Return to Grace

I grew up in an 1840s Greek Revival, and my fascination with historic architecture evolved from that experience. I have always loved the stories old houses can tell us–the histories we can glean from layers of wallpaper or coats of paint, the details we can paste together with fraying yellowed newspapers discovered in a dusty attic. So I was incredibly taken with the 19th century mansion in Lancaster, Massachusetts that I wrote about for the Fall issue of Boston Home. Originally a modest farmhouse, the place was purchased in 1814 by Benjamin Pickman, a wealthy Salem businessman. He transformed the house into an exquisite showpiece for his well-bred bride-to-be. He added a federal facade, four grand front rooms, elongated windows, and superb moldings. Sadly, all Pickman’s efforts were for naught, his fiance broke off the engagement, and the distraught bachelor left town. Over the ensuing years, the house saw several incarnations, and by the time the current owners purchased it, the home was in a dismal state. The owners have spent the last 30 years painstakingly restoring the home to its original grandeur, right down to the ornate wallpapers and wavy glass windows, and oh, what a treasure it is. It’s my job to write about houses, so I’ve seen hundreds of them–this is truly one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever visited.

Here are few photographs that Eric Roth took, to see the rest (and to read my article!) go to: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/boston_home/articles/return_to_grace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Love White Kitchens!

I was thrilled to write about this gorgeous kitchen in Medfield for The Boston Globe Magazine’s annual Kitchens & Baths issue last month. Designed by Medfield-based architect David Sharff, the kitchen is both classic and fresh. I love the custom white cabinetry and the teak-topped island. The homeowners splurged on vaulted ceilings clad with painted wood, and the architectural detail gives the room a serious wow-factor. This kitchen, along with a slew of other white ones I’ve seen over the past several months inspired the design of my new kitchen (photos to come soon!). White cabinets feel bright and timeless to me and though mine are gleaming now, I’ve been told multiple times that they’ll prove to be high maintenance over time, especially with little fingers in the house. But who cares! David Sharff told me that no matter what materials and finishes you select, the minute you begin using a kitchen, wear and tear begins. Since dings, scratches, and stains are unavoidable, I say, chose what you love…

(Big thanks to photographer extraordinaire Michael J. Lee, who took these beautiful photos, for sending the project to me!)

Built-In Beauties

I wrote about the amazing woodwork of Northfield, MA-based Michael Humphries in yesterday’s Boston Globe Magazine. Humphries, who has been honing his craft for nearly 40 years, did an abundance of custom cabinetry in the multi-level Lewis Wharf condominium I profiled for the article. Many pieces were made to emulate the look of 19th-century Biedermeier furniture, and I was mesmerized by his beautiful, precise craftsmanship.

Photo by Shelly Harrison

Spielberg Slept Here

While writing about this gracious Martha’s Vineyard home–designed by Hutker Architects, with stellar interiors by Dedham’s Liz McCabe–I learned that the idyllic oceanfront site once held the cabin where Steven Spielberg crashed during the filming of the first Jaws movie in 1974. When the cabin was razed a few years ago, several hardcore Jaws fans picketed the property, claiming a precious piece of film lore was being destroyed. The article ran in The Boston Globe Magazine on July 31.

Goodbye, Old House

When one door closes another opens. In my life I’ve discovered the old saying to be true so many times. However, it can take a little while for the door to open. We recently sold our house and last week we moved out. It was a sad day for me. My husband Mike and I had loved the house. It was the first place we lived in together. We converted it from a two-family home back to a single-family, the way it was originally built in 1910. I picked every paint color, carpet, and lamp. The house also has special meaning because it was where our son Max spent the first year of his life. During my pregnancy, I often sat in his little green bedroom anticipating his arrival. [Read more...]