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Building in the City: Going Up!

An upscale three-level Boston row house constructed by Columbia Contracting Corp.

Born and bred Bostonians Arthur Massaro and Kate Durrane of Columbia Contracting Corp. know the city’s neighborhoods well—their charms and eccentricities. When building within the city limits—whether new constructions or historic renovations—it’s crucial to have a builder that knows the ins and outs of each enclave, from permitting to logistics to best practices.

Upscale Boston row house built by Columbia Contracting Corp.

This striking townhouse in a tight-knit neighborhood is a testament to the custom builder’s dexterity. Working within a width of just 27 feet, with only a 2.5-foot alleyway and little to no access, Columbia Contracting Corp. had to demo the existing structure by hand before building from the ground up. (We do mean up; the statuesque row house has three levels, culminating in a cedar roof deck.) 

Interior of an upscale Boston row house built by Columbia Contracting Corp.

Building a new construction single family custom home is almost unheard of in Boston’s Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Charlestown and South End neighborhoods,” explains Director of Operations Kate Durrane. So, how exactly does a home like this reach completion?

Upscale Boston row house roof deck built by Columbia Contracting Corp.

Photo by Warren Patterson

Through constant coordination, virtuosic staging, live loading, delivery management (from the order setup to the size of the truck that can navigate a single-lane street), police details, crane lifts and cooperation from the neighbors. Organization is paramount with such a small footprint. Says Durrane, “Everything is connected and interconnected.”

To learn more about the city builder, visit

Architecture by Flavin Architects; Interior Design by Erica Darnall Design; photos by Keitaro Yoshioka except where noted.

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