History, class and style in beautiful Back Bay condo
Torn between the brick-and-brownstone beauty of Victorian Boston and the cast-stone classicism of Roaring ’20s New York? Well, Unit 2 at 180 Marlborough St. in the Back Bay offers a seamless synthesis of the two, owing in large part to its unique history. This beauty is listed by Glenn Forger of Olde Forge Realty.
First built in 1881 as one of two contiguous townhouses designed in French Academic Brick style by Samuel D. Kelley, 180 Marlborough St. was acquired in 1924 by Eliot Wadsworth, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under presidents Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge. Upon resigning that position in 1925 to resettle in Boston, Wadsworth hired his brother Philip’s firm of Bigelow & Wadsworth to redesign the rowhouse according to the trends of the times with a flat brick façade, cast-stone window trim, scrolled cast-iron grillwork, a copper classical balustrade and a rusticated cast-stone first floor.
As a comfortable alternative to the high stoops and staircases of its 19th-century neighbors, the building was retrofitted with an elevator and a street-level lobby entrance with a sunken garden forecourt.
The resulting Park Avenue-style edifice reflected the prosperous postwar era of its owner’s presidents, yet picked up enough of the Back Bay’s architectural heritage to find a good niche in its neighborhood. This cultural crossbreed presents the buyer of Unit 2 with the epitome of vintage urbanity: the high ceilings, tall windows and hardwood floors of the Victorian rowhouse in addition to the classical details and wall-to-wall carpets of the Manhattan apartment, and the marble baths, crown moldings and brass hardware characteristic of both.
All of these and more are contained in a not-so-big duplex - grand in appearance for lavish entertaining, yet modest in size for easier maintenance.
A brick walkway along a fern/shrub garden surrounding a tree, a grilled glass front door flanked by lanterns, a mailbox vestibule with shelves for packages, a fancily carpeted lobby and stairway, and a brass doorknocker introduce the unit with 1920s-style tastefulness.
A small vestibule accesses a coat closet of built-ins and a marble powder room with damask-style ceiling/wall covering, a crystal sconce and a herringbone-patterned marble tile floor before proceeding into the living-dining room where Victorian and Neoclassical blend immaculately.
The living-dining room’s high ceiling with a wood-blade fan grips your guests with awe. The marble-framed wood burning fireplace with a classic mantel en your housewarming. The louver-shuttered rear bay window and the crystal chandelier form a delightful dining area.
Chair rails and picture-hanging rails complement the crown molding.
The room’s layout has as much convenience as class, accessing the bedroom-level stairway by the vestibule and connecting to the galley kitchen from the stairs at one end and the dining bay at the other.
The kitchen’s parallel granite counters with matching backsplashes run along a full set of antique-finished paneled cabinetry with under-cabinet lighting and a lattice cubby for wines. One counter is obstruction-free for buffet or salad-bar preparation and display for luncheon or dinner guests, and it ends at an open appliance garage.
The other counter lines up a full set of Viking Professional stainless appliances plus a deep sink with a soap dispenser and retractable gooseneck faucet for the utmost in cuisine convenience. The electric range has a four-burner smooth-top cooktop and a microwave/vent.
The kitchen corridor proceeds into the breakfast room where a French door opens to a small balcony with a scrolled cast-iron fence and window-grilles for a quick breather or morning coffee.
An overhead transom introduces the family room/office with three-window corner exposure, a wooden ceiling fan and a wall of built-ins with a desk, book/display shelves, drawers and a central TV niche.
A sliding-door closet suits the space for its original third-bedroom use if its door is replaced.
A fluted square column and a cast-iron rail with gilt accents elegantly introduce the stairway down to the fully carpeted bedroom level, where either of the two suites could be the primary. Two facing closets - one linen, one utility - introduce the first bedroom - a boardroom-size space with a ceiling fan, double closet and a built-in shelf-drawer with a TV niche for late-night viewing in bed. There is also a plantation-shuttered window with space for a home-office workstation and room to spare for a dresser, an armoire and more.
The en suite bath boasts a honeycomb-tiled marble floor, a subway-tiled tub/shower combo, a wide-rimmed pedestal sink with tilting mirror and a medicine cabinet lined with mirrors inside and on both sides of the door.
Past a laundry closet with an LG stacked washer/dryer, the hallway continues as a private passage for the other bedroom, which has a ceiling fan and twin closets of built-ins, one with a makeup mirror.
Three clerestory windows with automatic blinds, interspersed by two sconces with glass cylinder lights on brass torch-sticks, yield space for a king-size bed and nightstands. An angled double door by the bed area opens to the en suite bath with a mirror-lined medicine cabinet, marble vanity, tilting mirror and a roomy marble shower. The shower has a glass-block window for light and privacy, a built-in bench and a towel rack with hooks for immediate post-douche drying.
Offered at $2,395,000, Unit 2 at 180 Marlborough St. has cosmopolitan character for the sophisticated city-dweller wanting a taste of both Beantown and the Big Apple in one bite.
For more information, contact Glenn Forger of Olde Forge Realty at 617-293-2395 or email@example.com.
Address: 180 Marlborough St., Unit 2, Back Bay
BR/BA: Three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, one half bath
Size: 1,970 square feet
Housing type: Duplex condominium
Condo fee: $352/month, includes water, sewer, master insurance and elevator
Taxes: $19,946 (TY 2021)
Parking: Resident permit parking; rental parking available nearby
Year built: 1881, renovated 1925, 1982 and c.2015
Number of units: Five
Features: High ceilings, hardwood floors, large windows, recessed lighting, ceiling fans, crown moldings, central heating and air, wood burning fireplace in living room, two dining areas, balcony, granite kitchen with stainless appliances and electric cooking, marble baths, office/bookcase/entertainment built-ins in family room and one bedroom, carpeted lower bedroom level, generous closet storage, in-house laundry
Building amenities: Sunken street-level entrance with front garden, mailbox vestibule with package shelves, carpeted lobby and stairway, elevator, professional management, pet-friendly association
Close by: Houses of worship; schools; shopping and dining; Boston Public Library; parks on Copley Square and Esplanade; boating on the Charles River; public transit on MBTA’s Green and Orange lines, buses, commuter rail and Amtrak
Contact: Glenn Forger of Olde Forge Realty