Katie & Joe's 3 Story Jamaica Plain Condo

Katie & Joe's 3 Story Jamaica Plain Condo

Kyle Freeman
Sep 30, 2008

Name: Katie and Joe
Location: Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
Size: 1600 sq/ft
Years lived in: owned since 2004

Boston's housing stock is brimming with fantastic double and triple-decker homes that have been converted into single-floor condos. Our friends Katie and Joe's condo is a refreshing departure from this standard, instead spanning three lovely floors and feeling more like a single family home than a condo. The set-up is indeed unique...

The front and only door to the condo enters into a foyer and welcoming kitchen with a modern wood burning stove. The foyer/kitchen space is the only room on the first floor. The front door faces the first set of beautiful, winding hardwood stairs that lead to the second floor which hosts a bright living room with two skylights and a renovated full bath. Another set of stunning wood stairs leads to the final floor of the condo, which includes the master bedroom, a study/guest space, their toddler's room, and another full bath.

Our favorite elements of Joe and Katie's home include the unfussy and effortless blend of vintage and modern style; the beautiful winding staircases that connect the 3 floors like a spine; the original artwork that fills the home like a casual gallery (work was created by friends, and by Joe who is a full-time artist and art professor - check out more of his work here); the intimate, sloping ceilings on the third floor, and the combination of sophisticated neutral colors with equally sophisticated but saturated hues, particularly on the top floor.

Due to the laidback but engaging environment they've created, it doesn't matter what time of year, be it summer dinners on the deck or winter potlucks that linger for hours in front of the wood stove, gatherings at Katie and Joe's are a genuine treat (it might have a little something to do with their shining personalities also). We're grateful that they snatched up such a unique space and made it their own to share with family and friends.


Style: Victorian with a modern flare. The house was built in 1869 but when we redid our unit we tried to add more modern touches to the space.

Inspiration: Years of looking at innovative approaches to urban living.

Favorite Element: The wood stove we put in last year which works really well in the vertical space since a lot of the heat rises. It also makes the space feel a lot warmer in the winter, especially on the 1st and 2nd floors which have really high ceilings - around 11 or 12 feet high.

Biggest Challenge: Trying to retrofit a place built in 1869.

What Friends Say: Our friends either say what a unique space we have and quite a bit of it for a condo in Boston (about 1600sf) or they tell us what a workout we're getting by living across three separate floors.

Biggest Embarrassment: Our third floor bathroom has yet to be redone. The ceiling over the shower is sloped which makes hanging the shower curtain a big challenge. We cut the shower curtain at an angle to match the slope of the ceiling and it's hanging on hooks attached to tile. It looks goofy but does the trick.

Proudest DIY: The whole place! We've done almost all the work ourselves on a pretty limited budget. This includes gutting one room that had nasty textured plaster on the walls, stripping painted over wallpaper on every floor and removing an ugly tile countertop and replacing it with Fireslate. Also, when we moved in, our front yard was a gravel parking area which we made into a great little green space.

Biggest Indulgence: The remodel of the bathroom on the second floor which was pretty much unusable when we moved in. We wanted to redo it before we got too comfortable with a dilapidated bathroom so we made design decisions in about a week and I think it turned our really well. Most other decisions since then have not been so easy.

Best advice: When looking to buy a place to make your own, look for a unique space rather than something that's finished because something finished may not feel like home.

Dream Source: Abdodeon in Cambridge, MA. They have a great selection of midcentury modern furniture and housewares.

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