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YOUR HOME | MAKEOVERS

A Beacon Hill duplex with a river view has a vintage European vibe

A young couple got engaged while they were renovating this town home with jewel tones and antique finds from Paris.

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Homeowners Andrew and Caroline Corkin play a game in a niche off the living room. Caroline sits on a bench they bought at an antiques market in Paris. “The vendor told us it was 18th-century Swedish, but we’ve since learned it’s actually 19th-century Czech,” she says. The artwork is by Michael K. Bisbee.

By Marni Elyse Katz

Andrew Corkin knew he wanted to marry Caroline Tall by their second date, in the fall of 2015. So the following summer, when she proposed they buy a two-bedroom duplex on Beacon Hill, he saw a perfect opportunity to move the relationship forward. “It was a major next step for us,” he says. “We knew we needed the other’s involvement, emotionally and financially, to transform it into a home.”

Shortly after making an offer on the unit, they ran into interior designer Michael Ferzoco of Eleven Interiors, a longtime friend of Andrew’s father. By that fall, they had hired Eleven Interiors to overhaul the 1,868-square-foot town home. “Seeing Michael that day was serendipitous,” Andrew says.

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The couple, whom Ferzoco describes as “very visual,” had lots of ideas and already owned beautiful furnishings and artwork. The makeover process was collaborative, and although Andrew’s taste leans more contemporary than Caroline’s, Ferzoco says, “choosing the right mix was effortless.”

The project entailed taking the place down to the studs and subfloor (mauve wall-to-wall carpet wasn’t a keeper), replacing the mechanical systems, and addressing structural problems. The layout required less work. The biggest change to the floor plan was combining the galley kitchen with the eating area and eliminating doors from there to the foyer. “It was important that it be practical for our life,” Caroline says. “Everyone gathers in the kitchen, so we wanted an open space with a big island and seating around it.”

As for color, Ferzoco and his lead designer, Kasie Ballard, proposed jewel tones. He says, “The colors are sophisticated and timeless.” The cabinetry is painted Benjamin Moore Newburyport Blue, a shade that pops up elsewhere. Says Andrew, “It’s a color Caroline and I always agree on, so there’s a lot of it.”

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Interior designer Michael Ferzoco designed the built-ins that flank the fireplace in the living room. Brass picture lights add an Old World touch.

Ferzoco and Ballard designed a banquette to echo the breakfast nook in Caroline’s former apartment in the Back Bay. The garnet cushions play off an antique rug the couple had, and the bentwood bistro chairs came from France, where they celebrated Caroline’s 30th birthday. On Ferzoco’s recommendation, they visited the Saint-Ouen market in Paris. “You get stickers to mark what you want,” Caroline says. “We left with half a container.”

Like the kitchen, the living room, which has a view of the Charles River, is comfortable and elegant, ideal for everyday living and entertaining. A Restoration Hardware sectional stretches out across from the fireplace, and the television is mounted above. To Ferzoco’s dismay, Andrew, an independent film producer, wasn’t interested in hiding the electronics. “He didn’t even want me to inset it,” Ferzoco says. New built-ins, a 1970s Italian coffee table from the Paris market, a teak-root console, and artwork from Andrew’s and his father’s collections meld seamlessly.

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Upstairs, Ferzoco and Ballard created a new master bath, minus the bizarre picture window that had given the tub a view into the bedroom. The master bedroom is sumptuous, with a tufted blue velvet upholstered bed against an accent wall covered in geometric-print wallpaper. A John Baldessari print, a 30th-birthday gift to Andrew from his mom, hangs between the windows.

The couple married last fall, following a proposal that Andrew staged while the house was under construction, complete with a metallic gold graffiti message, candles, and rose petals obscured by sawdust.

“It was just after the [2016] election, and Caroline was really upset,” Andrew says. “When things are at their worst and the world seems unpredictable, it’s much clearer to know who you want to spend your life with.” She said yes.

MORE PHOTOGRAPHS:

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In the living room, a photograph by Charles Cohen hangs over the High Desert Root console table from Wayfair. The vintage Oriental rug warms up the room, painted Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace.

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The tufted headboard of the Restoration Hardware platform bed is upholstered in slate blue velvet. Caroline chose the gold metallic geometric patterned Hygge & West wallpaper. The vintage John Stuart campaign-style nightstand is one of a pair Andrew already owned, bought online from InCollect.

BEFORE: The kitchen, pre-renovation.

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AFTER: The bay window in the breakfast nook overlooks the street. The funky Kartell Masters counter stools echo the lines of the vintage wooden bistro chairs opposite the banquette. Sculptural lights in clear glass — Hudson Valley Lighting Coffey pendants over the island, and a Garim chandelier from Kichler over the table — don’t interfere with the decor or the view.


Marni Elyse Katz is a frequent contributor to the Globe Magazine Send comments to magazine@globe.com
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