written by jaci conroy • photographed by michael j. lee visit
RINDALA AWAD WAGNER • Seeing potential where others didn’t,
she transformed a South End condo into a home with room to grow
IN 2005, A HOUSE-HUNTING DAVID WAGNER CAME UPON A CONDO-
minium on Union Park in Boston’s South End that had been on the market for
more than a year. “He really liked it,” says his wife, architect Rindala Awad Wagner,
“but he told me that it wouldn’t work for us. We wanted a three-bedroom unit, and
this one only had two.” But Awad Wagner had a designer’s eye for possibility.
Located on the lower two levels of an 1850s brownstone, the unit had lofty
ceilings and lovely mouldings on its street-level main floor. “The realtor told us
that potential buyers couldn’t see what to do with the vast entrance hallway,”
says Awad Wagner. “But we loved its sense of openness.” What cinched the deal
for the couple, however, was the basement level, with its exposed brick walls
and archways and access to a coveted outdoor space.
After the showing, Awad Wagner, who worked for renowned Boston architect Moshe Safdie for a decade before starting her own practice in 2010, did a
small sketch that reconfigured the open living space on the lower level to accommodate a bedroom. “And [David] said OK,” she recalls with a smile.
They bought the unit and, shortly after moving in, embarked on a two-phase
renovation project. To maximize the just under 2,000 square feet of space, Awad
Wagner “made sure that every room had a link to the outdoors.”
They concentrated first on the upper level, where the existing two bedrooms
were located. To enhance the master suite, they took some space from the front
bedroom, which David Wagner, who is the president of a high-tech company,
the kitchen was
moved from a
windowless space at
the back of the garden-level living area into an
defined by a brick wall
with arched openings.
The window at the
breakfast nook affords
both natural light and
views to the garden.
Rindala Awad Wagner
(left) at the garden
table where the family
enjoys outdoor meals.