Real Estate

A Monument To Spite, Boston’s ‘Skinny House’ Hits Market At $1.2M

An abnormally narrow, century-old house crammed between two red-brick buildings in Boston hit the market this week for $1.2 million — and it already has an array of buyers jostling over its future, according to the property’s listing agent.

The key to understanding the interest in this bizarre “Skinny House” property is to read up on its bitter origin story, which Boston Magazine recently laid out once again in amusing detail.

In the late 19th century, so the story goes, two brothers found themselves in a feud over their father’s inheritance, the magazine says. One brother was a Civil War veteran who came home from the conflict to find the other had built a larger house on their shared land. 

For the brother who had risked his life in the war, the sight was simply too much to bear. In an apparent effort to obstruct his brother’s view of the harbor, he erected the Skinny House between two other nearby properties.

Now that view will belong to the next owner of the Skinny House, a 10-foot-wide residence that manages to contain 1,165 square feet of space by extending four stories high.

The home has become something of a local legend, the magazine said.

“Every tourist that comes to town and does the Freedom Trail wants to be in front of this house and take a picture,” Travis Fachs of Boston-based CL Properties told the publication.

The listing agent, CL Properties’ Carmela Laurella, said the property had already generated substantial interest since it went up for sale on Monday. The property is not only worth owning for its place in the city’s history, she said — it’s also worth living in.

“The place just lives much larger than the square footage states,” Laurella told Boston Magazine. “It just feels like such a really comfortable home. It really lives larger. It’s all the windows and gardens and views.”

Despite the tiny size of each floor, the building manages to house two bedrooms, a bathroom, a full laundry room and a full-sized kitchen. It also features a surprising amount of outdoor space, including a rooftop patio and a private garden.

The space inside feels relatively modern thanks to the most recent owner’s efforts, Laurella said in the interview. Several key components have been updated in the last four years, including the heating and air conditioning systems, the lighting, kitchen appliances and the garden area.

The property last sold in 2017 for $900,000, the magazine reports.

Email Daniel Houston

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