This Rowes Wharf condo was an ode to ’90s style, with a Venetian plaster ceiling and wainscoting everywhere. However, it was the wall between the kitchen and living room that kick-started the renovation. “What’s the point of owning this condo if it doesn’t take full advantage of the view?” asks designer Alina Wolhardt, whose firm, Wolf in Sheep Design (wolfinsheepdesign.com) was called in to revive the aesthetic for the new homeowner. “That’s the money shot.” Wolhardt is speaking of the Boston Harbor vista, which was the reason her client traded up from a two bedroom in the same building. He hired Wolhardt to make the most of the lively view, update the finishes and source sleek but comfortable Italian furniture. “We spent a full year designing,” she says.
The entry already faced the living room’s expanse of floor-to-ceiling windows that look out to Logan Airport, but the kitchen was a dark galley tucked off to the side. Working with FBN Construction, Wolhardt broke through the kitchen wall, exposing it to the living room and, in turn, the view. The result is an airy, open plan bathed in sunlight.
A number of details enhance and unify the space. They laid new gray-stained oak floors throughout and painted all the walls white. Wolhardt painted the window frames a deep charcoal so they would recede against the view. “The client was initially uncertain about that change,” Wolhardt recalls. “But afterward, he was like, ‘You were so right.’” She also swapped the interior doors for back-painted glass ones with integrated brushed aluminum hardware. “They’re sleek and different, and the weight of them feels really satisfying,” Wolhardt says.
In the kitchen, Poliform cabinetry with black elm veneer fronts anchor either side of the cooktop, which all but disappears against a backdrop of gorgeous black granite. Central upper and base cabinets in pale matte gray meld with a luxurious gray veined white marble. “He was unsure about the black, so we only used it on the back wall,” Wolhardt says. “The white marble is expensive and hard to maintain; I’d never recommend it to a family of five!”
A dreamy white modular sofa provides plenty of seating in the living room and a pair of gray leather swivel chairs offer an intimate conversation area right up at the glass. Around the corner is a dining area in front of a window capturing the water view framed by sheer linen drapes. A basketlike pendant by Moooi hangs above a bold pedestal table surrounded by modern ivory leather chairs with splayed walnut legs.
The bed in the master faces north, the optimal position according to the principles of feng shui, which was a client request. A new Poliform closet system with back-painted glass doors runs along the adjacent wall, creating a stretch of reflective surface that bounces light around the room. In the master bathroom, now lined in taupe travertine tile with a hint of blue, an oversize steam shower replaces a raised corner Jacuzzi. For the second bedroom, which the owner uses primarily as an office, Wolhardt designed a custom built-in Murphy bed with a pale gray matte finish that echoes the cabinetry in the kitchen. “The condo feels much larger now,” Wolhardt says. “And sunny or stormy, the view is amazing.”