The Back Bay's most extraordinary interior is found in the house built for Frederick Ayer, who made his fortune in patent medicines. The choice of Tiffany Studios as the interior decorators for this building made it immediately distinctive on the Boston scene. The ornamentation of the exterior facade—both the stained glass screens for the windows and the mosaic panels set into the walls—announce a very different building from the surrounding structures. The true revelation, however, occurs upon entering the stair hall, a masterpiece of white marble with turquoise and gold mosaic decoration. The hall focuses on the theatrical stairway with a trompe l'oeil scene in glass of classical temples on a hillside. Since 1966, the house has been used by the Bayridge Residence and Cultural Center, a residence for women, and has worked hard to restore the building in recent years.
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Frederick Ayer House
1900–1901, A. J. Manning with Tiffany Studios; 1997 restoration, McGinley Kaldsow and Associates. 395 Commonwealth Ave.
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