Here’s a rare chance to buy a historical South Boston jewel
Heed not the siren call of the suburbs: more living space, more bedrooms, more bathrooms, a media room, wet bar, grassy fenced yard, grilling deck, three-car garage, in-law/au pair/rental space, midway between the beach, shopping and restaurants, just to name a few. Head to South Boston’s Telegraph Hill instead for suburban living with a dash of 19th century history.
The destination is the 1805 John Hawes House at 568 E. 5th St. This is said to be the earliest extant building in South Boston, built for one of the most influential and generous families of the early 19th century.
During his lifetime, Hawes made land grants for a burial ground, grammar school and congregational church and created a trust that established public schools, including one for girls. The grand Federal home even served as a parsonage.
Today, the unassuming, yet elegant building on a corner lot that blends seamlessly into the neighborhood has all the essentials, preferences and extras for modern lifestyles such as 5,888 square feet of living space, five bedrooms, five full bathrooms and a half bath in the main house. Plus, there’s a 900-square-foot carriage house apartment with a private entrance, one full bathroom and a half bathroom along with laundry facilities.
The entire property is listed by Todd Anzlovar of Coldwell Banker Realty for $3,695,000.
Many aspects of the 2007 wall-to-wall renovation/restoration plus additional upgrades in 2020 that include insulation, reframing, new electric, etc., are hidden. What you do see beyond the double front doors, however, are visual delights.
All four levels have gracious, large and well-proportioned rooms awash in natural light via deep set six-over-six windows with sills at least a foot deep. Incidentally, this home has four exposures and double-digit windows. Two sides alone have 28 windows!
Oh, the house has four chimneys and eight fireplaces!
Identical tray ceilings, paneled wainscoting, triple crown molding, foot-high bump boards and gleaming oak flooring with double mahogany inlay trim create uniformity in the open front-to-back living-dining room. Two distinct fireplaces - the floor-to-ceiling, flush-mount brick version in the living room and the extra-wide stunner with an arched limestone mantelpiece in the dining room - add pizzazz.
In the kitchen, function and form are indistinguishable. Consider the statement-making Thermador eight-burner gas range with two ovens topped by a vent hood with a heat lamp, the island with a sink and storage, the step-down peninsula that seats four people, and a substantial amount of custom cabinetry with under-mount lighting. A unique brick-front fireplace reminiscent of a mini-pizza oven is a conversation starter.
Flexibility reigns, too. Fully open to the cookery, a large space anchored by a gorgeous fireplace works for casual dining (breakfast, lunch, snacks, etc.) or as a family room. A long bank of cabinetry with glass front uppers is extra prep/serving space and/or bar area when entertaining.
With four bedrooms, the second floor is a destination as is the staircase itself that marries 19th and 21st century technology: an outstanding mahogany newel post and built-in lighting in the stairwell.
Walk-in closets are practically standard in every sizable sleeping chamber. Even the current office, which could be bedroom number four, has a double closet plus a floor-to-ceiling brick fireplace for character. Maytag laundry machines, a Jack ’n’ Jill bathroom with a soaking tub and a full bathroom with a step-in shower are also on this level.
As nice as all this is (and it is), the third-floor primary suite is an “Aaah” moment. Original exposed beams with 19th century peg connectors and period floor-to-rafter brick-front fireplace draw attention to the vaulted bead board ceiling in the massive sleeping chamber. Closet space is extraordinary with two custom walk-in affairs. One is regulation size; the other is enormous and has a window overlooking the deck.
That the en suite bathroom feels like a spa is hardly surprising. Heated flooring and a grand glass-enclosed walk-in shower with three sprays - hand-held, rain head and wall-attached - make this luxurious loo a retreat.
Save the “Wow” for the adjacent spacious sitting room/den. Beefy exposed beams are rustic counterpoints to classic, five-foot high mahogany paneling that surrounds the room anchored by a fireplace at one end and a wet-bar with a wine fridge. French doors lead to a huge grilling deck with built-in seating, sound system, electricity and water.
Another bedroom has an en suite bathroom, too.
On the fully finished lower level with a family room/media center, practical elements such as radiant heated flooring, a full bathroom, closets and storage options everywhere win rave reviews. But it’s unexpected features such as exposed ceiling beams, a full wet bar that seats four people and two brick-lined wine closets with barrel ceilings that generate smiles.
If the lower level is dessert, the icing on the cake (literally) is the Widow’s Walk. A full staircase leads to the classic structure with built-in wraparound seating and 360-degree views that include the Financial District and the Hancock Building, a.k.a., the Berkeley Building.
If you also like sprinkles on your cake, check out the garage. Waxing ecstatic over a garage - even one with three bays - might seem extreme were it not for several facts. One, this car park is in the heart of a city known for its street-parking challenges; two, the floors are heated; three, cars pull in via a two-to-three-car driveway; and four, it has access to a fully fenced, grass-covered yard!
Address: 568 E. 5th St., South Boston
BR/BA: Six bedrooms; six full bathrooms; two half bathrooms
Size: 6,788 square feet
Year built: 1805; Restored/renovated: 2007; Upgraded: 2020
Features: Renovations and 2020 upgrades include oak flooring and custom millwork throughout; chef’s kitchen with eight-burner Thermador gas range, hood with heat lamp; open-flow living-dining room; lower-level media/family room two wine closets; eight fireplaces; Widow’s Walk with built-in seating; grilling deck with electricity, water and sound system; three-bay garage with heated floors and two-car driveway; grassy, fenced yard
Nearby: East Broadway shops, businesses and eateries; Independence Square, Christopher Lee Playground; Carson Beach, Castle Island, Fort Independence; Route 93
Contact: Todd Anzlovar, Coldwell Banker Realty, 399 Boylston St., Suite 200, Boston, MA 02116