Here’s how it went down…
Q. SO, EAST BOSTON IS A NEW AREA FOR YOU, WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO RENO IN THIS AREA?
We have been rehabbing single family homes for five years and were ready to try something new. East Boston is such an exciting place to be now. There’s so much change taking place that you would think the area would become unrecognizable. But it hasn’t, at least not yet. There’s a lot of pride in the community among those that grew up here and that seems to bode well with the influx of millennials.
They want to become part of the fabric of this reenergize community.
Q. WHAT WAS THE BUILDING LIKE WHEN YOU BOUGHT IT?
It was in “ 60s original” condition – so it was essentially just a large box with LOADS of green and brown! There used to be a little neighborhood store in the basement — many years ago and we found a bunch of cool old signs from that era.
Q. WHAT WAS THE INSPO FOR THE RENO?
There were three things that we were aiming for in the design. 1. Highlighting the beautiful exposed brick wall that spanned the entire side of the interior space. The wall was a true original and was part of the history of the space so we wanted to honor that. 2. To create a kick-ass staircase. In a bi-level condo there are a lot of stairs. We saw this as an opportunity to add fresh and interesting “character” to the space. Our carpenter created the most beautiful modern staircases that we’re still marveling over 3. Create an Urban Oasis that would provide a beautiful place for outdoor entertaining. Outdoor space is at a premium in East Boston. We wanted to make sure that this area didn’t get overlooked in the design process.
We put in a nice patio and small garden.
Q. WHAT MAJOR CHANGES DID YOU MAKE TO THE PROPERTY?
We basically changed everything, but what was so amazing was that it didn’t feel cookie-cutter brand new. We tried very hard to bring quality details to the design. We used 4” wide plank oak floors, detailed window and door trim design that required 5 pieces of wood to create, cement tiles with a unique pattern in the foyer. We even restored the original brick foundation that had been covered by a once very popular façade of tiles from the 60’s. We added more contemporary features like smart technology, a frosted glass pantry and beautiful lighting fixtures.
Q. WHAT LESSONS DID YOU LEARN BY RENOVATING THIS BUILDING.
So many. We believe every reno gives you the chance to learn something new, and we certainly did learn so many things as we renovated these condo’s. I think the biggest life lessons for us were:
The condo conversion process can be daunting the first time around. You need to surround yourself with seasoned rehabbers that can walk you through the process. We were fortunate to have amazing support. Pro tip: A Certificate of Occupancy (c/o) is required for a condo conversion in Boston We didn’t realize this until pretty close to the end of the project. We did a lot of scrambling and literally hand delivered the c/o to the buyer’s attorney minutes before the closing deadline.
Everyone went crazy for the brick wall. Our only contribution to the brick wall was recognizing its value. We sanded, sealed and patched it sparingly. It was far from perfect but people loved it’s flaws.
You can paint vinyl siding and get fantastic results. We chose to replace the vinyl siding on the front of the house with Iron Gray colored Hardie Plank. We kept the vinyl siding on the other two sides and match the paint color from the front. The response from the neighborhood was immediate. There were policeman, neighbors and random cars passing by stopping to compliment the change.