Our grateful thanks to the homeowners that participated in the 2013 tour! The homes showcased a range of architectural styles, with excellent representative examples from the last four centuries.
“Home and Gardens” magazine, November 1910: “A broad drive of a thousand feet or so forms the approach up-hill to the immense circle before the entrance steps of Dr. FB Harrington’s summer home at Ipswich…the house is a many-gabled rambling structure as delightfully picturesque in every part as it is picturesquely placed…”
Built in 1903 this grand yet charming home is an example of another amazing property off the beaten path in Ipswich. Panoramic views to the marsh, the Neck and beyond take one’s breath away. Since acquiring the property the owners have both expanded and re-imagined the lush perennial gardens and hedges, originally designed by famous Boston landscape architect Arthur Shurtleff, for both beauty and privacy. Walkways and fountains have been re-established as well as the pergola facing the gardens behind the house.
Once inside the home you will be carried back to an earlier and grand age. The modern and thoroughly appointed chef’s kitchen provides space and equipment for entertaining on a large scale. Moving further into the home you will experience the formal dining room, a large entry foyer and sitting room, and a now enclosed three-season porch. Note the detail in the paneling throughout these rooms and especially around the fireplaces. Off the porch sits a shaded and the well-hidden pool and deck area. Beyond this one views rolling pastures and grazing horses. Not to be missed, the owners have faithfully restored this gorgeous property to its former magnificence, bringing modern amenities to the expansive space and all the while creating a welcoming, comfortable atmosphere.
Important! Please note: tour participants may not access either the barn or other homes on the property.
The Captain Sutton House, winner of the 2011 Mary Conley Preservation Award, is a prized addition to the 2013 Tour. This is an early and rare “two over two”, dating to the seventeenth century. For many years the house sat empty, then the current owners took on the restoration of this at-risk structure; a project of enormous scope.
The condition of the home did not permit the new owners to live in it and further the decision was made to move the house closer to Water Street. The home was carefully disassembled, all parts carefully documented to be used in the re-building. For many months Ipswich residents marveled at the painstaking work in progress.
Now completely restored/renovated, each room exudes comfortable elegance. A new addition in the rear adds living space while the oldest part of the house retains its antique charm. The ell holds a new porch with his and her rocking chairs overlooking the river. The custom kitchen features shop-built custom cabinets, a working island and granite countertops. Exterior details include the classic Doric entry, traditional window casings, extensive stone work and stunning perennial gardens. The project required great vision of the owners to imagine what this home could be, if returned to its former glory, as well as the talents of many skilled restoration professionals. The fruit of their work is found in every room as well as the exterior of this exquisitely restored home.
This picturesque Cape Cod home, situated nicely on a corner lot overlooking the Ipswich River was originally built by Ipswich carpenter, Stanley Bennett, in 1938. The current owners purchased the house in 2003 and spent two years renovating and expanding their home. Much care was taken in the restoration by marrying new and old. They kept the main house’s wide wood clapboard siding, large center chimney, 6 over 6 paned windows; the original radiators and oak floors were restored. The kitchen was replaced, but attention was paid to details that would fit with the age of the house, including a soapstone sink moved upstairs from the basement, hand finished cabinets, hand made counter top and an old oak Hoosier and antique pine cupboard in the pantry. The attached one-car garage was converted into living space with wood floors with radiant heat.
Outside, pea stone, cobblestone, old granite slabs, Bluestone, and beautiful antique stones were used for the driveway, patio and back side of the house. A raised vegetable garden is encompassed by granite slabs. The house is surrounded by lovely perennial gardens and patio spaces.
The screened porch, overlooking the river, became a 4-season sunroom opening up views of the gorgeous tidal river on three sides. Furnishings throughout are a mixture of re-upholstered pieces from the 1930’s and 1940’s and newer pieces designed by Walker Creek Furniture in Essex. Paint colors are light in keeping with the feeling of being by the coast, the palette is of water – blues and greens. Another home that you’ve walked or driven by many times, check out this enchanting river view home.
