BHAC Approves Rear-Door Replacement for Proposed Charles Street Hummus Shop

The Beacon Hill Architectural Commission unanimously approved an application as submitted for the replacement of a set of rear doors at a proposed Charles Street hummus shop during the commission’s monthly hearing held virtually on Thursday, March 21.

Colin Daly, the proprietor of The Hummus Shop, which intends to open at 37A Charles St. in the retail space above Anton’s Cleaners, said the business plans to replace the existing, wood, non-functioning double-backdoors at the rear of the business on Cedar Lane Way with dual, wood Dutch doors, which would open inwards.

As opposed to the existing windowless doors, the top portions of each of new doors would be outfitted with true divided-light windows, said Daly. As the sole windows, they would be the only source of natural light into retail space, he added.

The new doors would be used primarily for deliveries, said Daly,  and not accessible to customers, who would instead use the store’s main entrance on Charles Street.

The commission’s determination on this application came with several provisos, including that insulated glass be used in the windows; that the window muttons have a thickness of 7/8 inches or smaller and use dark spacer bars between the windowpanes;  that the hardware be rendered with a brass finish; and that shop drawings be submitted to staff (Nicholas Armata), among other stipulations.

The commission  had unanimously approved an application for new outdoor signage for The Hummus Shop at its Feb. 15 monthly hearing, which also took place virtually.

In another matter, the commission unanimously approved as presented an application to rebuild the first-floor entrance at 151 Charles St., with reduced window widths.

(The building, which is home to Beacon Hill Cleaners on its first floor, as well as several residential units above it, was the site of an emergency evacuation in December of 2022 due to structural deficiencies that allegedly resulted from illegal, basement excavation work at the adjacent building at 149 Charles St., according to a lawsuit filed by the owner of 151 Charles St. against the owner of 149 Charles St. on Jan. 31, 2023, in Suffolk Superior Court.)

In another matter, the commission approved an application for 70-72 Mt. Vernon St., with proposed work including the replacement of the existing, non-historic entry steps with granite steps, as well as minor brownstone repairs to the adjoining steps.

The applicant, Judith Selwyn, said the twin townhouses had been altered significantly over the years while the existing steps were substantially deteriorated. 

“We have a real tripping hazard here,” said Selwyn, who added that the new white, granite steps would have a thermal finish to reduce the slipping hazard, as well as a smooth face.

Chair Mark Kiefer, who cast the only dissenting vote on this application, expressed a preference for using cast stone instead of granite for the new steps, since he believes the building most likely had brownstone steps.

Commissioner Maurice Finegold recused himself from adjudicating this matter.

The determination for this application came with the proviso that the applicant submit a sample of the material to staff for prior approval.

On an application for 35 Beacon St., the commission voted to approve the proposed work as submitted, which included the replacement of two front historic windows in Unit #4. (Chair Kiefer recused himself from this matter because he is an abutter, so in his stead, Vice Chair Arain Allen led the adjudication for this application.)

The applicant, James Reichheld, said neither of the two existing replacement windows are original to the building, nor do they function well. Both windows show evidence of “definite rot,” he added, and neither window has original glass.

“They’re not original, they’re not in good shape, and we can return the building to its more authentic self [by replacing the two windows],” said Reichheld, who added that the new handcrafted, custom windows, rendered by JB Sash and Door of Chelsea, would be true divided-light with double-pane glass and dark spacers.

Moreover, Reichheld said he is working to restore the window in the study, which is the building’s only original window and also has one, remaining original windowpane.

Besides Chair Kiefer and Vice Chair Allen, Commissioners Finegold, Edward Fleck, Annette Given, Ralph Jackson, Alice Richmond,  and Sandra Steele were on hand for the hearing.

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