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Tranquil Home with Beautiful Views

The views inside and out of this condo provide a tranquil refuge

Written by Pamela J. Wilson
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  • Bruce Buck

    Charles Spada will always love Boston as a place to work, but he admits he has lost his passion for living there. "I developed a yearning for peace and quiet, and I wasn’t finding it," says Charles, a sought-after interior designer and antiques dealer, of the lively city where he’s worked for 30 years. It was time to move; the question was where.

    "My real estate agent kept prodding me to look at a new condominium tower in Milton, a small, historic town south of Boston, but I kept telling him I wasn’t interested. I thought it would be too much like living in a city high-rise," the designer explains. But the agent convinced the skeptic to at least take a look, and that’s all it took. Charles was enthralled, and purchased a 1,800-square-foot condo.

    To create a focal point in his living room, Charles designed the sleek 1930s-style fireplace with recessed shelves on either side. The warm tones of the bare oak floor keep the neutral color scheme from looking cold.

    Design: Charles Spada, Charles Spada Interiors, One Design Center Place, Boston, MA 02210; 617/204-9270, and Antiques on 5, Suite 547-232, One Design Center Place, Boston, MA 02210; 617/951-0008.

    Photography: Bruce Buck
    Produced by Estelle Bond Guralnick

    Sofa (custom); coffee table; glass vases on coffee table; mantel (by Christian Marty): Charles Spada Interiors, 617/204-9270.
    Chain-link vase on coffee table ("Split Spiral Cylinder,’’ by Ruth Borgenicht, 2004): Lacoste Gallery, 978/369-0278, lacostegallery.com.
    Sofa fabric (custom color): Henry Calvin Fabrics, 888/ 732-1996, henrycalvin.com, trade only.
    Gray-striped pillow on sofa ("Gailen Silk Stripe’’/Stone #61040): Schumacher, 800/332-3384, fschumacher.com, trade only.
    Chaise; end table by sofa; end table by chaise; wood chair; seat fabric on wood chair (antique silk velvet); leg sculpture (cast plaster model); clock on mantel; plaster horse head on mantel; metal sculpture in bookcase (African ankle bracelet); mirror behind sofa; candelabra sconces; pencil drawings (by Marcel Lenoir): Antiques on 5, 617/951-0008.
    Chaise fabric: Clarence House, 800/803-2850, clarencehouse.com, trade only.
    Green throw on chaise: Muse, 312/595-9604.
    Fireplace surround (gray slate); soapstone firebox: Adamo Stone Design, 617/269-9000.
    Lithograph ("Rocks and Waves," by Richard Bartlett, c. 1950): Childs Gallery, 617/266-4824.
    Paint ("Stonington Gray’’ HC-170): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667.

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    "I was just bowled over by the view," Charles says. "I had no idea it would be so beautiful and tranquil. My windows overlook the tidal basin of the Neponset River. There’s a yacht club across the street, so I get to see wonderful boats coming and going all the time. For me, it is the perfect refuge."

    Charles does not get overly attached to most of his furniture, saying it "comes and goes," but the living room’s 18th-century Irish corner chair and the early-19th-century Italian chaise will always have a place in his home. The shapely chaise is positioned so that Charles can take in the view while reading. Coupled with the chaise is a petite one-drawer stand that’s just big enough to hold a book or two and perhaps a glass of wine.

    Chaise: Antiques on 5, 617/951-0008.
    Chaise fabric: Clarence House, 800/803-2850, clarencehouse.com, trade only.
    Green throw on chaise: Muse, 312/595-9604.

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    An English Chippendale bench fronts a French console displaying favorite art pieces.

    French console; Venetian brackets above console; 1930s sculpture on console; pencil drawings above console; Chippendale bench under console: Antiques on 5, 617/951-0008.
    Animal-print fabric on bench ("Tiger Velvet’’/Natural #36510.00): Brunschwig & Fils, 212/838-7878, brunschwig.com, trade only.

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    Charles enjoys quiet and relaxed entertaining, and depending on the time of year, he’ll either seat guests in the dining "room"—which is at the far end of the 40-foot-long living room—or serve them a casual supper by the fireside.
    Charles designed the glass-topped dining table with pullout ledges on either end.

    Dining table (design by Charles Spada); footed glass vase; pencil drawing (by Thaddeus Klodnicki, 1904-1982): Charles Spada Interiors, 617/204-9270.
    Dining chairs; candlesticks: Antiques on 5, 617/ 951-0008.
    Gray leather upholstery on dining chairs: Keleen Leathers, 708/409-9801, keleenleathers.com, trade only.
    Window shades (Duette): Hunter Douglas Window Fashions, 800/274-2985, hunterdouglas.com.

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    The master bedroom’s  minimalist palette includes an 1810 black-painted chaise and an 1840 gilt slipper chair in gray-and-white striped silk. Charles traces his love for low-key color schemes to his early teens. "By the time I was 14, Givenchy was already my idol—I was totally inspired by the simplicity of his clothing designs,  so much so that in my early 20s, I moved to Paris to study fashion design," he relates. "To me, Parisian couture—so simple and subdued—is the epitome of perfection, and when it’s translated into interior design, the results are every bit as exquisite."

    Bed (designed by Charles Spada): Charles Spada Interiors, 617/204-9270.
    Headboard fabric (gray linen): Henry Calvin Fabrics, 888/732-1996, trade only.
    Chaise; ottoman; line drawings: Antiques on 5, 617/951-0008.
    Chaise fabric: silk.
    Three-stacks sculpture (Untitled, by Josephine Burr, 2004): Lacoste Gallery, 978/369-0278.
    Paint ("Stonington Gray’’ #HC-170): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667.

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    A Parsons-style table is topped with a lamp whose base looks like tree bark.

    Side table (designed by Charles Spada): Charles Spada Interiors, 617/204-9270.

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  • Bruce Buck

    While simplicity and subtlety are important to the aesthetic Charles Spada has developed over 30 years, he is no fan of cold, sterile environments. "I want warmth and comfort along with my peace and quiet," he says. As far as he’s concerned, Zen-like surroundings are for Buddhist monks, not for people who want to be nurtured—visually and emotionally—by their homes.

    Along with his clients, area decorators and collectors frequent "Antiques on 5," Charles’s shop at the Boston Design Center. "I sell antiques, engravings, botanicals, and lighting fixtures from my trips to Europe, and furniture of my own design," he says. "Every item I would personally choose to have in my own home."

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