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The Boston Globe

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Your Home: Transformations

Back Bay renovation: The family unit

With lots of savvy reconfiguring, a condo carved from a mansion gets made over into the perfect nest for a couple with two kids.

FINDING A FAMILY-FRIENDLY LIVING SPACE in the Back Bay is harder than it sounds, so when Annie Hall’s clients saw a three-bedroom condo on the top two floors of a historic mansion, they pounced, despite its somewhat tired state, disjointed layout, and mass of tricky attic angles. The Cambridge-based designer, who was introduced to the prospective homeowners by their realtor, knew that by re-imagining the floor plan, she could transform it into the ideal space for a working couple with two active children. That there were exposures on three sides, park-like and city views, and charming turn-of-the-last-century details, including slanted ceilings and Palladian windows, didn’t hurt. The condo’s proximity to the kids’ school sealed the deal.

Like most parents of young children, the homeowners wanted a centralized living space in which they could simultaneously cook, eat, and keep an eye on the kids. The dining room and kitchen were already side by side, but the family room was down a hall at the southern end of the 90-foot-long unit, with a small bedroom wedged between. Hall knocked out two of the bedroom walls to create one large, open space. On one side of the new space is the family room, furnished with a comfy sofa, oversize leopard-print ottoman, a pair of vintage Hans Wegner armchairs, and a sleek built-in that houses the TV. The other half is dominated by a dining table for eight, positioned under a grass cloth-covered sloping ceiling, the lower portion of which Hall sheathed in period wainscoting.

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