Designer Jamie Keskin revamps a Charlestown condo using choice materials and savvy strategies.By Kiley Jacques | Photography by Kyle J. Caldwell Pictured above: Using a creamy palette and clean accents, Keskin amplifies the natural light that streams in from 16-paned mill building windows. A coffee table by Ballard Designs works in harmony with table lamps from Lamps Plus, a Mongolian lamb pillow by West Elm, and a vintage-style throw rug—for an accommodating, chic ensemble worthy of its Charlestown location.
Simple. Serene. And seemingly spacious. That was interior designer Jamie Keskin’s intent when she set about turning a dark and dated 800-square-foot Charlestown condo into a bright and beloved urban abode. “Open and airy” are words Keskin uses often when describing the project, which is located in Boston’s former Navy Yard. Housed in the Basilica—a turn-of-the-20th-century warehouse once used as a shipbuilding facility/metalworking shop—the place enjoys “elements of a utilitarian past” and “church-like details,” Keskin points out.
Arguably Keskin’s pièce de résistance is the new breakfast nook. What was once a catchall cove for clutter is now an enchanting seating area with room for four. “I love the breakfast nook—the before and after of it is such a transformation,” enthuses Keskin. “I love the look of it and how it all came together. But I also love how well it functions.”
The kitchen called for a cosmetic makeover. The removal of some cabinetry made room for a dining area, graced with Louis XVI-style barstools in gray linen and glass pendant lighting. By painting the cabinets and adding a tile backsplash, new countertops and an updated stove, Keskin “kept the space bright and classic.”
Of the first-floor living area, Keskin says, “The client wanted to fit a full-size living room into a tight space.” The primary challenge was to open up the cramped quarters. Paint and fabric colors in combination with accents of glass and antique brass helped achieve that goal. The owner’s penchant for entertaining informed design choices such as the small-scale nailhead sofa for three and ample surface area of the side tables and glass coffee table. The pairing of a traditional-style rug with a contemporary sofa and club chair reflects the client’s appreciation for both aesthetics.
Pine flooring and a flood of natural light from the large industrial windows aided Keskin in her mission to lighten things up. For window treatments, she went with natural woven wood shades. “I love to use [them] in my projects,” she says. “They add texture and provide privacy, but allow just the right amount of light in, when needed.”
The bathroom was completely gutted to make way for a “spa-like retreat.” The constricted space was maximized by removing a washer/dryer closet and a tub/shower combo in favor of a fully tiled walk-in shower. Gray Carrara marble tile in the shower and a mini-hexagon pattern for the floor lend an elegant feel.
The oddly shaped loft-style bedroom called for creativity. A creamy color palette is punctuated by a navy-blue velvet-upholstered bed chosen for its “luxurious” appeal. Furthering that somewhat palatial feeling are a faux-fur throw, white duvet and shams, and custom-made decorative pillows. A tufted chaise in gray linen and a hexagon-shape side table with marble base are in keeping with the theme.
The mixing and matching of materials and styles in combination with her freedom to choose pieces of different price points enabled Keskin to achieve her design intent to open up the place and make it “light and airy.” Somehow, too, she managed to make it enviably spacious.