A Virtual Makeover of 130 Commonwealth Ave and More!

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post about the most expensive piece of Boston residential real estate, 130 Commonwealth Ave. Many of you wanted to know if there was a “quick fix” for the desecrated classic, with its headache-inducing colors and ubiquitous skull theme.

If you missed the post, wish to review it, or are just a garden-variety masochist, you can find it here.

Some of you also thought that *I* Laurel, should take this on for real.


haha. I hope you realize that would kill me.


Later, I will take a stab at a virtual Makeover of 130 Commonwealth. Well, one room.


For real, I can think of several talented designers who would do an incredible job with this place. None are conventional designers. This is an extraordinary property; it doesn’t have to be a beaux-arts museum. However, I don’t think a circus is appropriate.

I love old buildings that look— old.

There are several designers who come to mind. Please know there are many more.


One designer who’s done some fantastic work here in Boston is San Francisco designer Ken Fulk.


He did a magnificent job with The ‘Quin; (the former AlgonQuin) a private club just down the street from 130 Comm Ave. And I like what he did with the Newbury, as well. His interiors have a quiet flamboyance, a drama that captivates and warms the soul. They are contemporary but with much, that’s deeply rooted in tradition. Very cool.


'Quin Club Boston Back Bay Frieze in Bas Relief
Outside the ‘Quin taken by me two years ago. I was lucky to get a dinner invite here, but photos are prohibited. Bummer.


This next designer would do an amazing job with this place.


Darryl Carter. There would be a lot less color—that’s an understatement. However, Darryl does vintage better than anyone else. He does it in a way that feels old and fresh at the same time and endlessly cool. He would make everything look like it was built in 1909 and would be extraordinary.


©-Tony Powell. (photo) inside-Homes Darryl Carter on X
©-Tony Powell. (photo) Inside Homes Darryl Carter on X

Please follow Tony Powell on Instagram @tonypowell1
And Darryl Carter’s Instagram is here.

I realize a beat-up old floor isn’t for everyone, but I love it!


11-At-Home-With-Darryl-Carter-Washington-D.C.-This-Is-Glamorous - Darryl would do an amazing job with a makeover of 130 Commonwealth


Darryl’s fantastic vintage kitchen.


For pure classicists, no one does this style better than AB Kasha, the oft-mentioned fantastic married team who’s made quite a name for themselves in Paris. Their renovations of neglected properties are legendary.


photo @idhalindhag_photographer - abkasha on instagram Paris flat - would do an amazing job with a makeover of 130 Commonwealth
photo @idhalindhag_photographer – ab kasha on Instagram Paris flat

I love how they keep the architecture as it was in the 19th century and frequently juxtapose it with modern furnishings or a mix, as seen here.


boiseries blue bedroom AB Kasha would do an amazing job with a makeover 130 Commonwealth
Above is my attempt at one of their blank canvas entries. I need another one very soon! There’s one more here.


The next designer is a married team in New York City– Roman and Williams.


photo @ditteisager @roman_and_williams_ Veronika bar
photo @ditteisager @roman_and_williams_ Veronika bar


Their old place, a loft in NoHo was incredibly chic; not for everyone. However, their restaurants are all places I’d be happy to live in. Plus, after she sold it, they did a magnificent job remodeling Jenna Lyons’ Brooklyn townhouse.


Oh, wait. Two more. John B Murray Architects and maybe a collaboration with Tammy Connor.



I love this little bathroom by JBMurray Architects.


And, no list of classical architecture would be complete without Gil Schafer and team, who would do an exquisite job with this place.


Okay, for fun, I wanted to see what I could do in the way of a quick virtual makeover of 130 Commonwealth Ave.


I used the neon blue parlor as a base. As this is what I had to work with, I was limited to what the wall color could be. For example, it’s impossible to make the walls white without looking very washed out.

Let’s look (quickly) at the before.

130 Comm Ave Cobalt Blue Living Room


And now, presenting my virtual makeover of 130 Commonwealth Ave (the blue parlor). Please note this is a little rough because of the limitations.


makeover of 130 Commonwealth Ave putting back what never should've been taken away


Yes, you will recognize many of my favorite furnishings and colors. The idea is to show that all is not lost, even if you would go in another direction from this.

