Many options in this beautifully renovated Back Bay townhouse
A multifamily townhouse at 434 Marlborough St. in the Back Bay offers an unusual angle on luxury living - physically and economically.
Physically, its Payne | Bouchier renovation picks up the angles of the 1885 rowhouse’s chamfered bay windows to create angular counters, walls, bath fixtures and layouts that add visually quirky, but spatially efficient dimensions to the kitchen, primary bedroom suite, bathrooms and garden-level rental/au pair/in-law unit.
Economically, this unit could generate as much as $3,800 per month, or $45,600 per year, to defray mortgage and tax payments on the property, said Robb Cohen of the Engel & Völkers Robb Cohen Team, who are offering 434 Marlborough at $5.4 million. “If someone wanted to make this into a triplex/garden condo, you could make this into two units,” he added. “A lot of flexibility. A lot of options.”
Flexibility also characterizes the spaces. From the oak-floored foyer with mahogany marquetry patterned border trim, four paneled pillars introduce the living room, which receives radiant light and versatile space from the bay window and the floor-through layout back to the bay-windowed kitchen. Storage, a bookshelf and entertainment space are also copious, especially the TV-screen niches behind the double folding doors of the built-ins that flank the classic fireplace.
Double folding French doors introduce the granite kitchen, which mimics its bay window’s angles with an angled, wing-ended sink counter. This forms a diagonal lane with a parallel counter and china cabinet as a passage between the living and dining rooms. (That counter’s wall creates the foyer’s angled coat closet on the opposite side.)
A diagonal island breakfast bar with conical pendant lights is by the southeastern bay window. Counters flank a Viking Professional four-burner gas range. White-glazed cherry cabinetry incorporates a dishwasher, a Sub-Zero two-temperature-zone wine cooler, and a deluxe Viking refrigerator with ice/water dispenser.
The dining room contrasts the chamfered bay theme with a semicircular bow theme. A bow window provides a plant shelf. An etched-glass French door opens to a bowed balcony, surrounded by trees and the rental unit’s and neighbors’ gardens as a peaceful oasis for grilling, coffee or cocktails.
The building’s southwestern firewall, skew-angled to follow Marlborough Street’s curve, allows the dining room extra banquet space and angles the foyer’s stairway outward for roomier reception and wider guest passage to and from the dining area.
This passage has a storage closet, a powder room with a woodgrain-finish glass bowl sink on a bowed marble-top vanity and the angled coat closet.
The stairway accesses two bedroom levels with flexible spaces for many options - home office, gym, family room, nursery, dressing room, etc. - and for growing a family while growing income from the rental unit.
Angles abound in the carpeted primary bedroom, in accord with the bay window that grants it sitting space and southeastern exposure. An angled wall directs the bed towards the bay for more sun to wake to. This also allows for closet and drawer built-ins on one side of the wall and expanded bath space on the other.
Paralleling the built-ins is an angled walk-in closet of built-in shoe/linen shelves and coat racks. More built-in cabinetry flanks a fireplace.
In the en suite marble bath, 45-degree angles created room for the marble-based soaking tub with overhead display shelves, the spacious benched shower and one of the two marble vanities.
The second bedroom has a bay window on Marlborough Street and a fireplace flanked by cabinet/bookcase/drawer built-ins - suitable for home office or family room use. The abutting study could be an office, gym, dressing room or nursery.
Upstairs, both bedrooms have walk-in closets and fireplaces flanked by built-ins. The front bedroom has a rooftop view of Marlborough Street; the rear one has a quiet garden/alley view for a good night’s sleep.
The bath/laundry’s wing-ended granite corner vanity recalls the bay window’s angles. A granite sorting counter conveniently tops the LG washer and dryer. Cherry cabinetry and a diagonal marble-tile floor elegantly finish the bath/laundry. A versatile study-office-gym completes this level.
Further up is a copper-clad headhouse with a gable skylight and a sand-finish granite wet bar with maple cabinetry, a Fisher & Paykel dishwasher and Sub-Zero fridge. This introduces the 1,000-square-foot two-level roof deck where cocktails and dinner parties can be enjoyed amid a vintage view of Victorian roofs and chimneys with few skyscrapers.
The rental unit feels like a microcosm of the main triplex, containing its essentials in a 1,100-square-foot footprint with a separate entrance.
The carpeted living room features a garden bay window and a classic gas fireplace flanked by built-in shelves and a highboy alcove. The contiguous dining room opens out to the garden.
The kitchenette comes complete with a granite sink counter overlooking the dining room for handy food service and after-dinner cleanup, an angled granite counter with lots of food-prep space, paneled maple cabinetry, a Jenn-Air four-burner gas range, a Sub-Zero refrigerator and a Bosch dishwasher.
The carpeted bedroom exposes the brick firewall and receives just enough light from an upper bay window that can double as a display shelf. Its bath boasts a benched shower and a wide vanity.
The walled-in garden with knee-wall planters is a cozy paradise of brick-red, leaf-green and quiet relief from urban clamor, where morning coffee, cocktails, al fresco dining and more can be enjoyed in peaceful tranquility.
The upstairs dining room’s bowed balcony forms a shelter at the garden’s entrance and a private exit to the rear alley provides the unit’s second means of egress.
Angle your house-hunting fishing line towards 434 Marlborough St. for a choice catch of comfortable quarters and investment income all in one.
For more information, contact Robb Cohen at 617-962-0142 or email@example.com.
Address: 434 Marlborough St., Back Bay
BR/BA: Five bedrooms + two studies, three full bathrooms, one half bath
Size: 4,500 square feet
Housing type: Two-unit multifamily
Price: $5.4 million
Taxes: $40,364/year (2021) without the City of Boston’s residential tax exemption of $3,153
Parking: Two deeded tandem parking spaces across street, plus resident permit parking
Year built: 1885, renovated 1985, 2004 and 2011-2021
Number of units: Two
Number of floors: Four + roof deck
Features: High ceilings; hardwood floors; Lutron recessed lighting with dimmer switches; wiring and wireless for Internet; surround sound in living room, primary bedroom and front home office; four-zone central heating and air conditioning; new plumbing; five fireplaces; granite chef’s kitchen with stainless appliances and gas cooking; primary bedroom suite with separate sitting/office area; generous closet storage; in-house laundry; semicircular rear balcony; electrified roof deck served by headhouse with skylight and wet bar; complete garden-level au pair/in-law/rental unit with separate entrance from street and walled-in rear garden with exit to alley; location on quiet street
Close by: Houses of worship; shopping and dining; art galleries; Boston Public Library; parks on Copley Square and Esplanade; boating on the Charles River; sports facilities; public transit on Green and Orange lines, buses, commuter rail and Amtrak
Contact: Robb Cohen of the Engel & Völkers Robb Cohen Team