Lots of luxury offered in this updated Back Bay penthouse
Described by The Boston Globe as a “six-story steel and terra cotta structure…with a front of Indiana limestone and granite foundations [and] every modern improvement” when it opened as The Empire apartment hotel in 1895, 333 Commonwealth Ave. in the Back Bay still lives up to that description as a condominium, as the extensively improved Unit PH22 attests.
For one, the steel and terra cotta structure provides the 2,796-square-foot, four-bedroom penthouse unit with as much soundproofing as fireproofing.
“The nice thing about the building is it’s all terra cotta blocks so there’s no noise,” said current co-owner Jennifer Steber.
The soundproofing was upgraded with new Pella Architect Series double-paned windows and doors and a quieter, yet stronger kitchen vent hood - two of the many modern improvements the Stebers made to the unit upon occupying it in 2016.
The others included a new kitchen Bosch dishwasher, disposal and opening to the dining room; new customized closets with full-length lighted mirrors; a new ventilation condenser and air handler that are cleaned and checked regularly; a new water heater; a new living-room fireplace liner; updated lighting and electrical wiring, including panels; and refinished hardwood floors.
Supplementing this were the condo association’s total-building replacement of window surrounds, hard-wiring of the fire-protection system, cleaning and sealing of the common roof deck and installation of a new common bathroom in the lavishly ornamented lobby.
All of the above, coupled with superior maintenance and security services including a very helpful concierge, will give you rock-solid peace of mind in Unit PH22. And so will its location with all of a Back Bay townhouse’s features near one another on one floor, facilitating aging in place as well as room-to-room circulation.
The latter is readily apparent as you enter a rarity even in larger homes: a double foyer. Divided by a paneled column, it provides immediate central access to all rooms with no dark corridors to go down. It also reinvents the foyer as a true social gathering arena and art gallery, not just a place to leave coats, hats, scarves, footwear and umbrellas (two sizable closets flank the entry for that purpose).
If you’re hungry, on your right is the kitchen that efficiently lays out all stainless appliances and generous storage in an elegant context of laminate maple-finish cabinetry, black granite island and running counters plus a dry bar and rainbow-black mosaic tile backsplashes.
The Jenn-Air refrigerator has a freezer drawer. A Bosch double oven is beside it. The running counter’s longer leg has two sinks with gooseneck faucets. The Electrolux electric smooth-top cooktop has six burners.
Glass saucer pendant lights hover over the island. Over the cabinet-encased dry bar are mirror-backed glass shelves for displaying your finest china and glassware.
The kitchen flows openly into the formal dining room that is distinguished with a broad art wall and a contemporary chandelier of rods projecting frosted globe-lights into space. This is negotiable with the purchase of the unit as is the Sony TV screen between the kitchen and dining room. They both access a fire-escape balcony with stunning views stretching from the Back Bay toward downtown Boston.
Straight ahead from the grand central foyer is the living room, which boasts a double crown molding and a woodburning fireplace framed in a modern stainless steel mantel. Above this is another Sony TV - also negotiable. The space is brightened by a bow window from which a northwestern skyline view of the Back Bay and MIT spreads out before you like a richly textured carpet.
Another bow window lets the same light and views into the primary bedroom where a fireplace was closed off with drywall, but can be reopened.
The bedroom steps up to a palatial carpeted dressing room - replete with closets and shelves for two growing wardrobes.
This steps down into an open bath that immediately introduces twin sinks in a veined brown marble counter lined by mirrors on three sides.
On the right, a corridor of cabinets leads to a benched marble shower. At left is a windowed water-closet. (The bath’s carpeting can be removed to reveal a tiled floor.)
The three other bedrooms and their shared bath are accessible from the foyer’s left-hand side: one near the main entrance, the others off a small hall that also accesses the bath in-between them.
The first and second bedrooms share a fire-escape balcony with great Back Bay views. The third bedroom has northwestern corner exposure and a closeted Asko stacked washer/dryer.
Beside this is the shared marble bath, which features a black granite bowfront vanity with freestanding bowl sink, a built-in mirror framed in scrolled mosaic tiles, and a marble shower with fixed and hand-held shower heads.
All bedrooms have carpeting and copious closet space.
Accessible from the stunning skylight atrium that precedes the unit is the three-level common roof deck. With its breathtaking Boston-Cambridge skyview panorama, it is an awesome place to watch the July 4 fireworks with your neighbors. It is also one of many common areas that receive regular maintenance.
“We have the most amazing maintenance guy,” said Steber. “He cleans from top to bottom every day.” The Indiana limestone and granite façade recently received a cleaning as well.
Offered at $4,695,000, Unit PH22 at 333 Commonwealth Ave. offers a rare combination of one-level living convenience, high-end home improvement and meticulous maintenance.
For more information, contact Julie Harrison (617-413-6332, Julie.Harrison@SothebysRealty.com) or Mary Conner (617-861-7434 or Mary.Conner@SothebysRealty.com), both of Gibson-Sotheby’s International Realty.
Address: 333 Commonwealth Ave., Unit PH22, Back Bay
BR/BA: Four bedrooms, two full bathrooms
Size: 2,796 square feet
Housing type: One-level condominium
Condo fee: $2,263/month, includes water, sewer, master insurance, security, elevator, exterior maintenance, snow removal, extra storage, refuse removal, reserve funds, management fee
Taxes: $34,958 (Tax Year 2020)
Parking: One direct-access garage space, one outdoor tandem space
Year built: 1895, renovated 2016
Number of units: 24
Features: High ceilings, recessed lighting, crown moldings, hardwood floors, two-zone central heating, central air conditioning, double foyer, woodburning fireplace, custom granite eat-in kitchen with electric cooking and stainless appliances, primary bedroom suite with oversized dressing room and spa-like bath, in-unit laundry, private elevator access on two lower floors, two deeded tandem garage parking spaces, extra storage closet
Building amenities: Elevator, common roof deck, daily cleaning and vacuuming of common areas, trash/recycling removal, snow removal including from outdoor parking, in-house maintenance, concierge (9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays.; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays; noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays)
Close by: Schools; houses of worship; medical facilities; shopping and dining on Newbury and Boylston streets; Boston Public Library; parks; fitness trails; boating on the Charles River; public transit on MBTA Green and Orange lines, buses, commuter rail and Amtrak; highway access
Contact: Julie Harrison or Mary Conner of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty
Phone: 617-413-6332 (Julie), 617-861-7434 (Mary)
Email: Julie.Harrison@SothebysRealty.com, Mary.Conner@SothebysRealty.com