Downtown Boston Apartment: Modern Design by Elms Interior Design
Modern design isn’t a new subject for Elms Interior Design. Today we will show you what they did at a downtown Boston apartment.
According to Kristine Kennedy from New England Home, architectural additions and textural warmth give the apartment a family-friendly feel. The owners of a traditional, turn-of-the-last-century McKim, Mead & White family home on Boston’s North Shore surprised themselves by buying an in-town apartment in the Clarendon, a high-rise building designed by modern-leaning Robert A.M. Stern Architects.
The sight line from their three-bedroom unit, nestled on the twentieth-floor of the thirty-three-story building, descends to the expanse of the Charles River Esplanade, with its sailboats, bikers, and joggers. A glance to the side offers a stunning view of the historic Trinity Church reflected in the soaring John Hancock Tower.
Luckily, a chance meeting in the lobby put the couple in touch with design pros Dee Elms and Andrew Terrat of Elms Interior Design, who knew a thing or two about the property, having enhanced several units in the building already. “The Clarendon delivers a beautiful base unit,” says Terrat. “The challenge is to add the personality the owners are looking for.”
The wife showed a desire for a warm, modern design with staying power. While she wanted a space as family-friendly as their North Shore home with its transitional decor, she also wanted the condo to reflect its urban environment. She had like-minded partners in Terrat and Elms. “Our natural place is mixing contemporary and classic,” says Elms. They all agreed that silhouettes would be clean, crisp, and tailored, but the unit’s large expanse of windows necessitated a thoughtful approach to adding character.
The team worked with builder Greg Nicolai who had renovated other units in the building. Because he was intimately familiar with the plan, he knew just where to look to maximize space and function. For example, he stole bathtub space from the daughter’s bathroom to add more storage to the kitchen. The homeowner had her heart set on a waterfall countertop for the peninsula, so they used the Calacatta marble topper as an opportunity to increase the peninsula’s size, add an overhang for bar seating, and fit in a trash and recycling area.
Clever furniture and built-ins also maximize living space. The windows have deep marble windowsills, so Terrat and Elms set custom pieces, such as the dining table and the daughter’s desk, all the way into the sill to free up floor space. In the master bedroom, the interior designers eschewed a freestanding bed in favor of a built-in upholstered headboard that protrudes only a couple of inches.
The interiordesign team also kept things interesting by mixing vintage and new furnishings. “We could have gone either new-school high-rise or old-school, like the brownstones,” says Elms. “We wanted to bring both together, and the client really liked that.” A chair and lamps in the living room, as well as a master-bedroom chair and the nightstands in the daughter’s bedroom, are all vintage finds, lending an evolved look that blends nicely with the historic backdrop the coffered ceilings offer.