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chartruscan
09-18-2011, 06:23 AM
I have a character that lives in Beacon Hill, but beyond that the streets are cobblestone and there are these cool creepy little alleys that are somewhat sublevel leading to courtyards in the back, I can't find any info on layouts or tenancy.

I imagine that they each building was once intended to be a single family home. I intend that this is an unrenovated building and all of it is owned by the character.

I'm looking for info on floorplans, what the courtyards were historically like, what they are like to today (especially in relation to neighbors), where the washer and dryer would be located, basements, how many floors, how the frick trash pick-up and recycling is handled present-day. I also want to have either roof-top access, or the top floor having the back half be a terrace, and how realistic that would be for a building in this neighborhood.

Medievalist
09-18-2011, 06:26 AM
http://www.google.com/search?gcx=c&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=beacon+hill+boston+historic+homes

chartruscan
09-18-2011, 06:41 AM
thanks, I've been poring over google for hours now. Was there a particular link in there that I should be looking at?

Medievalist
09-18-2011, 06:47 AM
I'd start by clicking the Images link at the top, then go from there.

And I'd use Google Street View, to.

There are a number of historic houses that are open for viewing--and have their own Web sites.

If you know your era, there are a number of old maps.

There are houses for sale in the area now, with images inside and out, and pictures of the yards; search boston brownstones.

chartruscan
09-18-2011, 06:51 AM
Thanks. I have been searching Boston Brownstones. I'm getting lots of historical facts about who lived there, it's development, but not what living there NOW is like. I've only just started delving into real estate sites, which, at least so far, are pretty sparse on the details I want.

jclarkdawe
09-18-2011, 06:58 AM
Beacon Hill is a very complex neighborhood. Louisburg Square goes for much more than a million to apartments rented by students. There's the side towards Boston Common, and then there's the other side. There are single family residences and apartment buildings. There's the Charles River. And floor plans are whatever the owners decide on.

The gas lights and cobblestone streets (not all are cobblestone) are cool. The extremely limited parking and one-way streets are not. Trash collection used to be three times per week, and needed to be. And despite having its top cut off, it's still a hill.

Some places have accessible rooftops, others do not. Buildings back onto either alleys or other buildings. You cannot do anything to the exterior of any building without approval.

I haven't lived there for something like thirty years, but we had a nice one bedroom apartment in a five story building on Garden Street. You need to figure out how much your character has to live on. Louisburg Square, Acorn Street, or Beacon Street are going to run you in the serious seven figures. Most single family buildings will probably be around the million mark. But once you figure out money, you can start figuring out where the person lives.

Here's an ad for Acorn Street -- 1-A Acorn Street, Boston MA 02108 | Homes.com (http://www.homes.com/listing/91458909/1-A_Acorn_Street_BOSTON_MA_02108). That's $2.6 million. On the other hand, here's one for Garden Street -- 26 Garden St Boston MA - Home For Sale and Real Estate Listing ... (http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/26-Garden-St_Boston_MA_02114_M39307-37280) It's a steal at $844k.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Medievalist
09-18-2011, 07:00 AM
Thanks. I have been searching Boston Brownstones. I'm getting lots of historical facts about who lived there, it's development, but not what living there NOW is like. I've only just started delving into real estate sites, which, at least so far, are pretty sparse on the details I want.

Check out Google Street View.

LauraAnnSwanson
09-18-2011, 07:01 AM
I would just go to realtor websites and do some home tours for Beacon Hill. :D

chartruscan
09-18-2011, 07:07 AM
that's extremely helpful, thanks!

Hmm, character is a doctor. Trauma surgeon of 8 years. I'll need to research his salary. Maybe he just owns/rents the top floor . . .

chartruscan
09-18-2011, 07:39 AM
Quicksearch results, it looks like $160,000 is what is expected to live on Beacon Hill. From what I can gather in general on surgeon's salaries: $226,000-$520,000. This is kind of a cracky story where the leads are all Mary Sue's, basically. This trauma surgeon is Very Good. He owned the house with his wife, is now divorced, and she left him everything in her desperation to be rid of him as cleanly as possible (including the mortgage and the bills) back in 2005.

Snick
09-18-2011, 03:11 PM
There is a lot of variation in the housing in that area. JCD is perfectly correct There area is perfect for students who don't have cars, but for most people it is very inconvenient. As for layout, use whatever you want.

chartruscan
09-18-2011, 03:15 PM
I'm confused, I'm hearing a lot about how it's perfect for students, but too expensive for anyone but the very rich?

jaksen
09-18-2011, 04:15 PM
I'm confused, I'm hearing a lot about how it's perfect for students, but too expensive for anyone but the very rich?

My sister lived in one for a while back in the 1960's.

The students don't own them; they rent them, sharing rent costs with one or more roommates.

They scare me, though, as many parts of Boston do. In a major earthquake, they'd tumble like a pile of dominoes.

jclarkdawe
09-18-2011, 04:40 PM
It's right next to Mass General, so a surgeon living there makes sense. It would be a ten or fifteen minute walk to work.

