The Beacon Hill Architectural Commission unanimously approved an application as submitted from the J. McLaughlin clothing store to replace its awning and modify its exterior signage at the commission’s monthly public hearing, which was held virtually on Thursday, Sept. 21.
Christopher Daly, a retail project manager for Larson Architecture, said the retail establishment at 34 Charles St. has had its awning and outside signage for around 12 years, and that the awning is now approaching the end of its “usable life.”
Meanwhile, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based J. McLaughlin, which has about 180 locations nationwide, is in the process of adopting new branding colors, including powder blue, and its Charles Street location – one of the chain’s flagship stores – would be among the first locations to be rebranded, said Daly.
Besides painting the existing blade sign powder blue, the application also proposes swapping out the existing gold-colored, wall mounted lettering, which spells out the business’s name, with similar-sized, powder-coated blue lettering. Existing planters would also be painted powder blue as part of the store’s rebranding efforts, although these fixtures would be put in storage during the winter months.
Moreover, the applicant proposes the installation of several graphic window-decals adorned with the business’s name, but that, along with proposed additional signage on the awning, was ultimately denied by the commission because the requested new signage was deemed excessive per the commission’s guidelines, and in light of the store’s existing blade sign and other exterior signage.
(Commissioner Alice Richmond stated on the record that window decals the commission approved at its April 20 virtual public hearing for the Music Research Library, the record store located at Joy and Myrtle streets at 42 Joy St., was a unique case, especially since that applicant had asked for neither a belt sign, nor a projecting sign, at its unique corner location.)
In another matter, the commission unanimously approved as submitted an application for 1 Otis Place to replace two doors on Mount Vernon Street.
The application entails replacing an existing full-height passage door with a new, four-panel door and frame, as well as removing the existing brick infill and oil pipes at an arched opening and installing a new approximately 4½-foot-tall, “bi-part,” two-panel door there. Both doors would be painted black to match the exterior trim, sash, and oriels.
This determination came with the proviso that prior to demolition, the applicant furnish BHAC staff (Nicholas Armata) with documentation that demonstrates the archway once likely contained a door before it was infilled with brick.
The commission denied an application for 104 Revere St. without prejudice, which entailed replacing both glass panels in the front door, after one of the panels cracked and was replaced with double-pane, frosted glass.
The applicant was instructed to return to the commission with a new application, which would replicate the previous conditions of the glass design, or with a similar design that can be demonstrated as historically accurate for the building.
On an application for 14 West Cedar St., the commission unanimously approved as submitted the proposed work, which entails replacing an existing wood picket-fence at the rear of the property with a framed, latticed, wood privacy-fence, with copper caps.
This determination came with a proviso stating that a horizontal, intermediate rail be removed from the design so that a single lattice piece can be installed in each opening instead.
Continuing on an application for 12 Derne St., which was denied without prejudice at the July 20 virtual public-hearing, the commission unanimously approved the proposed work, which entails painting doors, window trim, and stairs gray to match the building’s existing color-scheme. The front residential door would also be painted rainforest green while the commercial door will be painted black again.
Likewise, continuing on an application for 14-16 Derne St., which was also denied without prejudice at the July 20 virtual public-hearing, the commission approved the proposed work, which entails painting all door and window trim, bay windows, and dormers on the upper floors black to match the existing commercial storefront windows on the first floor. The residential door will also be painted rainforest green.
This determination came with provisos that the applicant work with BHAC staff to find an appropriate “warm” shade of black paint for the windows; and that the orioles and window trim and other window details of the mansard roof retain their tan color, among other stipulations.
This application was approved by all present commissioners, except for Ed Fleck, who voted to deny it.
(Jillian Sargent was the same design consultant who made the presentations for the applications for 12 Derne St., and 14-16 Derne St., respectively, at this hearing, as well as at the commission’s July 20 hearing.)
The commission voted unanimously to approve as submitted an application for 114 Mount Vernon St., which entails the installation of two wrought-iron, handmade handrails on both sides of entryway. The rails would each span 36 inches in length and probably less than 2 inches wide. This determination came with a proviso that fasteners used in the installation of the rails be painted black.
In another matter, the commission unanimously approved an application for 14 Louisburg Square to replace the shutters at the front façade in kind.
The commission also unanimously approved as submitted an application for 1 Chestnut St., which entails installing a ButterflyMX intercom system with a brass cover box in the recessed entryway, where an existing callbox is now located.
The new brass cover box would have measured 8-by-17 inches by 3.25 inches deep, but as a proviso on this determination, the applicant was asked to the “extent feasible” to reduce its proposed length of 17 inches. The applicant was also asked to furnish BHAC staff with drawings that show the correct dimensions of the proposed cover box.
On a violation for the installation of an unapproved Ring doorbell system at 10 Charles River Square, the commission voted to dismiss the violation, due largely to what Chair Mark Kiefer described as its “de minimis visibility” from a public way. The motion for this application also noted the applicant’s “willingness” to make their best effort to reduce the system’s size, as well as to replace black-colored portions of its background plate with brass elements.
This application was approved unanimously by all present commissioners, except for Commissioner Maurice Finegold, who abstained because he said he wasn’t able to hear the entire motion due to technical difficulties he was experiencing.
On a violation for 140 Mount Vernon St., the commission voted unanimously to dismiss the violation and ratify the installation of an unapproved intercom system, as well as to approve painting the front door Europe navy blue.
This determination came with provisos that the applicant install a brass plate to cover both the intercom system and the metal key-box below it; that the installation of the plate isn’t flush with the wall and instead reveal brick on the left-hand side of the entryway; that a non-functioning doorbell is removed from the door frame; and that unless otherwise indicated, the style and dimensions of the brass box match those of the brass box at 87 Beacon St; and that a copy of the drawings of the box for 87 Beacon St. is included in the file for 140 Mount Vernon St., among other stipulations.
BHAC staff will also be charged with ratifying the new, brass street numbers, which will be installed in place of a metal pineapple door knocker, while an existing decal above the door that displays the street numbers would need to be removed.
Additionally, an application for 14 Walnut St. was removed by staff, with proposed work including adding wood paneling on the ceiling to match the existing door and casing; replacing a flush-mount light with a larger one that spans 4 inches; replacing an existing security camera; removing the existing doorbell buzzer; and removing the faux paint finish and restoring it to its original stone.
Besides Commissioners Finegold, Fleck, and Richmond, Chair Mark Kiefer, Vice Chair Arian Allen, and Commissioners Ralph Jackson and Curtis Kemeny were also on hand for the hearing.