New Back Bay duplex offers sparkling open-concept design

TODD LARSON
CORRESPONDENT
The double living room continues the combo of light and detail with its tray ceiling, crown moldings, high baseboards, oversized windows, beamed coffered ceiling and circular chandelier dangling prism crystals.

Despite 341 Commonwealth Ave.’s antiquarian architecture and former function as Garland Junior College, its new duplex penthouse Residence 5/PH is far from old-school. It offers an open-concept design, contemporary finishes and updated amenities while its architectural details do honor the heritage of the 141-year-old Back Bay building, fittingly rechristened The Garland Luxury Residences.

The old lobby’s restored carved woodwork lends few clues to the new world you’ll enter when the stainless steel direct-keyed-access elevator opens to the two-story, 3,734-square-foot residence’s central reception hall, from which flow seemingly endless space, light and detail for today’s living, entertaining and family-growing needs.

The hall’s original turned-baluster stairway has newel posts carved with sunflower motifs, which aptly symbolize the sunlight that pours from the bay-window ends of the floor-through space, supplemented by the stair’s skylight.

The hall’s original turned-baluster stairway has newel posts carved with sunflower motifs, which aptly symbolize the sunlight that pours from the bay-window ends of the floor-through space, supplemented by the stair’s skylight. The hall accesses the common stairway to the lobby and a powder room with one of several Baden Haus glass-top floating vanities mounted on vertical tile backsplashes, found in every bath.

The double living room continues the combo of light and detail with its tray ceiling, crown moldings, high baseboards, oversized windows, beamed coffered ceiling and circular chandelier dangling prism crystals. There is also a Gothic ogee-arched gas fireplace with torch-like sconces, and a built-in shelf unit with wide-screen niche.

The bay window, fireplace and shelf unit define three separate areas for sitting by the sunny view of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, warming up by the fire and watching TV.

Ready for all those functions and more is a corner wet bar with Silestone quartz counter, Fisher & Paykel dishwasher and fridge/freezer drawers in the Arrital gray cabinetry.

Ready for all those functions and more is a corner wet bar with Silestone quartz counter, Fisher & Paykel dishwasher and fridge/freezer drawers in the Arrital gray cabinetry, backsplash of gray-and-white circle and crescent tiles, and a tinted-glass cupboard. A walk-in coat closet is in another corner.

The waterfall island has bar seating for five people, a trio of globe pendant lights, a sink with retractable faucet and a Bosch microwave facing the L-shaped running counter with matching backsplash, waterfall end and a Wolf six-burner gas range.

Brightening the kitchen are two pearly-white Silestone quartz counters. The waterfall island has bar seating for five people, a trio of globe pendant lights, a sink with retractable faucet and a Bosch microwave facing the L-shaped running counter with matching backsplash, waterfall end and a Wolf six-burner gas range.

Concealed in the Arrital gray cabinetry are an oversized Sub-Zero refrigerator with a side freezer and another Fisher & Paykel dishwasher.

The rear bay window illuminates the kitchen and the open dining room where another classic gas fireplace keeps your dinner-party warm.

Completing this floor is a light gray bedroom/office with an en suite bath that makes it an excellent guest suite.

The bath boasts a designer shower with one of several cantilevered flat fixed shower heads and mic-like hand-held shower heads found in every bath.

The primary bathroom has a roomy shower for two and an eggshell-shaped Bain Ultra Celestia Fine Stone soaking tub with a freestanding faucet and hand-held shower head. There’s also a Baden Haus twin-sink floating vanity and an alcove for after-shower towel-drying with a triple towel-warming rack.

Up the stairs is the bedroom level. Past an L-shaped storage closet is the primary bedroom suite that begins with a sunny, spacious spa-like bath boasting a sky-view window with a built-in bench, a roomy shower for two and an eggshell-shaped Bain Ultra Celestia Fine Stone soaking tub with a freestanding faucet and hand-held shower head. There’s also a Baden Haus twin-sink floating vanity and an alcove for after-shower towel-drying with a triple towel-warming rack, a backsplash of elongated hexagon tiles and a door to the water-closet with one of several Porcelanosa dual-flush commodes.

