Article by By Todd Larson
Eager to build as much as possible with as little as possible, many home renovators have jettisoned the meticulous hand-wrought craftsmanship of historical eras for the expedient economy of modern prefab materials from plasterboard to plastics – except at Maison Vernon on Beacon Hill.
The very name of this seven-unit rehabilitation of 41 Mt. Vernon St. bespeaks the European craft traditions and internationally-sourced materials that went into its details and finishes, including the French oak floors, Italian wrought-iron grates and hand-carved marble mantels, and hand-cast plaster corner cartouches and crown moldings. That is how Adige Design of Italy and France, together with Chevron Partners and Meyer & Meyer Architects of Boston, elevated the 1917 building’s classical style to new heights beyond its corner location at the top of Beacon Hill.
Those heights include 13-foot ceilings and tall windows in the 3,392-square-foot Unit 1B, which fully capitalizes on those features, plus Joy Street’s downward slope and southern exposure, to offer sun-filled, full-height duplex living on both its street and garden levels.
Introducing Maison Vernon’s Franco-Italian finesse are the iron-grilled center-arch entrance, flanked by columns and spiraling topiary, followed by the paneled white lobby with a cove-lit tray ceiling and chevron-patterned marble flooring.
With European propriety, a 24-hour concierge will open the door for you, help with groceries, receive deliveries as well as valet your car to and from a local garage, etc. – just like your private butler.
Just past the marble concierge desk is Unit 1B’s entry, which introduces the majestic floor-through living-dining-kitchen space, unified by a Parisian oak floor laid in a chevron pattern that befits the developer’s name. Your stories live here. Fuel your hometown passion and plug into the stories that define it.
Soaring arched windows splash the living room with bright corner exposure from the wide Mt. Vernon/Joy intersection and bring in color from window box flowers.
Concealed shades can be voice-activated or phone-programmed to rise out of the sills and control the light to your taste. Similarly, the central heating and air conditioning can be adjusted remotely from your phone so you can come right home to your preferred room temperature. The smart-home technology expertise of Chris Roehl of InCommand Systems of Boston made all this possible.
It also allows a remote-controlled gas fireplace in the living room, framed with a Beaux-Arts mantel of white marble imported from a Carrara quarry in Italy and lavishly carved in curves, scrolls, leaves and flowers.
Complementing this are wall moldings and pilasters, leafy corner cartouches, egg-and-dart and acanthus-leaf crown moldings and cove ceiling lighting.
The central dining area has one of several wrought-iron heat grills throughout the unit, cast in Italy with Maison Vernon’s logo combining “M” and “V.”
The dining room continues the arched-window grandeur into the open kitchen, where more imported Carrara marble forms a contemporary ASTRA Cucine Italian kitchen. The waterfall island contains a trash/recyclables bin, a Miele stainless dishwasher, a Wolf microwave drawer and a Sub-Zero wine cooler. There are also pop-up electrical outlets painted to match the marble and toe-kick lighting for midnight snackers.
The L-shaped wall counter and backsplash integrate a Franke stainless sink with a hot water spigot and Wolf four-burner gas range. Contrasting the marble’s veined white are dark woodgrain cabinetry and a stainless Sub-Zero refrigerator. Either of the deep pantry closets can accommodate a wet bar.
A powder room with an innovative Porcelanosa tapered cylindrical sink and wall-hung commode precedes the stepped hall where a complete laundry center with a Whirlpool washer/dryer precedes the primary bedroom suite.
The radiant floor-heated en suite bath with four windows is an extravaganza of Carrara marble. Enveloping the Porcelanosa soaking tub are a towel-warming rack, walnut twin-sink vanity, mirror-door medicine cabinets with integrated lighting and electrical outlets and a windowed water-closet. There’s also an oversized shower with rain and hand-held showerheads and linear floor drain. This marble haven bathes the ambiance in old-world elegance.
The bedroom reprises the living room’s old-world elegance with another carved Carrara marble mantel surrounding a remote-controlled gas fireplace, two arched windows with great views of Beacon Hill’s gas lamps and trees, and acanthus-leaf crown molding.
The Italian oak floor proceeds through a frosted-glass door into an Olivieri Mobili walk-in closet. Its custom built-ins, including leather-handled drawers and slanting shoe shelves, have accent strip lighting.
A contemporary oak stairway with slender black iron rails descends to two more bedrooms and baths. The second suite’s bath boasts a radiant-heated marble floor, Porcelanosa textured wall tiles and a dual-head shower with a linear floor drain.
The second bedroom has unusually high double-hung windows for a garden-level space, kudos again to Joy Street’s deep downgrade. For ultra-flexible light adjustment, these windows have bottom-up, top-down automatic shades. The Olivieri Mobili walk-in closet matches the one in the primary bedroom.
The third bedroom is more intimate, but also has large windows. The adjacent bath repeats the primary bath’s towel-warming rack and the second bath’s textured wall tiles. The family room has vertical moss/plant gardens outside the windows and a wet bar with a Sub-Zero beverage center. Nearby is a wine cellar full of imported red, rosé and white wines that come with the property.
Also coming with the property are volumes of history. Designed by Oscar A. Thayer and Brainerd Leeds, 41 Mt. Vernon St. was built for the United Society of Christian Endeavor – an organization founded to help churches “engage youth in an active religious life,” according to the Boston Landmarks Commission. Following World War II, the building housed offices of Little, Brown & Co. publishers until the Unitarian Universalist Association acquired it in 1997 for their publisher – Beacon Press. The UUA sold it to Mt. Vernon Partners LLC for condo conversion in 2014.
Offered at $7,499,000, Unit 1B at Maison Vernon blends an abbondanza of old-school opulence with an amplitude of new-age novelty, bringing Beacon Hill luxury back to its roots and forward to the future.