Could the wood stain ever come back? It could, but it would take a tremendous amount of painstaking work.


I don’t have a problem with a painted finish.


Most interiors of the beaux-arts period were painted. The stain would’ve been in places like the library and butler’s pantry.

The main living spaces can mostly get by with paint and new furnishings. However, the kitchen(s) and bathrooms will cost several hundred thousand dollars as they need more than paint. So, no matter what, it will be at least $1,000,000, maybe 2,000,000, to restore this gem.

There are dozens of ways one could go. I would love to see a Darryl Carter-type interior. I think it would be incredible.


Do I think this place is going to sell for $30,000,000?


No, and not even if Darryl Carter and architect Donald Loccoco designed it.

There are some compelling reasons why I think this.

The first one is more subtle, but the home faces north-northwest. The main living areas are in the shade for most of the year. Only in the summer, late in the day, is there a little sunshine. The back of the house is sunny but faces the alley abutting Newbury Street. It is not like the residential alley between Marlborough and Comm Ave. No, our alley is as grungy as can be.


Aside from those factors, let’s look at the twin sister at 128 Commonwealth Ave.


Right, shouldn’t those estimates give us an idea of what 130 is worth? I think so.

128 Commonwealth has a  Zestimate range
$12.02M – $17.89M –

Redfin has an estimate of $18.06M – $21.48M

12, I think, is way too low. But, 18-20 sounds about right.

It is important to note two major differences between the two properties.

128 is about 1,000 square feet smaller than 130, and while it has two garage spots, there is only one additional outdoor parking spot.

So, there are three fewer parking spots outside.

An OUTDOOR deeded parking spot in this Back Bay Boston location is worth at least $500,000. Yes, guys, it’s half a million for one parking spot where your car will enjoy the company of dozens of dumpsters and countless rats.  Rentals start at about $400 a month for outdoor spots.

Anyway, my point is that, at most, 130 is not worth more than 25 million, and I’m being generous. I predict it will sell for somewhere between 20M and 25 M.

One day.

I am going to close this topic with this interesting bit regarding the designer, Eric Roseff:


He has posted an image of this neon blue room on his Instagram page, along with dozens of glowing remarks. One is from the fabulous Mary McDonald, whose work I’ve long admired. She knows how to use saturated colors so they feel good, not like an instant migraine.

The main point for me isn’t the design so much. (even though I can’t stand it. lol) It’s WHERE they chose to put the design; plus, the stripping from this place certain structures charcteristics that are part of its unique heritage. Fine if one doesn’t like that. But then, please buy a home somewhere else that aligns with your aesthetic, not a building that’s part of the National Register of Historic Places.

From reading all of your fantastic comments, I gather that most of you who commented feel that way, too.



***Please check out the recently updated HOT SALES!

There is now an Amazon link on my home page and below. Thank you for the suggestion!

Please note that I have decided not to create a membership site. However, this website is very expensive to run. To provide this content, I rely on you, the kind readers of my blog, to use my affiliate links whenever possible for items you need and want. There is no extra charge to you. The vendor you’re purchasing from pays me a small commission.

Amazon ad

To facilitate this, some readers have asked me to put

A link to Amazon.com is on my home page.

Please click the link before items go into your shopping cart. Some people save their purchases in their “save for later folder.” Then, if you remember, please come back and click my Amazon link, and then you’re free to place your orders. While most vendor links have a cookie that lasts a while, Amazon’s cookies only last up to 24 hours.

Thank you so much!

I very much appreciate your help and support!

Welcome To Laurel Home!


Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

New Edition, November 2023! Get The Indispensable Guide For 100s of Home Furnishings And Interior Design Sources That Everyone Is Raving About

laurels-rolodex-final-book-cover-master 10th edition 23-24

laurel home archives


Please click the image below for more info about my rockin’ Interior Design Guides for 2024!

Laurel Home Interior Design Guides 2024
Amazon ad

please click below to check out my favorite decorating & design books

Laurel Bern's Favorite Interior Design and Decorating Books
Subscribe To The Laurel Home Blog And You Will Receive A FREE Guide Where I Share How To Get Your Paint Colors Right, The First Time.