The Daniel Russell House was built in the federal style circa 1818. It was owned by Foster Russell and later by the Richardsons, who purchased the Ipswich News Company in 1938. A passerby would imagine that this is a traditional home like many others in this historic neighborhood. That is far from the case. It is not unusual for Ipswich homeowners to add on to a current structure as their family needs grow and change. This home will take you by surprise when you view the transformation of this simple federal home into a contemporary dream house.
The original interior featured small rooms and narrow passageways with limited space to improve flow and function. The owners and their architect created a new vision that required walls be taken out, the original kitchen relocated, the rear of the house pushed back and vaulted. The house has seamlessly almost doubled in size. The wall of glass in the family room has two enormous doors that open to the custom stone patio, sitting area and perennial gardens.
The L shaped kitchen with contemporary lighting and granite seating area is a perfect size for the hands-on chef. This “galley kitchen” allows the chef to reach everything in just a few steps and visit with family and friends while prepping or cooking.
The House with Orange Shutters (C1690) has been known by that name for over 150 years. The current owner has maintained the love her parents had for this house, recently completing a restoration that has preserved the structure for another 100 years or more while maintaining a very historic Ipswich feel. When ownership was passed from father to daughter the structure was leaning forward at a severe angle and was in danger of collapse. The sills were rotted and the joinery stressed by the pressures of the structural issues, in many cases masked by cosmetic repairs that covered the defects.
For restoration and repair, the owner brought in well known woodwright Jim Whidden, who had done similar work on other historic Ipswich homes. The house was jacked up, pulled back together with straps, sills replaced, repairs done to the posts and beams, exterior doors, windows and roof. The landscaping was also altered to bring the sills above ground to protect them from future water damage. And then the home was given its fresh blue color.
Many of the home’s early features remain intact, including the large fireplace in the keeping room and a parlor that was updated in the late 1700s or early 1800s. A new 8” section of floorboard on the north side of the front rooms shows the amount of movement needed to bring the front wall back “plumb”. As in every early period houses, they have a character and personality that are unique among houses that date back to long before the founding of our country.
The Outer-Linebrook area is the location of two of the homes featured on this year’s Tour. Do not miss this unique over-sized colonial home that was designed, drawn, and built by the current home owners with help of their family and friends in 2002. Trees that were cleared from the lot are found in the current interior trim and in all the hardwood floors. All topsoil used in the landscaping was composted by the homeowner utilizing the manure from the abutting horse barns. The stones found in the fireplace and outside stone walls are also taken from the lot. The expansive private yard features beautiful perennial gardens in addition to seasonal vegetable gardens. The yard is furnished for outdoor entertaining for both kids and adults. As you approach the home don’t miss the colorful, boisterous and friendly chickens, and the newest member of the family, the charming goat named “Honey”.
Once inside, feast your eyes on the 8-burner range and amazing kitchen and pantry, in-home office, the family room with an oversized table that chronicles the entire home-building journey and the vaulted dining room with seating for twelve (the table also built by the owner). The family’s exuberance and love of life are palpable throughout the spaces, inside and out in this rural spot that is, in essence, homesteading Ipswich style.
It has the appearance of being from another era, or maybe several eras, yet at the same time contemporary.” So begins the article in the Salem News about this stunning home on Central Street.
Tucked into a private rear yard, this home features a multitude of exceptional details that will keep our visitors entranced and inspired. The open concept design makes the house feel large, with kitchen, dining and living areas that flow comfortably together. Guests seated in the dining area can easily chat with the owner working away at the kitchen island or others seated in the living room. Notable details include the barrel ceiling in the living room with its spectacular chandelier, wide pine floor boards, custom kitchen with granite and tumbled marble, a butler’s pantry, and the true focal point of the home, the massive limestone fireplace. The eye is drawn upward to the elegant balcony or to the top of 12 foot windows and to the details in every section of molding and finish.
