Just a few years ago, Morse Constructions completed improvements to a lovely Wellesley home. As the owners looked forward to their retirement years, however, the city lights beckoned. They bought a floor in a co-op building on Berkeley Street in Boston’s Back Bay and asked Morse to do a major renovation.
The 3,600 square foot home is located on the fourth floor of a building constructed in the 1920s. The space had been renovated in the 1980s. Not only were the renovations dated, the floor plan did not work for a couple who loved to cook and entertain. Public areas needed better traffic flow, while family areas needed greater privacy.
“We made changes in every room and redesigned sections of the main spaces, touching 85% of their home,” explains Paul Morse, founder of Morse Constructions.
In many cases, the footprints of the rooms did not change, but access to them altered dramatically. For example, a coat closet was relocated to create a kitchen entrance through a butler’s pantry adjacent to the foyer. A bathroom and a laundry room were switched to place the bathroom in closer proximity to the spare bedroom. Meanwhile, access to “his and hers” master bathrooms was reconfigured to maintain privacy.
Among other improvements, Morse also:
Updated kitchen and butler pantries, incorporating extensive food preparation and wine storage areas, multiple sinks, a bar area, professional grade range and range hood, and a large refrigerator supplemented with refrigerator and freezer drawers;
Replaced dated dining room bookshelves with elegant molding and sconces;
Preserved distinctive carved and arched doorways and historic architectural features;
Created walk-in “his and her” closets adjacent to the master bedroom
Added built-in cabinetry in several rooms including the study and master bedroom
Converted large cast iron radiators to smaller steam radiators
Completely updated all bathrooms
According to Paul, the project’s Back Bay location posed some unique challenges. “Just getting materials up to the fourth floor was a trick. We had to crane things in through the windows,” he explains.
Ventilation also required some creative thinking since the Back Bay Architectural Commission prohibits exterior penetrations. The commercial grade range hood in the kitchen is so powerful that makeup air needed to be brought back in to the kitchen to maintain pressure. The solution was change windows to incorporate transoms that could accommodate louvers to hide the ductwork from the street . Ventilation now occurs through the transoms, and an elaborate soffit system carries the air throughout the home.
Morse provided design/build services on the project, working in conjunction with interior designer Nancy Allen.
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