinckney St., which gave most units sizable front common-room and rear bedroom sections, separated by a corridor for optimum privacy.

To bring the new brick and cast-stone structure in line with Beacon Hill’s historic rowhouse architecture, Fiske designed it in the Classical/Federal Revival bowfront style with a high granite foundation, a Tuscan-columned porch, a paneled door with Adamesque sidelights and transom, and window lintels with Greek key patterns inspired by 1820s townhouses. The windows were enlarged to ensure generous living room light and views down Walnut Street.

By 1972, it became one of Boston’s first condominiums – the 61 Mt. Vernon Street Association. Around 2010, F.H. Perry of Hopkinton completely renovated Unit C to maximize its light, space and historical grace as some of Beacon Hill’s most elegantly convenient one-level living gems with no stairs to climb or dark corners to conquer.

A circa1840 granite fence with lavishly scrolled cast-iron insets frames the property with “Boston granite” distinction. Its stylish gate and monumental posts introduce a granite walk, bordered by an ornate cast-iron rail and a French-style garden of sculpted topiary and hedges with white flowers.

A granite stoop introduces the columned entry to the marble-floored vestibule and lobby where the original cast-iron “birdcage” elevator takes you up to your third-floor unit.

Its central foyer welcomes you just as gracefully with a crystal chandelier, a marble floor laid on the diagonal and antiqued square-patterned mirror panels. One opens to a coat closet.

Paneled pocket doors introduce the right-hand living room and left-hand dining room.

The mansion-like living room boasts two classic gas fireplaces – one flanked by built-in bookcases. Crown and wall moldings enrich the environment while three windows provide ample light and historic views. The living room and foyer access a fancy wet bar with a marble counter, wine cooler and wine-bottle cubbies.

The dining room is dressed for dinner with a chandelier of glass bead strands and crystal pendant drops, a gas fireplace with scroll-accented mantel, crown molding and wall paneling. A light court brings in sun for a crosscurrent of sunlight and air among the three common areas.

The court also brightens the eat-in kitchen, accessible from both the dining room and a hall from the foyer via a walk-in pantry.

A built-in bench, paneled wainscoting and decorative wall panels define the breakfast area, which can accommodate dinner-party guest overflow from the dining room.

In the kitchen itself, classic paneled cabinetry, a Wolf double oven with microwave, paneled Sub-Zero refrigerator with freezer drawers, a Wolf four-burner gas cooktop, deep stainless sink and antiqued subway-tile backsplashes are configured around a C-shaped marble running counter that fringes the central island with a wood counter, Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer drawers and Fisher & Paykel dishwasher drawers. A beamed ceiling with crown moldings adds depth and grace to the space.

F.H. Perry reimagined the once-dark corridor from the kitchen to the bedrooms as a palatial procession of light and opulence with graceful glass-bowl chandeliers, moldings and fluted pilasters.

Along the corridor are a double-door laundry closet with a Whirlpool washer and dryer, followed by shortcuts to the back stairway and a bath with a subway-tiled tub/shower combo, marble-top vanity, basketweave-patterned marble tile floor and grasscloth wallcovering.

The bath serves a carpeted bedroom and study - the latter boasts a desktop/cabinet built-in, paneled wainscoting, wall/window treatments of oriental country scenes and a chandelier recalling a ship’s steering wheel.

The corridor angles rightward toward the primary bedroom with four windows, crown molding, cream-colored grasscloth, a crystal-bead chandelier, classic glass sconces and a gas fireplace flanked by window alcoves.

For one-stop bathing-dressing-prepping convenience, a walk-in closet connects the bedroom to the en suite bath – a picturesque palace of marble and moldings. Carrara marble permeates the diagonal-laid floor, the bowfront twin-sink vanity and the deluxe shower with rain, fixed and hand-held shower heads. The shower receives light from the adjacent water-closet.

An old-fashioned oval metal tub with a phone-cradle shower head lets you soak away any tensions. Crown and wall moldings, glass bead-tasseled “bloomer” swag valances and matching lampshades on a scrolled chandelier accent the atmosphere.

The corridor re-angles leftward to a marble guest bath with a shower, Hepplewhite-inspired bowfront vanity and basketweave-patterned floor.

Following this is a carpeted guest bedroom with four windows, swag valances with historical country dance and horse-and-wagon scenes, brown grasscloth, paneled wainscoting and window alcoves flanking a gas fireplace.

Offered at $4.35 million, Unit C at 61 Mt. Vernon St. combines every conceivable form of “home” into a home for the ages and the aging-in-place. For more information, contact Ariel Szabo of Donnelly + Co. at 617-922-6251 or ariel.szabo@donnellyandco.com.

SOURCES:

- Gordon, Edward W., Boston Landmarks Commission, “61 Mt. Vernon Street,” Massachusetts Historical Commission Form B – Building, Form No. 14956, October 22, 2001, file://localhost/Users/toddlarson/Documents/ BUSINESS/The Writer/BOSTON HOMES/82. 61 Mt. Vernon St., Unit C, Beacon Hill/bos_14956.pdf

- “Mount Vernon Proprietors,” Wikipedia, last edited Oct. 9, 2016, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Vernon_Proprietors

- “Tripp, W. Stanley Apartment House,” Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System (MACRIS), Inventory No. BOS.14956, http://mhc-macris.net/Details.aspx?MhcId=BOS.14956

- Michael Resteghini, Account Executive, F.H. Perry, 508-380-8742