Dazzling Back Bay home offers plenty of treats
The former Charles C. Perkins School at 145 St. Botolph in the Back Bay is the answer. The question is what these facts have in common: an award-winning Cambridge architect, a building with a rich and storied heritage plus a grand entry space once described as an “enchanted garden,” and a prime location between the Back Bay, Fenway and South End.
Designed by noted local architect Graham Gund in 1980, the Graham Gund Schoolhouse Condominiums is home to an especially appealing penthouse duplex with 1,265 square feet of living space, two bedrooms, one full bathroom and a half bathroom - listed by Roberta Orlandino of Coldwell Banker Realty for $1,245,000.
About the enchanted garden - well, that’s the unique common area with multi-colored pastel walls, playful rounded openings, angled ceilings and spiral chrome staircase railings. Luckily (for the next owner), the spacious penthouse, which is accessible by elevator, has its own memorable attributes as well.
Large enough for a hall table or chest, the entry foyer also has a knee wall closet that extends seemingly forever into space under the stairs to the second floor. A half bathroom is nearby.
An unexpected amount of storage space is down the hall. One is a regulation double closet, and the other is a versatile space: a deep single with custom shelving and space for bulky items that can work as a pantry, too.
Oak flooring starts at the front door and is throughout the main level, runs up the stairs and trims the landing.
The subtle sheen of stainless steel appliances that include a Bosch dishwasher complement the mellow tones of maple cabinetry - of which there is a goodly amount - in the spacious kitchen. Brilliant Blue Corian countertops with rounded edges and tumbled tile flooring and harmonizing backsplash enhance the low-key, but chic styling in this cookery.
A familiar and occasionally maligned architectural feature - a soffit - is, however, what gives the kitchen star quality. Executed in maple (to match the cabinetry) and curved to echo the rounded angles in the common area, this ordinary detail makes a statement. It’s also very easy on the eyes and has recessed lighting for more illumination (four pendant lights are over the peninsula) when doing prep work.
The rest of the open-concept space that includes the living-dining area is hardly cookie cutter. The vaulted ceiling, which is at least 14 feet high at its peak, adds grandeur and drama to an already impressive space. A large deep-inset skylight with an extra-deep window sill is an instant interior focal point while simultaneously providing urban skyline views.
What’s outside is the rest of the surprise on this level. A private (and sizable) walk-out deck is directly off the living area via full glass pane sliders. Sheltered by high angled walls reminiscent of the vaulted ceiling inside, this outdoor hideaway can accommodate a couple chairs and a table.
A skylight in the open two-story switchback staircase tends to draw all eyes up, but this architectural feature is more than a passageway from one floor to another. The walls, which are more than 14 soaring feet high, are ready made for artwork displays - large and extra-large. Creating your own private art gallery here is a project waiting to happen.
For personal privacy, two large rooms are at each end of the landing. The second floor also has flexible space suitable for multiple uses.
More than large enough for a king-size bed, the primary bedroom is awash in natural light all year long. The three huge skylights also “frame” stunning views of the Pru, the former Hancock Building and other surrounding buildings. A vibrant visual montage, the picture changes constantly throughout the day and night.
Not one, but two double closets in this chamber have custom inserts. One closet extends deep into the eaves.
Essentially whatever you want it to be - a home office and/or guest space or regulation bedroom - the generously-sized second room on this floor is gorgeous and quite bright given its two skylights.
The skylights do more than bring in light. They give both rooms personality and, with the classic urban rooftop views (via the skylights), create a chic atelier-like ambiance.
A laundry closet with a full-size stackable washer and dryer is also on this level.
A privacy wall shields the commode from the double sink vanity in the shared full bathroom. A dash of elegance comes from marble tile on the floor and in the surround of the tub/shower combination that has a regulation shower head and a hand-held spray.
Living on the corner of three popular Boston neighborhoods provides lots of opportunities within easy walking distance. You are less than three blocks to the Prudential, Copley Mall and the Southwest Corridor and about five blocks to all the fabulous shops and restaurants on Newbury Street. The popular Titus Sparrow Park is only a few streets away from home. There’s also easy access to Symphony Hall and the Museum of Fine Arts and only five minutes to the Green and Orange MBTA lines and Back Bay transit lines. And there’s easy access to Route 93 and the Mass Pike.
There will be an open house from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 23.
Address: 145 St. Botolph St., Unit 36, Back Bay
BR/BA: Two bedrooms; one full bathroom; one half bathroom
Size: 1,265 square feet
Taxes: $13,275 (Tax Year 2021)
Year built: 1891/Converted in 1980
Number of units: 22
Assn. fee: $765 monthly (includes heat, hot water, water, sewer, elevator, snow removal, refuse removal, air conditioning, reserve funds)
Features: Two-level penthouse duplex in former Charles C. Perkins School renovated by award-winning, Cambridge-based architect Graham Gund. Elevator building. Open concept living-dining area features vaulted ceiling at least 14-feet high at the peak open to a galley kitchen with stainless steel appliances and excellent storage space. Private walk-out terrace with direct views of the Prudential, Christian Science tower and other well-known Boston landmark buildings. Vaulted ceilings with skylights in rooms on the upper level that has in-unit laundry facilities.
Nearby: Less than three blocks to the Prudential, Copley Mall and the Southwest Corridor. About five blocks to Newbury Street. Easy access to Symphony Hall, the Museum of Fine Arts and Titus Sparrow Park. Five minutes to the Green and Orange MBTA lines and Back Bay transit lines plus easy access to Route 93 and the Mass Pike.
Contact: Roberta Orlandino of Coldwell Banker Realty, 399 Boylston St., Suite, 200, Boston, MA 02116
Open house: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 23