Urban Legend, July/August 2010

With a dark palette and sleek lines, the 3,000-square-foot duplex apartment is flawlessly detailed. Lighting is recessed and unobtrusive. Most fixtures are concealed. “We tried to hide all hardware to get a clean look,” Peng explains. “I like a minimal style, something that is quiet and reflective,” echoes the owner. “It’s a Japanese aesthetic—open space over clutter. The Western aesthetic is more about filling up spaces.”

The loft’s square footage, with its nearly 18-foot-high ceilings, wooed the couple. The structure’s history also held allure: Built in 1918 as the Boston Transit Building at Newbury Street and Massachusetts Avenue, it was retrofitted by architect Frank Gehry in 1987; he added two more stories and a dramatic parapet supported by oversized lead-coated struts...