A tall, skinny town home may be the only option in your price range as a first-time home buyer, but fear not. The townhouse is a venerable and coveted architectural style on the east coast, nowhere more so than on Beacon Hill, the cobblestoned, brick-front enclave in Boston, Massachusetts. Here are six tips to help make your condo look more like a real Beacon Hill townhouse.
Create A Fireplace Sitting Area
Nothing says Beacon Hill like a cozy sitting area in front of the fireplace. You don't need big furnishings here; a pair of leather wing chairs with an occasional table in between and an ottoman to rest your feet are perfect. Brass fireplace accessories and andirons lend an authentic old New England touch.
Make A Bedroom Into An Upstairs Parlor
Old time townhouses were laid out differently than condos today. If you are still in the construction phase, try placing your kitchen on the lowest level with the living room a floor above. If that's not possible, use one of the bedrooms as an upstairs parlor.
Make the room warm and comfy with an overstuffed couch, chaise lounge, and table lamps instead of overhead lighting. An upstairs parlor is the ideal place to visit with close friends or snuggle in to watch old movies on a rainy night.
Combine Your Dining Room With A Library
You may not have enough space to have both a library and a dining room, so why not do what they did in the 18th and 19th Centuries and have both in the same room together? Line the walls with bookshelves (a rolling ladder is an extra nice accessory). Use an elegant but simple crystal chandelier overhead on a dimmer switch for both dining and reading.
Use Antique Furnishings
It takes a little more work, but using antiques instead of modern furniture will really make a difference in making your townhouse look Bostonian. Eschew opulent Baroque lines for Colonial and Shaker style pieces with more spare lines.
Layer oriental rugs on the floors and add unique pieces like grandfather clocks and ginger jars. On the walls, go for botanical prints, antique maps, and nautical charts, with similar but not matching frames.
Incorporate Architectural Detail
Any fussiness in homes of that period was in small architectural details. If your town home is feeling a little bare, try adding crown moldings, baseboards, wainscoting, ceiling medallions, and real wood paneled doors. Replace commonplace contemporary doorknobs with reclaimed crystal handles, and replace generic stair rails and banisters with gleaming wooden ones.
Make Staircases Part Of The Decor
Show off your vertical style by making staircases a big part of your decor. Make landing windows pretty with lead panes or stained glass, and add tiny chandeliers on each level. A beautiful plant stand with a potted fern or a small collection of miniature paintings will have you feeling like you stepped out of a Victorian novel.
Condos don't have to be drab, repetitive versions of all the homes on your block. With a little creativity and time spent scouring the antique markets, you can have a townhouse anywhere in the country look like it's a page out of old New England history.