At The Archer Residences, a prestigious new address in one of the country's oldest and most picturesque neighborhoods, Alexandra Slote - one of Boston society's go-to interior designers - disrupts the status quo.
photos: Sean Litchfield
Converted from the nearly 100-year-old Suffolk University Law School building, the Archer Residences is a relative newcomer in historic Beacon Hill, one of Boston's earliest and most exclusive neighborhoods. With its cobblestone streets, gas lanterns, and Federal-style rowhouses, Beacon Hill exudes an irresistible charm. You'll find myriad antique shops, lovely boutiques, and vibrant fine dining and drinking establishments galore... but modern design? Well, that's somewhat less abundant.
Archer's contemporary take on quintessential Beacon Hill combines the area's historic appeal with all the comforts and conveniences of a full-service luxury condominium. From 24-hour concierge and valet parking to a state-of-the-art fitness center, a spacious roof terrace with sweeping city views, and rooms designed for lounging or entertainment, nothing is left to be desired.
The building's red brick façade and the interior's traditional millwork, prefinished oak floors, and soaring ceilings speak to Federal, Greek Revival, and Pre-War architecture, yet inside, the custom Waterworks fixtures and refurbished black metal windows seem more apropos of a loft in lower Manhattan than a historic landmark in Boston.
Certainly, a project intended to break the mold warranted a professional capable of doing the same. It called for someone with a keen talent for translating both the modern and traditional design aesthetic into one perfect space.
The work of Alexandra Slote, principal of Boston's Alexandra Slote Interiors (ASI), continually catches the eye of financiers, real estate developers, executives, and celebrities. Her firm offers full-scale project management, space planning, and bespoke customization. Among her other recent local projects are 89 Beacon, South Boston, Commercial Wharf, units in Millennium Tower and Millennium Place, and a six-story brownstone on scenic Marlborough Street.
It's a boast-worthy portfolio for sure, but Slote, strikingly humble and down-to-earth, acknowledges she's not the only the game in town. "There are just so many good designers in Boston, and I’m proud to be among them," she says.
photo by Michael Diskin
In the midst of her juggling multiple jobs, settling into a new home on The Cape, and expecting her first child due this January, I managed to catch up with the designer to discuss her vision and process for The Archer:
TDR: How long has interior design been a part of your life?
AS: Since childhood really. My great-grandmother was a gifted decorator, absent any formal training. She was a very cool lady and so ahead of her time, mixing Chinoserie, lacquered furniture, and leopard prints back in the '50s. I'm lucky to have inherited many of her pieces.
TDR: How did your personal style play into your design for Archer Residences?
AS: My own style is eclectic; for example, I love mixing antiques with modern art. And while I'm able to achieve any style a client wants, in this instance of it being a model home, there was no "real" client... so I imagined in my head the client who would buy the unit. I envisioned an older couple moving into the city from the suburbs after their kids are grown. They want to entertain, go to shows, enjoy all that Boston has to offer. And they own a fabulous art collection!
TDR: Well this home does indeed have fabulous art. Tell us about that.
AS: I have a relationship with the wonderful Galerie d'Orsay on Newbury Street, and they helped me bring in a variety of special artworks on loan.
ENTRY HALL: glass top console table with brass tubular legs: CB2; textured vinyl wallcovering: Thibault; Kathy Buist oil painting on circular canvas on loan from Galerie d'Orsay, Boston
LIVING ROOM: Slote installed a fireplace with hand-carved nero marquina black marble mantel from Chesneys to play off the windows and bring an Old World charm to the modernized interior. The flag-themed artwork above it is by NYC graffiti outlaw-turned-fine artist George "Sen-1" Morillo, who has received commissions from such notable figures as former First Lady Michelle Obama, rapper Fabolous and singer-songwriter Rita Ora. Slote selected the piece as an ode to The Massachusetts State House, whose gold dome can be viewed from the residence.
The built-in shelving units that flank the fireplace are made of rift-cut oak, and were designed and fabricated by Alexandra Slote Interiors.
Ivory sofa from Article; decorative pillows: Kelly Wearstler for Lee Jofa; curved coffee table from CB2; rug from Surya; black cane-back chairs from Crate & Barrel; performance linen accent chair with gold legs sourced locally at Modern Relik, Boston
marble buffet from Bernhardt Furniture; yellow cubist wall sculpture by Lori Cozen-Geller, courtesy of Galerie d'Orsay
TDR: How did the architecture of Archer influence your design concept?
AS: Typically when we think of Boston we think of traditional architectural elements, but this building had a modern feel on the inside. The architect, LDa Architecture, had already reinvented the gorgeous windows; it reminded me of NYC. So, I pushed it a bit further, bringing in contemporary furnishings, lighting, and accessories... plus bold wallpapers to create a fun, energetic contrast to the pre-War sophistication of the structure.
DINING ROOM: Slote selected the Selamat Designs tall bar cabinet - adorned with a decorative layered flower and vine motif of metal and cane - to bring height and textural interest. live-edge wood dining table and cream performance velvet chairs: CB2; hanging light with smoked glass globes: Tech Lighting
To complement the tones of the existing hanging pendants, fixtures, and hardware in the kitchen, Slote found the perfect rose gold stools on Amazon*. I've found a similar style, available here! Brage Living Four-Legged Adjustable Height Barstool (*note: as an Amazon affiliate, I may earn a small commission from your purchase)
For this private breakfast nook directly off the kitchen, Slote chose Schumacher's iconic "Queen of Spain" pattern wallpaper in "black", first introduced in 1963 and still fresh and perfect today. breakfast table: Serena & Lily; cane-back side chairs: Pottery Barn; raffia sideboard: Made Goods; artwork: "Hitchhiker, Prada Marfa" by Gray Malin; wire light fixture: Modern Relik; poppies painting by Donald Sultan on loan from Galerie d'Orsay
MASTER BEDROOM: wood, rush and metal canopy bed by Bernhardt Furniture; bedding featuring sky blue quilted euro pillows from Matouk Linens; print wallpaper: Arte International; nightstands and table lamps: Made Goods; pewter pedestal: Currey & Co.; viscose and silk area rug: Surya; boucle chair with leather-wrapped arms: Lulu & Georgia; artwork:"Maruru" woodcut on China paper by Paul Gaugin, on loan from Galerie D'Orsay
TDR: How did you maneuver through any challenges the project presented?
AS: Because I wasn't working with an unlimited budget, I mixed in a lot of store-bought items; fortunately many retailers nowadays offer affordable pieces that are stylistically on-point. Also, since I was designing during the height of the pandemic, I made an effort to shop locally to support small businesses that might have been struggling at the time.
cane and wood bed: CB2; pale orange Chinoserie wallpaper: Arte International; bed linens: Matouk; blue duvet cover: Ralph Lauren; white diamond-stitched quilt and "Two Elephants" decorative pillow: John Robshaw; wood with brass detailing demilune nightstands, and bamboo accent chair: Anthropologie; area rug: Surya
pink toile wallcovering: Arte International; embossed metal nightstands: Anthropologie; lamps: Visual Comfort
The Archer Residences recently opened to buyers and is already selling well hot off the presses. It even put a $10M penthouse into contract — one of the biggest sales in Boston and Beacon Hill during the pandemic.
For more info on The Archer Residences, visit: thearcherresidences.com
For more info on Alexandra Slote Interiors, visit: alexandrasloteinteriors.com