Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Annals of Real Estate: A Charlestown Condo Changes Hands Again

This month I spotted a Charlestown condo that back on the market, which I've admired for years — this is the third time the unit has been for sale in the years we've been looking. If we wanted to move to that neighborhood, we'd want something very much like it, with high ceilings, original detail, and marble mantels. This unit has a couple of deal-breaker layout problems with the bedrooms and baths, as we discovered at an open house back in 2009 . . .  or maybe it was 2013. 

But as I look at the main living spaces as they were styled in 2009: they strike me as close to perfect! There's a gracious living room with a separate, small dining area:

Photo: Hammond Residential, Charlestown.

And a kitchen filled with similar character and warmth:

 Photo: Hammond Residential, Charlestown.

I want to walk over to that tall cabinet in the corner and look at all the dishes and books. I've never liked islands, but it would be simple to replace this one with a long table. The fireplace works, so it would be ideal to have a small, comfortable chair or two nearby.

When the condo went back on the market four years later, it looked simpler but was essentially unchanged. The paint is the same and dining room chandelier and mantel mirror remained:

Photo: Hammond Residential, Charlestown.

In the kitchen, the island bar chairs and the tall cabinet in the corner are still there, while the lantern over the sink has disappeared. I also miss the oil painting and the bold runner; both added a lot to the room's color and charm. I'm also less interested in that corner cabinet.


Photo: Hammond Residential, Charlestown.

I wasn't that surprised to see the condo listed again this month, but it was harder to recognize it. It's been painted powder blue. It's a chilly space now, and the molding and wainscoting aren't as striking against the pale walls. 

Photo: Compass Massachusetts LLC.

I can't tell if it's been staged or if the current owners like boring furniture. Either way, the owners are guilty of the crime of putting the TV over the mantel. The ceiling fixture is also new. I never saw the point of sticking traditional chandeliers in glass or metal cages; I hope this fad will soon be over. Chandeliers seldom misbehave or try to escape, so it's pointless, except to make changing bulbs much more of a pain.

The chilly pastel theme continues in the kitchen:

Photo: Compass Massachusetts LLC.

The 2009 chairs and stools were painted white for no good reason. I also don't know why they got rid of the subway tile backsplash, or put that giant industrial-style fixture over the island. Even the new fridge looks cold and shiny. The wood panels on the old one weren't as trendy, but they blended in with the cabinetry and floor. The tall cabinet is dull now, nearly empty of books. Compare this photo to the kitchen in 2009, and you'll see that much of its charm and warmth is gone even though  all of its original cabinetry, most of its appliances, and the marble mantel remain. (That lonely fish over the mantel isn't doing much for me.)

Comparing different treatments of the same room is always instructive, showing the dramatic ways that color and accessory choices can make or ruin a space. This condo can be politely described as "full of potential" now, and could quickly become beautiful and interesting again, starting with a coat of paint and some furnishings with character. At least no one messed with its classic "bones," and those are what matter.

2 comments:

  1. Gosh, maybe the place is haunted! That's why it keeps changing hands so often...just sayin'. I don't like the white chairs in the kitchen either.

    ReplyDelete
  2. what on earth were they thinking?? that blue is so wrong in so many different ways.

    Maybe they are in cages to make it easier to dust?

    ReplyDelete

Unless you are spamming me about, say, Skype, I love getting comments and do my best to follow up if you have a question. I delete ALL spam, attempts to market other websites, and anything nasty or unintelligible. The cats and I thank you for reading — and please do leave a comment that isn't spam, etc.