Charlestown Victorian offers comfort and style
A single-family townhouse is always a great find. When that discovery is a majestic Italianate Victorian brick residence with a roof deck on a south-facing corner (that means windows on three sides), be prepared for house envy in CAPS. Built circa 1863, this one-of-a-kind home at 29 High St. in Charlestown has been lovingly restored/maintained and updated. It has the reputation of being one of the most “intact” residences in town.
For example, all corner posts on the staircase are there. A decorative niche in the foyer awaits floral displays or artwork. Mahogany paneled wainscoting, which is in pristine condition, in the foyer and throughout the stairwell is another magnificent example of 19th century craftsmanship.
The ceiling medallions and chandeliers are especially noteworthy. No two are the same and, in true Victorian fashion, each seems to be more intricately carved than the previous one. Each of the decorative marble fireplaces (one is a working gas unit) are also unique.
Soaring 11-foot ceilings, gleaming hardwood floors (in varying woods) and eight-foot-high doors as well as elaborate ceiling, door and window moldings are everywhere in this four-bedroom, 4,100-square-foot home with three full bathrooms and one-half bath listed by Frank Celeste of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty for $2,695,000.
Elaborate molding enhances the curve of the back wall in the elegant formal dining room and showcases the almost floor-to-ceiling windows at the other end. The decorative marble fireplace is another focal point in this room that seats 8-to-10 and more people comfortably.
A walk-in china closet has built-in bookcase-like shelving, complete with decorative trim. Original random width pine boards are in here, too.
Even the half bathroom on this level has 12-inch bump boards.
The step-down peninsula in the galley-like kitchen that seats five also has a sink. A substantial amount of cherry cabinetry surrounds the Viking stainless steel appliances that include a six-burner gas stove with a down-draft exhaust, refrigerator and double ovens.
An open butler’s pantry (with mahogany wainscoting) has a granite countertop with another sink plus a wine cooler. A swing-out pantry cupboard is adjacent to a roomy eat-in area with a gas fireplace and a very decorative marble mantel.
A full glass pane door that has a custom-designed wood screen/storm door leads to the parking area. This outdoor space also works as an urban courtyard.
The “downstairs” staircase that was replicated to match the front one leads to a cozy media room with an exposed brick wall. In addition to cherry floor boards, this room has access to the courtyard.
The laundry room with full-size Maytag machines is off an anteroom that is hardly an afterthought. This has a tumbled tile floor and wainscoting. The wine cellar/closet is here, too.
Additional basement space has brick flooring and an eight-foot high (at least) ceiling. This large room offers substantial storage.
Random width pine floor boards and oversized archways to the second-floor “parlors” are the norm. Massive moldings (at the ceiling and on the bump boards) and an ornamental mantel (over the non-working fireplace flanked by built-in bookcases) are showpieces in the library/den - the former “gentleman’s” parlor.
Unobtrusive but charming, two 19th century details in this room reflect the rich history of this residence. One is the chair rail with plate rack trim; the other is “call” bells that used to summon various staff members.
A full bathroom on this level has marble wainscoting surrounding the cast iron clawfoot tub (with a shower). A marble-topped sink is another eye-catcher in this large space with a tile floor.
An alcove large enough for a piano is one highlight in the “ladies” parlor at the other end of this level, but triple-crown molding (and the ceiling medallion) with decorated with gold leaf is the scene stealer. The classic white marble mantel is a striking accent piece.
While this floor works well for public living spaces, using the entire floor as a luxurious master suite is certainly an option.
Classic details continue even on the third floor with double crown molding in a “back” room that has a wall of closets. The original marble-topped sink and decorative marble mantel in this room and another huge bedroom are also beautiful reminders of days gone by.
The full bathroom on this level, however, is strictly modern. A step-in and fully tiled steam shower is adjacent to a jetted soaking tub. Marble is the stone of choice for the floor and the sink top.
An even larger bathroom on the fourth floor has a clawfoot tub with a shower and a pedestal sink is shared by three bedrooms.
Two bedrooms - almost identical side-by-side spaces - have sweet window niches. They have other distinctive features, too. One has an exposed brick wall; the other a huge walk-in cedar closet. A second cedar closet is in the hallway.
The largest bedroom has a Parisian garret-like feel. The window “niche” views of the nearby rooftops and the Zakim Bridge are captivating. This spacious room has several period features, too, such as double crown molding with dentil trim, an exposed brick wall and an original gas fixture.
Another bonus is the roof deck. Moreover, as this home most likely has the highest roof in town, you can see all the way to the Boston skyline.
Address: 29 High St., Charlestown
BR/BA: Four bedrooms; three full bathrooms; one half bathroom
Size: 4,100 square feet
Year built: 1862
Features: Single-family residence on south-facing corner lot with windows on three sides. Impressive original details include 11-foot ceilings, hardwood flooring, mahogany wainscoting, decorative marble mantels, cornice moldings with picture rails, intricate plaster ceiling medallions. Chef’s kitchen with abundant cherry cabinetry, Viking Professional Series appliances, granite countertops, gas fireplace and butler’s pantry. Formal dining room with curved wall and second floor “drawing” room with piano alcove, library and media room. Private brick courtyard. 350-square-foot roof deck with Boston skyline and harbor views. Off-street parking.
Nearby: One block to Monument Square, less than 10 minutes to Bunker Hill Mall, the North End and Charlestown Navy Yard. Faneuil Hall and Government Center are just beyond. Easy access to Routes 93 and Storrow Drive.
Contact: Frank Celeste, Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, 20 City Square, Charlestown; firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-872-3227.