A sleek living room features a Minotti (minotti.com) sectional sofa and coffee tables from Christian Woo (christianwoo.com).
Downsizing can be an art. Look no further than a 2,775-squarefoot Back Bay townhouse (with a 750-squarefoot roof deck) owned by a couple who decided to ditch suburban living and begin a new phase of their lives surrounded by great food, art and theater. The empty nesters—he’s a partner in a venture capital firm, and she’s a prominent artist—first had to carve out the perfect space. They wanted to explore contemporary and timeless design elements in their new home, but they also wanted to respect historic detail, context and heritage while adding their own personalities.
A cozy dining area with views of Back Bay with Piet Boon (pietboon.com) chairs, MDF Italia (mdfitalia.com) table, Apparatus Studio (apparatusstudio.com) lighting and a B&B Italia (bebitalia.com) lounge.
First, though, the couple had to contend with a complete redesign and gut job of the property, led by teams from FBN Construction (fbnconstruction.com) and Hacin + Associates (hacin.com). It was the perfect dynamic duo to take on a complicated job. “Typically, we work closely with the homeowners and the project’s design partners—in this case, Eduardo Serrate with David Hacin,” says Chris Magliozzi, executive vice president at FBN. “We listen to everyone and give feedback as to schedule, budget and overall constructability. We’re extremely collaborative and provide as close to realtime feedback to the whole team so that everyone has enough accurate and current information to make informed decisions. Transparency, openness and honesty are central to our ethos.”
The family owns an extensive art collection, and the home’s light-filled design gives each piece the gallery treatment.
A comfortable spot in the living room: part of a Minotti sectional.
Hacin is quick to point out that the guiding architectural mission of the project was a showcase for art. “They’re both art lovers, and they wanted an elegant, gallerylike space to act as a backdrop to their rotating collection,” says Hacin, who notes the artist in the family wanted her art to be interspersed with other tremendous works the couple owned.
Mark Albrecht (markalbrechtstudio.com) lighting and stools set the tone in the sleek and utilitarian kitchen.
Much like a great gallery where everything has its place, the couple also was conscious of each detail, says Magliozzi. He and his FBN team welcomed the owner-builder collaboration. “We really enjoyed working through the details with these folks on the job, right down to wooden, hidden hatches to hide floor outlets and personally making knurled knobs for a mirror light,” he says. “They love light and wanted to make sure the space showcased their art.” The clients were steadfast about keeping walls and ceiling as clutter-free as possible, says Hacin, who worked with FBN’s crew to conceal extemporaneous details, such as kitchen appliances via pocketing doors. “The FBN team is detail-oriented like us, so they took the time to problem-solve in a thoughtful way,” says Hacin.
A mini working nook in the master bedroom features a chair from B&B Italia (bebitalia.com) and art from Julia Blackmon (julieblackmon.com).
Special design and construction challenges also popped up, including the stairs, where the clients wanted to bridge the gap, courtesy of HDI (hdistair. com), between traditional and contemporary design. The team also added stairs from the first to second floor and from the second floor to the roof deck. A gorgeous glass-box effect also reveals itself in the master bedroom, as the bathroom can be entirely closed off via a sliding partition door—revealing a semitranslucent wall that draws in natural light from the bedroom space. “It was challenging to find the right track that was smooth enough and held the weight of the sliding partition door,” says Hacin. “It was also important to the client that the door be concealable and fit into the wall.”
The home sits in Boston’s historic Back Bay neighborhood
In the kitchen, the design called for concealment of appliances, and FBN teamed up with Furniture Design Services (furnituredesignservices.com) to craft long, floor-to-ceiling millwork that holds kitchen equipment, books and a bar. This bonus space offers “practical storage and conceals odd masonry bumps while providing a consistent gesture through the house,” says Hacin.
Interior design and material choices—including soft, honed stones, rich wood flooring and a neutral palette—were tackled by the Hacin team. “The design team felt that, when using a restrained color palette, emphasizing texture is important,” he says. Carpets include a 150-knot Tibetan weave silk and aloe blend from Steven King Carpets (skcarpets.com), and the window treatments are Saxon cloth linen sheer from de Le Cuona via Studio 534 (s5boston.com).
One of the most stunning perks of the home is a rooftop deck.
Decor highlights include Mark Albrecht stools and an MDF Italia table—both via Casa Design Group (casadesigngroup.com)—in the kitchen and dining areas, respectively. The media room features an Eilersen sectional sofa from Lekker Home (lekkerhome.com) and Minotti (minotti.com) lounge chairs sourced from Montage. With these pieces and others serving as a sleek backdrop, the walls were populated with art from modern masters like Jane Maxwell (janemaxwell.com), John Vinton (johnvintonart.com), Bill Thompson (billthompsonstudio.com) and Pedro Bonnin (pedrobonnin.com). The home looks chic but lives comfortably, proving that when outstanding design and construction work in tandem, an elevated aesthetic always shines.
ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN
Hacin + Associates
Chair, master bedroom
Coffee table, living room
Stools, lighting in kitchen
Sectional sofa, living room
Carpet, living room