Chateau-style Mansion Welcomes Contemporary Zen Penthouse — Luxury living -

Chateau-style Mansion Welcomes Contemporary Zen Penthouse - Luxury living -


Chefs and waiters hustle about in a stainless steel and limestone kitchen, arranging hor deouvers and cheeses, pouring gold champagne into flutes on the expansive granite countertop.

Guests fill into the music and dining rooms, discussing the modern art and sculptures on display. Others float to the roof deck to dip in the hot tub and enjoy views of the Prudential and John Hancock towers.

But on most days, the penthouse suite in Back Bays Burrage Mansion stands still. Its quiet and peaceful exactly how its owner, and the designer Maho Abe, envisioned it.

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Abe, principal of Woburn-based Zen Associates, Inc. infused a Japanese serenity into the space, which is her specialty. Natural sunlight and ceiling lamps brighten the soft beige and silver themed interior dcor. Hidden behind paintings, on window benches, and on columns are acoustic panels designed to control noise.

Its not for everybody. Some people feel this unit is cold and not a family atmosphere, Abe said. But to me, and also for the owner, it just feels calm and comfortable. There are not too many decorations.

When the condo was purchased in the early 2000s, developers had sketched 14 rooms in the unit, but that plan quickly dissolved. Running on the treadmill one day, its new owner saw Abes work featured on HGTV and knew she was the one. The penthouse transformation was completed in 2006.

Now, its all one room, complete with hidden spaces, nooks for sitting and storage, and a moving wall for flexibility in the space.

The penthouse is like a museum you can live in. The space is well lit, and a line of five columns create a long gallery showcasing paintings, sculptures, and decorative vases. A thin fish tank separates the kitchen and family room. Heels click across the beige limestone floor.

The owner wanted a space for entertaining guests, but also fit for a family. Theres a stainless steel hot tub with a Japanese stepping-stone in the living room and a meditation nook in the family room. A sliding door reveals a bedroom with bunk beds and a bathroom. The large master bathroom features an open walk-in shower with a curved glass wall.

As much as the penthouse exudes contemporary Zen, the exterior of the building does not. Hundreds of stone dragons, gargoyles, cherubs, lions, and eagles stand guard on the white stone exterior. The ornate lobby concierge is adorned with mahogany, marble steps, stained glass windows, and mosaic tiles.

Chateau-style Mansion Welcomes Contemporary Zen Penthouse - Luxury living -

The Burrage Mansion at 314 Commonwealth Avenue was designed by Charles Brigham in 1899 for copper tycoon Albert C. Burrage. It was inspired by the chateau-style Vanderbilt House in New York. Two 19th century turrets rise up to the deck enclosed by a bamboo fence. There are four units in the building, one of which was previously owned by New England Patriots Tom Brady. He sold it in 2008.

I wanted to retain a sense of surprise: I liked walking into a traditional building with its ornate lobby, then coming upstairs to find the unexpected, the owner told Architectural Digest in 2006.

The penthouse is adjoined with a 1,300-square foot apartment at 318 Commonwealth Avenue, suitable for staff or in-laws. The two units combine for a five bedroom, three bathroom, and one partial bath home.

The 5,800 square foot space is on the market for $10.7 million. Contact the listing agent for showings.

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Julie Xie can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @julieyinxie .

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