SOMETIMES YOU just have to have faith. Such was the case for Richard Cook, 37, a psychiatrist who lives in the South End. When he decided to buy a condo in the neighborhood, after having lived in four rentals over 10 years, he asked his best friend, interior designer Josh E. Linder of Evolve Residential, to make the rounds with him. While Cook wasn’t sold on anything they saw, there was one place that stuck in Linder’s mind. When Linder brought it up for the umpteenth time, Cook asked, “You feel that strongly about it?” To which Linder replied, “I already have the entire place designed in my head!”
A self-described lowbrow guy who wears gray pocket T’s by Fruit of the Loom, Cook admits he wasn’t able to see past the space’s dreariness. Neither could others. Linder recalls: “Everyone else at the open house left within 10 seconds.” The unit, a 900-square-foot two-bedroom in a distinctive late-19th-century building, had been stripped of its charm in the 1980s, but its bones were intact. Graced with tall windows, and even taller ceilings (13½ feet), the place is airy, and the layout needed only minimal tweaking.