I knew something was bugging me last night. Beacon Hill does not have brownstones. The buildings are brick and are mostly Federal style rowhouses. Brownstone is a specific building material.

Beacon Hill has a lot of single-family residences. These are expensive. It also has a lot of studio and one-bedroom apartments. Expensive compared to some other neighborhoods, but in a very safe area. I'm sure a lot of parents help their kids to live there.

Further, it's right next to Charles and Park Street on the T. There's absolutely no need for a car. (And actually a car is a pain in the butt. It has to be moved every day because of street cleaning.) You can easily walk to everything important in Boston, so it's big-city living, yet rather quiet and low-crime.

Further, where you live on Beacon Hill makes a lot of difference. The two houses I listed in my previous post are less than a half-mile apart. But location, location, location matters.

To give you an example, one bedroom apartments seem to be going for $2,000 to $3,000+ on Beacon Hill. Dorchester, a much-less desirable neighborhood, one-bedroom apartments are going for $1,000 to $2,000. But Dorchester pretty much requires a car, has a higher crime rate, requires a trip to get to "Boston," and is just not as desirable.

Beacon Hill has a lot of nice features, but also some serious showing up your neighbors. Buying a place there is for serious city dwellers, who want people to know what good taste they have.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Snick
09-18-2011, 07:56 PM
If you actually want your story to be in a brownstone, then the Back Bay would be the place It is almostly expensive, fashionable, etc. There are block after block of brownstone houses. It is a mix of one family and multi-family housing. it is possible to drive through,. It is only about 150 years old, havinf been built on fill from The three hills that used to be where Beacon Hill is now,Dorchester, and South Boston.

chartruscan
09-18-2011, 08:44 PM
What I want, ideally, for the purposes of the story: -have a doctor living within his means, but I'm willing to stretch his finances -I like the Beacon Hill area for aesthetics (closer to Grove street is fine) -occupy the whole building (rowhouse, townhouse, whichever) -walking distance of Mass General -he does have a car -building has a stoop -a courtyard or some type of back area where it's not butting up against another building. -rooftop access -unrenovated I'm not aiming for strict reality here, I really was just looking for physical details that I might not think of, having grown up in Victorians and Capes in Mass and NH. Like, does the basement have a dirt floor

jclarkdawe
09-18-2011, 09:21 PM
What I want, ideally, for the purposes of the story: -have a doctor living within his means, but I'm willing to stretch his finances -I like the Beacon Hill area for aesthetics (closer to Grove street is fine) Grove Street especially towards Cambridge Street would work. It's on the lower end of desirable. -occupy the whole building (rowhouse, townhouse, whichever) I can't remember the buildings on Grove Street, but there are probably some single residence houses there. -walking distance of Mass General Straight down Grove, across Cambridge (wish him luck) and then down North Grove. -he does have a car Think about this. There's no off street parking and street parking is a pain in the ass. You can pay for off street parking, but add in several hundred dollars to his monthly expenses. There used to be a grocery store right down Cambridge. Usually living here you rely on the T for local, and rent a car when you need one. It's actually a lot cheaper than owning. -building has a stoop -a courtyard or some type of back area where it's not butting up against another building. That's going to add a lot to the cost, and is very unusual. And if he has something, think about something the size of two or three sheets of plywood. In other words, you'll be able to spit across it. But remember he's right next to the Charles River and the Esplanade. You'd go down there if you wanted to have a picnic or something like that. -rooftop access Probably easily down in a single-family. Realize that theft proofing this entrance is important. And at least one of the buildings surrounding the place will be higher. You won't be able to get an unobstructed view. -unrenovated I don't quite know what you mean. All buildings in Beacon Hill have to maintain the correct historical atmosphere. There isn't one that hasn't been renovated within the last thirty years. You're going to get all the modern conviences without it looking like a modern house. If you're living in Beacon Hill, you want historical, but you don't want to suffer to get it (other than in the wallet). I'm not aiming for strict reality here, I really was just looking for physical details that I might not think of, having grown up in Victorians and Capes in Mass and NH. Like, does the basement have a dirt floor Basements are not that common, but would be cement. Remember that Beacon Hill is all ledge, because the top soil was removed long ago. What's left is solid rock.

By the way, don't forget the cockroaches. When you poison them in your place, they move next door, until they take out their can of Raid. Then they come back. Wet, hot summer days will produce a distinct odor of rotting garbage. It's not as clean as it should be.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Snick
09-18-2011, 10:11 PM
If those are your specifications, then you might consider changing his hospital and having him live in the South End, much of which was beautifully gentrified in the 1970's and '80's. It's a forty five minute walk to Mass General instead of a ten minute walk from Beacon Hill, but there are many other hospitals, or your could have him ride a bicycle. The South End is not as ritzy as Beacon Hill, but it is almost as interesting. There are actual backyards in some places where people can even have gardens, instead of having to go to the country place to play in the garden. You might also consider putting him in the North End, which is as historic as Beacon Hill.