This story was originally published in The Boston Globe on January 17.
Bainbridge Bunting would applaud, I suspect. Bunting was an architectural historian whose 1967 book, “Houses of Boston’s Back Bay,” ignited historic preservation in that neighborhood, an ethos on display in this Beacon Street brownstone revived in 1994 by architect Guy Grassi and designer Bunny Williams.
This home comprises two of the five units in this condo building and boasts its own front entry, a doorway into the past and into a very comfortable present. To the immediate right is a reception hall, framed by carved wooden Greco Ionic columns, a floor with stylish inlays, and a wood-burning fireplace with a carved-wood mantel.
Here, also, is the introduction to towering ceilings that remain breathtakingly distant throughout two of the home’s three floors. Most of the first floor is master suite, although calling it that is like comparing a shot glass to a champagne flute. Sure they both hold liquid, but their contents are distinctly different.
See inside 202 Beacon St., Units 1 and 3:
The reception hall empties into a hallway with a full bath and a closet, and then arrives at a red study with a towering bay window that looks toward the neighbors: the Esplanade and the Charles River (yes, Storrow Drive, too). An enormous set of built-in shelves covers most of one wall.
A door connects to the master bedroom, a mirror image in size and design to the study, with its own set of river-view windows. There is more than enough room for a massive four-poster bed, sitting areas, and a writing desk. But there are no dressers and no need for them; the adjoining dressing rooms accommodate everything, including a mirrored door to the elevator that stops at all three floors. One dressing room has cabinets to the left, right, and in the central island.
A hallway with a washer/dryer on one side and a kitchenette on the other leads to the master bath, which has a gas fireplace, a spa tub, marble shower, double vanity, and water closet.
The elevator is the fastest way to the second floor, but choosing that route deprives you of another look at the reception hall’s delightful parquet floor, something of an optical illusion with its geometric shapes, and original arched doorways.
On the second floor, a left turn leads past the bar and powder room to the rear of the house and the 50-foot-wide living room, a grand space with two bay windows and a wood-burning fireplace with a faux-marble mantel.
A door leads to the kitchen, which, like every room in this condo, is generously sized. But this kitchen has a cozy space — a breakfast nook with padded seating, perfect for entertaining the chef at work. Everything is high end, from the floor-to-ceiling white cabinets and appliances to the green marble countertops.
The dining room is a joy for the eyes, thanks to the breathtaking trompe l’oeil painting by the late Robert Jackson. The design is deliberate, emphasizing the artist’s re-creation of one of Russian Czar Nicholas II’s studies. The wood-burning fireplace has a wood mantel.
Adjacent is the library, the room where the character and age of this home is most apparent. Carved keystone archways guard the doors and a massive fireplace of carved oak topped by a mirror dominate the space and the conversation.
The garden level, once a separate unit, features two bedrooms, a kitchen, a full bath, a laundry, and private access to a small rear garden.
The unit comes with four spots in the eight-car tandem parking structure, which has a deck on top large enough for 50 guests and perfectly positioned for the July 4th celebration.
Beth Dickerson of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty in Boston is the listing broker.
Year built: 1890/converted 1994
Square feet: 5,410
Baths: 3 full, 1 half
Fee: $3,098 per month
Taxes: $63,471 (2016, with residential exemption)