Have you heard the one about the feud between the two Boston brothers that led to “The Skinny House” (aka, “Spite House”)? If not, the legendary tale goes something like this: Way back in the 1800s, the brothers inherited a plot of land in the city’s North End from their deceased father. While one was off fighting in the Civil War, the other decided to build a house occupying most of the land. Peeved upon his return, the soldier built a narrow, four-story house on what was left of the parcel, making sure it would block the larger home’s sunlight and harbor views. Today, that “ultra-skinny” house still stands, and it clocks in as the narrowest residential structure in Boston, with a maximum width of 10 feet. After hitting the market in early August with a $1.2 million ask, the uniquely shaped home has sold to a family of four for $1.25 million.
Nestled between two brick buildings atop Copp’s Hill — across the street from the Copp’s Hill Burying Ground and near Old North Church, both stops on Boston’s historic Freedom Trail — the pale green house measures 30 feet long. Inside, just over 1,100 square feet of updated living space boasts original details, such as exposed brick, wood-beam ceilings and antique hardwood floors, alongside modern-day amenities like a Nest thermostat, recessed lighting and motorized window treatments.
Though the quarters are tight — folks reportedly have to inch down the narrow alley to open the main door — the house manages to pack a lot into its tiny profile. The first level is highlighted by a gallery-style kitchen sporting stainless appliances, custom cabinetry, stone countertops and a farmhouse sink, which opens to a small dining room with a Juliette balcony overlooking gardens. A living room, blue-tiled bathroom and another dining area are found on the second floor, while the third level hosts a study and bedroom with built-in bunk beds.
Holding court all by itself on the top floor is the master suite, which is spotlighted by a custom closet and lighting, along with direct access to a roof deck offering up panoramic city and harbor views. There’s also plenty of room to spread out in the grassy backyard, which hosts a patio and garden, plus a full-sized basement.
Could this be a new trend? Two other skinny houses also are currently on the market: one in New York City’s Greenwich Village, a 9-foot-6-inch-wide townhouse listed for $5 million; and the other across the pond in London’s South Kensington neighborhood, which measures 6 feet across at its narrowest spot and is going for just over $1 million. Carmela Laurella of CL Properties served as the listing agent for the Boston house, with the buyers repped by Valerie Filiberto of A&S Realty.