BBAC Approves New Entrance at 390 Comm. And Roof Deck and Headhouse at 207 Beacon St

The Back Bay Architectural Commission (BBAC) met virtually on July 14, where members heard several projects for design review.

390 Commonwealth Ave.

At 390 Commonwealth Ave., Patrick Myers proposed to replace the entry doors, floorings, railings, and lighting.

“Our goal is to update a failing door from the ‘80s renovation, as well as there are some steps that are cracking.” He said that the desire is to “give that entry vestibule a facelift” and “help put it back in context with the original building.”

Myers said that the team discovered that the purple marble that’s currently on the wall is not original, and there is granite behind it. The green marble as well as the brass hand railings are also a result of the ‘80s renovation. He said the brass is oxidizing and the door is “failing.”

He proposed to replace the existing door with an automatic sliding glass door, and remove the green marble floors and replace them with granite, as well as have granite on the sides where the purple marble currently is.

He also said the finishes on the new door would be black “to help limit its presence within the opening.” Lastly, the existing light fixture is a “flush mounted fixture on the ceiling,” but Myers proposed to replace it with one that hangs.

The BBAC voted to approve this project “with the understanding that egress issues and safety issues in terms of security will be addressed in accordance with the necessary codes by the applicants.”

407 Beacon St.

The proposal at 407 Beacon St. included the construction of a roof deck and headhouse, as well as the replacement of windows, slate roof, gutters, and downspouts.

“This is a full interior remodel of an existing single family…” said Justin White of the Holland Companies.

He explained that new condensers are being proposed for the roof, and a mockup of them has been constructed. They are set at 40 inches as per the mockup, but they will really only be 30 inches when installed. The current mockup cannot be seen from a public way.

White said that the roof deck is proposed “between the two existing chimneys,” and the headhouse will have a “new stair that’s basically on top of the existing stairs that’s being kept,” he said. He said it’s “basically being built right up against the 409  [Beacon St.] structure,” and will be the same height as that one.

It will have standing seam copper cladding and metal black railings.

White said that the existing windows are not original, so they will be replaced with “wood architectural Pellas that we typically use.” The slate and gutters and downspouts will also be replaced in kind.

Jennifer Doran, one of the trustees of 409 Beacon St., said that the way the headhouse slants “cuts into the view of our deck that is adjoining.” She said that she would like to see the headhouse match the one at 409 Beacon exactly.

She also had some concerns about the “150+ year old masonry wall,” as there have been “no discussions” regarding maintenance of that wall, which she said has had some chips.

BBAC Chair Kathy Connor asked White if his team has spoken with Doran about these issues.

“One of our project managers was in discussion with the penthouse owner,” White said. “We were under the assumption that they were aligned with and in liking of what we were proposing.”

Doran said that she doesn’t “want to make it out like Holland is just putting this on us,” adding that “we did not know there was going to be that slant to it.” She said that they believed it was going to be in line with the headhouse at 409, which they would be in favor of.

“Regarding the party wall, we can certainly fine-tune the details on that,” White said. He said that the plan was to enclose that wall.

White also agreed that the slope on the headhouse could be moved back, which Doran also agreed to.

Commissioner John Christiansen moved to approve the project  in partial concept,” saying that the proposed headhouse needs to be “slid away so that it exposes more of the deck.” He added that a drawing reflecting this will be shown to the staff architect and reviewed by Doran.

“Part of the approval process depends on their getting the write-off with the neighbor in acceptance to it…” He also said that the windows and downspouts in the front of the building are approvable.

The full Commission voted to approve this motion.

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