Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Seen in the South End

On a walk the other day, we were charmed by this building on West Canton Street, which I think is a single-family plus an apartment. The more I study this elegant entrance, the more I admire it.

The taupe paint on the stonework and steps is in great condition and was an excellent choice. According to the architectural commission's rules, exterior masonry should be painted to match the original stone. While this might be fudging that rule a bit, it looks appropriate and attractive, I think, and more sophisticated than many other choices. (Lots of buildings end up with pale yellow trim, which looks nothing like stone. White looks even worse. And steps are sometimes painted black, which then flakes off and looks awful.)

This entrance has all the elements I like, including fancy, original ironwork for the fence and stair railing. We have seen some very elaborate and massive new reproduction fences on our street recently, which we think are terrific. But there's nothing like originals in nice condition.

There are five cast-iron urns here, which might be a bit much, but I like it. The front garden is tiny, so clearly someone wanted more gardening opportunities — more power to them. One of the urns with yellow flowers had some sort of mishap, it seems, possibly from a dog or a drunk... and, as you can see, they are locked to the railings. That tells me that the residents are street-smart, seasoned city dwellers. (It's a sign of practicality, not paranoia, in Boston.)

Let's look closer at the glossy black doors:

The brass doorknobs have lion's heads, and I like the way the off-center mail slot and street number balance each other. The window panels and the transom above are filled with dark green and clear (and/or frosted) leaded glass. The dark green looks almost black from the sidewalk and is very striking and unusual. Don't miss the wonderful hanging light fixture, which has colored glass "jewels." I'll have to stroll by here at night to see it lit. Here's a close-up:

Altogether, this entry is South End style at its best, and it wouldn't look out of place in London, would it? 


  1. I love the appreciation you have for these truly beautiful settings. This doorway is a work of art for sure. A lost art it seems. Thanks for sharing.

  2. You should have knocked and seen if they were planning on moving ;)


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