Grand luxury living in this spacious Back Bay penthouse
Too many neighbors? Too much noise? Fees too high?
Well, spurn those oversized, overcharged condos with walls that have ears and check out a doozy of a duplex in one of the smallest, quietest homeowners’ associations anywhere. In fact, Unit 3 at 158 Newbury St. in the Back Bay feels like coming home to the peace and quiet of a single-family by virtue of many factors.
First, the association has only two units (plus a rental owned by the other), hence a two-party ownership that mutually decides on all maintenance, expenses, condo fees (currently a mere $595/month), etc., in biannual meetings with no bureaucracy or mobocracy to contend with.
Second, the other unit is a quiet art gallery - the Copley Society of Art (Co|So). As the oldest nonprofit arts organization in the U.S., it has a history of exhibitions and juried shows dating back to 1879 when it was founded as the Boston Art Students Association by some of the first School of the Museum of Fine Arts graduates to preserve their school ties and support each other’s artistic careers.
Third, Co|So patrons enter the gallery through a separate street entrance. That means no stair-stampedes will disrupt your work from home or keep you awake at night.
Fourth, the 1,831-square-foot penthouse duplex is so high above the street that Newbury’s retail rumble won’t wake you up or distract you either. This is aided by sound-insulating windows and the primary bedroom suite’s top-floor location.
The private roof terrace is also on that floor to facilitate al fresco dining, cocktails and parties without an extra set of stairs to climb.
Built in 1889 from a design by A.H. Drisko, the bowfront brownstone welcomes you home with a rusticated, scroll-carved façade and a panel-wainscoted staircase with an Italianate balustrade of arches, rosettes and twisted colonnettes. This takes you up past the street sounds to your unit’s fourth-floor entrance, which opens directly to the kitchen for ease of eating when you get home.
The kitchen clusters paneled maple cabinetry and stainless appliances along a faux-granite running counter.
The Thermador four-burner gas range is in a separate angled counter overlooking the living-dining room for hot-off-the-burner food service. This arrangement configures the range, an angled corner sink with retractable faucet and the Samsung refrigerator with a water/ice dispenser in a “kitchen work triangle” that facilitates passage among these points for swifter food prep, cooking and cleanup.
Other amenities include a Bosch dishwasher, Samsung microwave and an unusually large pantry.
Just as unusual is the open-concept living-dining room.
“Usually in the Back Bay, you get into narrow vertical living,” said listing agent Constance Brown of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty. “Here, you have a nice double-wide salon area with a beautiful herringbone inlay and pillars.”
The herringbone-laid oak floor with mahogany inlay borders the Tuscan columns separating the living and dining spaces. The crown molding and the ornately-carved mantel framing a gas fireplace bring classic Back Bay touches to this contemporary light blue space.
The oversized triple-window bowfront and dining-room window capitalize on the high location for maximum sun and city views and their sound is insulated for maximum quiet.
The dining area is illuminated by lights dangling from a sculptural eye-shaped stainless steel frame suspended from the ceiling by an eye-shaped stainless medallion. The dining-table set, custom-designed by Tanya Snyder for this space, is negotiable for sale with the unit as is the Snyder-designed corner couch by the kitchen.
Left of the entry, a roomy hall accesses the stairs up to the primary suite and down to your rear-alley parking space and storage room for bikes, sports equipment, etc., which spares you the hassle of taking them upstairs.
Across the corridor is a full bath with semi-oval pedestal sink and marble-tiled tub/shower combo.
Past a cabinet for the unit’s Sonos surround-sound system is a bedroom with enough sunlight and rear-alley quiet for office use. Across from this is a laundry/utility closet with a LG stacked washer/dryer and a pull-down counter for laundry sorting or workshop projects.
The hall ends at an L-shaped bedroom that reaches further into the rear alley for utmost bedtime quiet. Snyder arranged it with a king-size bed with tufted cushioned headboard, also negotiable in the sale. The L’s smaller leg creates a windowed sitting area and the larger space has southern corner exposure. A pea-green wall treatment intensifies the light and the calm.
The primary suite’s spacious landing has a swirl-ragged lemon-yellow wall treatment, a display shelf and access to the recently refurbished 200-square-foot terrace with a panoramic vista of the Back Bay from Newbury Street to the John Hancock Tower to the New Old South Church’s high Victorian Gothic lantern and bell tower right in your back yard.
“The view from this vantage point is beautiful at night,” said Brown.
When you decide to invite the neighbors over, they’ll also love the hot tub and the viewing screen with Sonos sound, on which you can project live streamings of Fourth of July Pops concerts and Patriots or Red Sox games for parties.
A double French door of oak introduces the primary bedroom - a sweeping, silent space with a walk-in closet of built-in cabinets, drawers and coat racks.
The en suite bath boasts a marble-surrounded soaking tub, marble shower and a vanity with a forward-extending sink for washing convenience.
Offered at $2.29 million, Unit 3 at 158 Newbury St. combines tranquility of space, nobility of detail, civility of association and affordability of fee for the ultimate urban living experience.
For more information, contact Frank Celeste or Constance Brown of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty at 617-872-3227 (Frank), 508-838-1105 (Constance), Frank.Celeste@Sothebysrealty.com, or Constance.Brown@Sothebysrealty.com.
Address: 158 Newbury St., Unit 3, Back Bay
BR/BA: Three bedrooms, two full bathrooms
Size: 1,831 square feet
Housing type: Duplex penthouse condominium
Price: $2.29 million
Association fee: $595/month, includes hot water, water, sewer, master insurance, exterior maintenance, landscaping, snow removal, extra storage, and professional management
Taxes: $19,330/TY 2021
Parking: One deeded outdoor parking space
Year built: 1889, renovated 2017 and 2021
Total number of residences: One + rental apartment + retail space
Features: High ceilings, recessed lighting, central heating and air conditioning, hardwood floors, double-size living-dining room with gas fireplace, maple kitchenette with gas cooking and stainless appliances, primary bedroom suite with four-piece bath including soaking tub, large private roof terrace, Sonos surround-sound speakers on both levels, separate storage room in rear, in-house laundry
Building amenities: Rubber roof, staircase illuminated with bullet-proof glass skylight, professional management, pet-friendly association
Close by: Houses of worship; shopping and dining; Boston Public Library; parks on Copley Square and Esplanade; boating on the Charles River; public transit on Green and Orange lines, buses, commuter rail and Amtrak
Contact: Frank Celeste or Constance Brown of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty
Phone: 617-872-3227 (Frank), 508-838-1105 (Constance)
Email: Frank.Celeste@Sothebysrealty.com, Constance.Brown@Sothebysrealty.com