The back yard is frequently the site of casual gatherings of friends and family; chairs surround the huge brick fireplace that warms a crowd on a cool October evening.
The lovely wooded lot with mature plantings, surrounded by a hand-set stone wall and carefully stacked logs will immediately catch your eye as you approach this custom built Cape style home. The owners built this house in 1974 and have expanded it and remodeled it as their family grew and needs changed, adding a family room above the garage and sitting area/larger kitchen in the original breeze-way space.
As you enter you will walk into a cozy sitting area heated by wood stove. The view through the glass doors reveals the patio and the earth-oven being built by the owner, a master stone mason.
The newly updated kitchen has an expansive L-shaped granite island with seating for 4 that allows Mom to chat with family and friends as she preps and cooks. Custom cherry cabinets add to the warmth of the space. As is often said and is true in this case, the kitchen is the heart of this home.
Going further into the living and dining rooms you will be struck by the exquisite wainscoting, paneling and molding on the walls, around the fireplace and even on the living room ceiling. Custom window treatments in warm tones and an overall welcoming, comfortable atmosphere exude the love this family feels for each other and their home.
There is no doubt that this home has been lovingly cared for. Many a high school party, family event and neighborhood gathering has happened under this welcoming roof.
The charm of “Outer-Linebrook” is abundant in this rural, peaceful setting.
The oldest house now standing on Ipswich Green is the striking and unusual gambrel-roofed Nathaniel Wade House, built in 1727. One of the original 16 covenanted houses, the Wade house received the Mary Conley Award for Historic Preservation in 1994, and is protected by a Preservation Agreement with the town of Ipswich and the Ipswich Historical Commission.
Drawn to the character, history and location of this property, the current owners very recently took residence. While the house has undergone many changes over time, many very fine features of the early house remain. The owners have just begun to enhance and decorate the property, selecting room colors in keeping with the period of the house that serve as a stunning backdrop for the owner’s original artwork.
As you tour the home note the magnificent paneled fireplace wall and multi-paneled doors in the ‘Great Room’ and beautiful Kings Pine flooring in many areas. The country kitchen charms with mason jars filled with pantry staples and a fabulous Aga range. Each room oozes character and tradition.
Nathaniel Wade was a gallant soldier of the Revolutionary War and his regiment numbered many Ipswich men who practiced Drilling on the Green across from the house. Colonel Wade and his regiment pursued British soldiers after the battles of Concord and Lexington, and fought at the battle of Bunker Hill. Appointed by General George Washington to succeed Benedict Arnold, Colonel Wade and with his men defeated the British at West Point. After Washington became President, Colonel Wade had a part in welcoming him to Ipswich in 1789. Colonel Wade is buried in the South Cemetery across the street
In much of America, old homes are regarded with less esteem than shiny new models, almost like vehicles. Yet in Ipswich, we have a collective sense of pride that older homes have been restored, renovated, updated to suit modern families and their lifestyles. Such is the case with this stylish home on County Road. Built in 1936, this classic hip-colonial home has been completely renovated, respecting the original design while adding more practical space and amenities. The front façade retains a classic look and feel while affording privacy from the busy road. The formal living and dining rooms retain the features of the 1930’s style. The rear of the house was squared off to expand the kitchen, add the den and a stunning marble bathroom. The back was designed with lots of large windows and glass doors to give an open and bright feel, welcoming the sun from sunrise to late afternoon.
Kitchen enthusiasts will delight over the custom cabinetry, large center island, high-end appliances and all the functionality we yearn for in 2013. The owners also had a bit of fun, introducing colorful tile and other touches that make it truly unique. The sprawling back deck and ramp were built to welcome and host friends and families for outdoor gatherings. The lawn and landscaping were recently done to create a lively and colorful property over all four seasons.
Another home that we have driven by time and again, don’t miss this special family home that, through the imagination and determination of its owners, remains true to its beginnings while enjoying the many updates available to us in the present.