Dream home offers grand luxury living in the Back Bay

With custom cabinetry, stone countertops and a built-in banquette, the contemporary kitchen is a delight. High-end appliances include a Sub-Zero refrigerator, two wall ovens and an induction cooktop.

In 1873, 191 Commonwealth Ave. was known as the Agassiz Hotel, built as six luxurious floor-through residences intended for families. With 18 to 20 rooms each, these dwellings were enormous.

By 1952, the building had been subdivided into 16 apartments and in 1973, the development was converted to condominiums.

The brick and stone structure, which stands at the corner of Commonwealth Avenue and Exeter Street, may remind passersby of a castle. This massive building is something of a Back Bay landmark.

The front door is splendid and a striking stairway emanates from the main lobby. 

The front door to this home is splendid and a beautiful stairway emanates from the main lobby.

A look at parlor-level Unit 3 confirms that luxury still prevails here. The unit’s European flair, enhanced by soaring ceiling height, hardwood flooring and elegant marble fireplaces, tells a story. The warm natural light that pours in through the tall windows is an additional luxury – the building is on the sunny side of Commonwealth Avenue. 

“It’s really grand,” says Allison Mazer of Compass, “It’s jaw-dropping.”

Mazer has the listing for this elegant home, which is on the market for $3,300,000.

The unit’s entry foyer is a welcoming space that is perfect for displaying art. It’s a hint of what’s to come here: every room provides more opportunities to show off an art collection. The neutral walls and voluminous entertaining rooms will tempt the new homeowner to create a personal gallery, hanging favorite paintings and displaying objets d’art.

Turn the corner into the kitchen. It’s a beauty, sporting custom white and glass cabinetry and black and white stone on the counters and island top. A spacious pantry stores every kitchen necessity.

The appliances are stainless steel, including a tall Sub-Zero refrigerator, integrated wall ovens and an induction cooktop that is certain to delight the knowledgeable home chef. The microwave is installed over the cooktop. 

A built-in banquette upholstered in a rich color gives friends and family members a place to sit by the window while keeping company with the person preparing the meal. 

A French door leads to the unit’s bright, spacious dining room. Depending on how the space is arranged, a very large table could fit nicely into the room.

Flowing from the kitchen, the sun-splashed dining room boasts charming features, such as a French door, a pair of two-over-two windows and a carved marble fireplace. The current owners have added a table that seats six people, illuminated by a pendant light fixture. There is likely enough room for an even larger table.

They have also placed a loveseat and occasional chairs against the walls, showing that this room could be enjoyed as a hangout space, a place to sit and enjoy hors d’oeuvres before the main meal is served.

The gracious living room is a great place to entertain. The marble fireplace, high ceiling, hardwood floors and tall windows add charm from another era.

Relaxing and tasteful, the formal living room offers an alternative place to entertain. Another striking marble fireplace is the focal point with detailed relief work on the mantel. Natural light from three tall windows reflects off the satiny hardwood floors.

Recessed lighting in the high ceiling provides illumination at night, along with the contemporary sconces on the fireplace wall. Guests will want to linger in this room and favorably, this space is generous enough to fill with lots of comfortable furnishings.

Whether the new owners prefer contemporary, transitional or traditional style, any combination will work in this bright, airy room.

One of the unit’s bedroom suites is located on this side of the home. Its angled walls raise the charm quotient and it provides lots of storage in a walk-in closet. The en suite bath is tiled in white, flaunting a row of smaller stone accents. The complementing matte brass fixtures add polish to the pedestal sink and daylight enters through a good-sized window. This bathroom could be the one your guests use due to its proximity to the living and dining rooms.

This bedroom suite is restful with two windows, a tall built-in bookshelf and a wide walk-in closet to accommodate a large wardrobe.

The other two bedrooms are on the opposite side of the home. The primary bedroom suite is restful with two windows, a tall built-in bookshelf and a wide walk-in closet to accommodate a large wardrobe. 

The primary bathroom includes a deep soaking tub and a step-in shower. The double vanity allows two people to get ready at the same time, and provides cabinets and drawers to store everything desired for a luxury bathing experience.

Most impressive is the spa-like primary bathroom. A deep soaking tub and a step-in shower offer options for cleansing. The double vanity allows two people to get ready at the same time, and provides cabinets and drawers to store everything desired for a luxurious preparation/readiness experience.

The third bedroom has exposures on two sides and a well-appointed bathroom.

Unit 3 comes with three bedrooms. This one has exposures on two sides and a well-appointed bathroom.

From the unit’s private bedrooms to its more public spaces, this is a generously proportioned home to share with family and friends.

While the building is no longer considered a “family hotel” the way it was in the 1870s, it is easy to imagine that the next owner would choose to raise a family here in the former Agassiz Hotel. It’s a doorman building that offers service and security and its location is prime. 

The Commonwealth Avenue Mall is an expansive park-like space that becomes the home’s front yard, spectacular in every season.

The Back Bay is a great place to live, easily walkable and bikeable. Cultural and social events – such as sailing or paddle boarding on the Charles River, ice skating at the Public Garden lagoon, experiencing music and exercise programs on the Esplanade, and attending a plethora of special events at the Copley Square Library or Boston Athenæum – happen regularly. There’s convenient shopping and dining on Boylston Street, Newbury Street and at the Prudential Center. And for those who love baseball, Fenway Park is just a few stops away on the MBTA’s Green Line.

Built in 1873 as the Agassiz Hotel, a “family hotel”, the building is almost castle-like in its gravitas. Originally, there were six floor-through units in the hotel Now 16 condominiums occupy the space.


Address: 191 Commonwealth Ave., Unit 3, Back Bay

BR/BA: Three bedrooms, three full bathrooms

Built: 1872-1873, converted to condominiums in 1973 

Price: $3,300,000

Size: 2,323 square feet

Taxes: $29,711

Association fee: $1,427 (includes water, sewer, master insurance, elevator)

Building features: Historic luxury building constructed in 1872-1873 as the Agassiz Hotel on the sunny side Commonwealth Avenue. Doorman elevator building with a majestic front entrance and period staircase. Pet-friendly building with some restrictions. There is a waiting list for parking behind the building.

Unit features: Spacious, sunny, beautifully designed home with contemporary updates and elegant features that include high ceilings, French doors, hardwood floors, and two ornamental marble fireplaces. Ideal for entertaining with large living and dining rooms. Nicely-appointed kitchen with custom cabinetry, granite countertops, island with storage and a breakfast bar, stainless steel appliances including a Sub-Zero refrigerator and induction cooktop, and upholstered banquette seating. Three attractive bedrooms and baths with gorgeous spa-like primary bathroom. Laundry in unit.

Close by: Restaurants, shopping and cultural attractions of the Back Bay and downtown Theatre District. Easy access to MBTA Green Line and Orange Line and Back Bay Commuter Rail Station. Convenient to Route 93, Storrow Drive and the Massachusetts Turnpike.

Contact: Allison Mazer, Compass Realty, 136 Newbury St., 2nd floor, Boston MA 02116

Phone: 617-905-7379

Email: Allison.Mazer@Compass.com


Video: https://www.dropbox.com/s/0g0o3i326ot21bk/191%20Commonwealth.mp4?dl=0