This humongous blue-gray bedroom has three walk-in closets and a front window on the original balcony baluster, painted to resemble an oxidized copper patina.

The humongous blue-gray bedroom has three walk-in closets and a front window on the original balcony baluster, painted to resemble an oxidized copper patina.

Off the common hallway, from which a glass skywalk hallway lets skylight sun into the reception hall, are a common bath with a Porcelanosa tub/shower combo and a walk-in laundry closet with GE washer and dryer. The stairway to the to-be-built private roof deck offers stunning Back Bay and Cambridge views,

A glass skywalk hallway lets skylight sun into the reception hall.

There are also two more bedrooms. The larger of them has twin double-door closets and an en suite bath with step-in shower. The smaller has a slider closet and comfortable office space.

This breathtaking light and space odyssey throughout the residence owes to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of developer David Garabedian, architect J. Peter Vanko, interior designer Claire Gardner and builder Ken Sedaghati, who continue a proud design/build tradition dating back to the building’s construction in 1880-1881.

Designed by Kirby & Lewis and built by Asa Harden Caton as one of three contiguous French Academic Brick style rowhouses with limestone trim, 341 Commonwealth Ave. was initially owned and lived in by leather and wool merchant Nehemiah Webster Rice. It remained in his family until 1931 when it became the Garland School of Homemaking. It later became Garland Junior College - a women’s liberal arts school founded by Mary Garland as an expansion of her teacher-preparatory Garland Kindergarten Training School.

Garland Junior College alumnae included poet Anne Sexton and Tipper Gore, wife of former Vice President Al Gore. In 1976 the school merged with Simmons College and moved out of the Back Bay.

Converted into six condominiums in its centennial year, 341 Commonwealth Ave. became the five-unit Garland Condominium last year. Its just-completed renovation earned it a more luxurious title.

Offered at $7.45 million, Residence 5/PH at The Garland Luxury Residences makes high-end living out of honored history.

Its first open house is scheduled for 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 10.

For details or more information, contact The Annette Given Team of The Charles Realty at 617-236-0353 or annette@thecharlesrealty.com.

Converted into six condominiums in its centennial year, 341 Commonwealth Ave. became the five-unit Garland Condominium last year. Its just-completed renovation earned it a more luxurious title - The Garland Luxury Residences.

DETAILS:

Address: The Garland Luxury Residences, 341 Commonwealth Ave., Residence 5/PH, Back Bay

BR/BA: Four bedrooms, four full bathrooms, one half bath

Levels: Third and fourth floors

Size: 3,734 square feet

Housing type: Duplex penthouse condominium

Price: $7.45 million

Condo fee: $2,194/month, includes professional management, landscaping, snow removal, elevator service, fire safety monitoring, common area maintenance, master insurance policy, water and sewer

Taxes: TBD

Parking: Two elevator-accessible tandem outdoor spaces in rear alley

Year built: 1880-1881, renovated 1931, 1981 and 2022

Number of units: Five

Features: High ceilings, recessed lighting, central heating and air conditioning, soundproofing, seven-inch wide-plank engineered white oak floors, double living room with wet bar including Fisher & Paykel dishwasher and refrigerator/freezer drawers, two gas fireplaces, bay windows, chef’s kitchen with Silestone quartz waterfall island and gas cooking, restored original staircase with glass skywalk hallway and skylight, primary bedroom suite with spa-like bath and two walk-in closets, Baden Haus floating vanities, Porcelanosa commodes and bathtubs, in-unit laundry, private roof deck (to be built), direct keyed elevator access

Building amenities: New stainless steel elevator, carpeted lobby with restored original woodwork, ground-level corridor access to rear parking, landscaped front garden, Butterfly security system allowing smartphone access to units

Close by: Schools, university, houses of worship, medical facilities, shopping and dining on Newbury and Boylston streets, Boston Public Library, parks, fitness trails, boating on the Charles River, Symphony Hall, train and bus public transit, major highway access

Contact: The Annette Given Team at The Charles Realty

Phone: 617-236-0353

Email: annette@thecharlesrealty.com

Websites:https://thegarlandresidences.com or https://www.thecharlesrealty.com/listing/X38832013/341-commonwealth-avenue-boston-ma-02116

Open house:1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 10