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RH (formerly called Restoration Hardware) continues its transformation from a hardware retailer to a lifestyle brand at its stunning Gallery store in Boston. The 37,670-sq.-ft. space, which took top honors in the 2014. A.R.E. Design Awards competition, is located in a landmark building in the heart of the city’s Back Bay.
Originally the home of the Museum of Natural History, the building, designed in 1862, has been carefully restored, on both the exterior and interior, to its former glory, and reimagined consistent with its original vision as a museum. Decades of structural modifications were stripped away and original details reinstated, putting the focus on the dramatic architecture.
Entering the space, a three-story central atrium is anchored by a custom elevator with a steel-caged glass-cab. Artistic vignettes of RH furniture, accented with found objects, create a gallery-like experience throughout the store. From the fresh floral bouquets in the atrium to the 18-ft. antiqued mirrored archways reflecting 12 sparkling crystal chandeliers reminiscent of the Palace of Versailles on level two, the space is filled with artistic installations that give customers home-design inspiration. Level three features an indoor conservatory and park with reproduction heritage olive trees, a 24-ft. illuminated steel Eiffel Tower, and a wine bar. All are housed under the restored original vaulted and iridescent gold-coffered ceiling.
The third floor is also home to four "Clubrooms," including the Billiards Room, complete with a refurbished vintage Brunswick table, open for play; the Music Room, a tribute to the days of vinyl, rock & roll and Motown, also home to a 100-year-old beer bar salvaged from a local Boston pub; the Library, filled with design and architecture reads; and the Cinema, celebrating the art of film and fame.
The building’s restored subterranean level is home to the first RH Baby & Child Gallery on the East Coast. Punctuated by original, 12-ft. vaulted brick ceilings, the space provides a new and innovative approach to designing and outfitting nurseries and children's rooms.
The building’s original winder staircase, previously hidden behind walls, has been exposed through dramatic steel and glass archways, winding its way up to the third floor.
Architect/architect of record: Bergmeyer Associates, Boston