A Boston Pied-à-Terre

August 25, 2023

Designer Meghan Shadrick turns a petite pied-à-terre into a chic Boston getaway.

Text by Lisa H. Speidel    Photography by Jared Kuzia

When the pandemic sent many scurrying to scoop up spacious coastal retreats, Sue and Don did the opposite. The South Shore residents had their sights set on finding a second home in the city. “My brother is a realtor in Boston,” says Sue; “he showed us this place on what would have been Marathon Monday.

There wasn’t a soul around.”The one-bedroom, one-bath Back Bay condo with pretty views of the Charles River was perfect. Sue, a teacher in Newton, wanted the occasional weeknight “crash pad” that doubled as a spot for weekend getaways and a place to enjoy pre-dinner cocktails with family and friends. At only 500 square feet, however, a (very) efficient use of space was top of mind. That’s where designer Meghan Shadrick came in.

Over the years, the unit, which sits on the top floor of a building that dates to the 1800s, had been stripped of its character. “It had sort of a Scandinavian-Ikea-cheap vibe, not a Scandinavian-cool vibe,” remembers Shadrick. Her goal was to keep it light and airy—still with a bit of a Scandinavian bent—but to infuse it with personality in the form of some moodier elements.

Shadrick nodded to the river views by skewing ever-so-subtly nautical (note the shiplap walls in the living room, the walnut cabinetry in the kitchen, and the slanted sliding closet door that reminds Sue of a sail). But she also paid homage to the Back Bay location with a cocoon-like bedroom—wrapped completely in Lewis & Wood’s Pomegranate Fresco—that conjures old Boston. Wall-mounted Visual Comfort reading sconces—Sue found and fell for these—and tiny round nightstands reinforce the aesthetic.

While Shadrick kept the condo’s overall layout, she realigned the kitchen to maximize seating in the living room (game-day gatherings are a must). She also designed a freestanding half-moon table that can extend the counter or slide out of the way; Richlite countertops, which are fabricated from paper, ensure the table is light enough to move.

In fact, ingenious ideas like this are behind most of Shadrick’s space-saving solutions. Solutions that turned a “crash pad” into an urban oasis designed to rival the best boutique hotels. Who needs to flee to the coast? “Every time I go,” says Sue, “I feel like I’m on vacation.”

Interior design: Meghan Shadrick Interiors

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