Boston Modern Classic

Our design inspiration for today comes from a mid-nineteenth century Bostonian Traditional residence which has been updated with a redesign of its interiors to create a more contemporary look and modern function.  The gracious 7,900 square-foot period home had been pretty well maintained, and had undergone several additions and renovations through the years.  Much of the homes period details remained intact and were in excellent condition when it was purchased, the exception being its steel-and-glass conservatory which had been allowed to fall into disrepair and had to be rebuilt completely.  Otherwise, the issues with the home were more about style, scale, and suitability for the new owners, a couple with a baby and another on the way.

The couple had been primarily residing in a sleek, sophisticated design penthouse apartment at The Residences at the Ritz Carlton Towers in mid-town Boston with their infant.  They became pregnant again though and decided that they needed a better suited child-friendly family home.  That’s when the couple found this beautiful traditional design home in nearby Brookline and purchased it- fully furnished.  They now had three households of furniture to edit through and a home with rather formal, classic design interiors and grandly proportioned rooms, all of which needed to merge in the best possible way to create a comfortable family home, while eliminating the rest.

To work this out for them and to create a home they knew they would love, the choice was easy.  They called on the Boston based interior design firm Terrat Elms, who designed their current Penthouse.  The designers noted what needed to be done.  The interior architecture and the classic design details were mostly fine.  There were some elements whose scale wasn’t in proportion with the rooms they occupied that would need to be replaced.  Some of those large rooms were a bit cold and disconnected and would need some texture and layers to soften and unify them.  The couple requested that the designers, as much as possible, creatively reuse the furnishings they already had to complete the new home, which was the biggest challenge, but one in which they have worked out to perfection.


In the spacious foyer, the formality of the marble floors was balanced with a custom de Gournay wall-covering hand-painted on charcoal paper.  The designers centered the room with an Alessio table by Formations placed beneath a Esterel chandelier from Pagani Studio.  The fireplace has been reworked into a more contemporary design with a Damien Hirst butterfly work placed above it.  To maximize the rooms visual effect, a James Nares brushstroke painting was also included.




The living room walls have been given texture and depth with Phillip Jeffries grass-cloth wall-coverings.  The furnishings are upholstered in mostly grays and ivory for a smart, chic look.  The draperies were made with a contemporary design Zimmer + Rohde satin.  An abstract canvas by Jon Imber is placed over the sofa, and two works by John Baldessari are also displayed in here.  The plum velvet bench is by Christian Liaigre.  Rugs with luxe textured patterns were used here and throughout the home.


In the dining room, the designers used a darker Phillip Jeffries tailored linen on the walls with a slight metallic finish which highlights the traditional design molding and trim and allows the other colors in the room to really shine.  The fireplace has been contemporized with a sleek new Chesney mantle with a Warren Isensee painting displayed above it.  The rug, table, and chairs came with the house and integrated well in the new design.  The designers had the chairs updated with Donghia’s Squiggly Hollywood on the backs, and Pollack’s Dottie on the fronts.  A contemporary design chandelier by Alison Berger is suspended over the table.  The room also includes a grouping of four A.R. Penck paintings.



The all-white kitchen was given a contemporary boost with the addition of a custom, graphic laser-cut stone back-splash, while the center island was painted a darker shade to break away from the all-white and give the room more depth.  The glossy black butler’s pantry is as impressive as the kitchen.  I really like the look created with this modern classic design.


Multiple furniture pieces from the Ritz Penthouse were utilized here in the family gathering room including the dining table with the orange mohair chairs from the Bright Group, which have been placed beneath the Flos chandelier by Gino Sarfatti.  The Calvin sectional and ottoman used here are also from the apartment.


In the newly rebuilt conservatory, the designers have created a great casual space with tumbled stone flooring and edited simplicity.  The room has been completed with B&B Italia lounge furniture and a Sutherland table surrounded with Holly Hunt chairs.


Crown molding was installed in the home’s oval office to emphasize the existing pale blue Venetian plaster ceilings and the Murano glass chandelier.  The furnishings selected reflect the rooms oval shape.


A powder room was given a moody new glamorous effect.  The existing vanity was painted black to tone down its traditional design details and the walls were covered in a more contemporary design wall-covering.  A rock crystal framed mirror is used over the vanity and flanked by a pair of 1940’s sconces from Paris.





In the master bedroom, the designers have covered the walls in a silver threaded grass-cloth from Phillip Jeffries and used a bronze metallic stripe for the window shades.  The custom upholstered bed from the Ritz has been paired with Thomas Pheasant’s Mondrian nightstands for Baker.  A framed Heidi Whitman paper construction hangs above it.  A B&B Italia swivel sofa is also included.



The home includes a really comfortably complete guest suite.  The designers ultimately have created a luxury home that is transitional in its interior design.  They’ve created an updated classic with a balanced blend of traditional design architectural elements with more contemporary design detailing for a warm, welcoming home that is both elegant and suited for modern family life.

That wraps up our design inspiration for today my friends.  Thank you so much for reading along.  I hope you all have enjoyed and been inspired by this lovely home!

Interior Design: Terrat Elms

Photography:  Michael J. Lee

At Terrat Elms, interior design is their passion.  They contract with an elite group of architects, engineers, furniture makers, tradespeople, manufacturers, and store and gallery owners to make your dreams come true.   If you can imagine it, they say that they can make it happen.  Be sure to check out their website for more examples of their exceptionally well done work.

additional credits- Interiors

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Showing 5 comments
  • Jordan

    Absolutely stunning. A perfect mix of modern and classic design – and the space itself is beautiful. I love the stairway!

    • Johnny knight

      Hi Jordan! So glad you liked the post. It is an exceptional home. Thank you for commenting and we hope you will continue to read along with us and let us hear from you again.

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  • […] home library/book storage solution was designed by the Boston based interior design firm Terrat Elms (see other project) within a sleek, sophisticated design penthouse apartment at The Residences at […]

  • […] home library/book storage solution was designed by the Boston based interior design firm Terrat Elms (see other project) within a sleek, sophisticated design penthouse apartment at The Residences at […]

  • […] That wraps up our design inspiration for today, my dear friend. To see another excellent project by this design house be sure to check out Boston Modern Classic. […]

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