Friday, October 28th, 2011
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.