Personal touches lend charm and warmth to a Victorian Swampscott
A beloved home exudes a charm that money simply cannot buy. Although the interiors of a renovated Swampscott house have been carefully preserved, there is not a hint of artifice in the Victorian era of the 1920s. Here, the joy springs from the very personal attachments of the young owners: objects of cherished family, cozy colors and textiles and an absolute desire to bring comfort to everyday life.
Just before Covid, the couple lived in a Boston condo but had their eye on Swampscott in anticipation of starting a family. They loved the Victorian, but it needed major work and, especially with the house’s location in the historic district, a collegial and talented team.
Almost immediately, a pleasant serendipity began to bubble up, with professional designers and builders appearing on the couple’s radar. It all started when they saw interior designer Lindsey Hanson’s Instagram account with photos of her child’s new nursery design and contacted her. Then came the strange relationships.
“It seemed like all the stars were aligned,” the owner says. She and her husband felt a pleasant flow begin.
Hanson, director of Lindsey Hanson Design in North Andover, discovered that she and the owner also shared interests in textiles, patterns, art and colors inspired by nature. “She values and appreciates the details,” says Hanson. No wonder the owner has an innate talent for design and spent several years managing textiles at Wayfair, the center for home interiors.
Although the house is close to Fisherman’s Beach, it is located in the Olmsted neighborhood of Swampscott, a historic neighborhood named after Frederick Law Olmsted, who drew the area’s borders over a century ago. Almost every house has a porch, and the neighbors are hosting friendly outdoor get-togethers, including hosting a band “porch party” with live music last September.
“The plan was to make the house more functional, with a bigger kitchen and better storage,” says Hanson. Comfortable livability was an absolute, she adds: “They wanted a home where their three-year-old son and their dog, Millie, would be completely comfortable.” This meant mixing really nice pieces, such as the homeowner’s mother’s antique Biedermeier dining table, with easygoing repurposed and vintage pieces that stand up to wear and tear, including the white Restoration Hardware chairs positioned around the table. antique.
Hanson’s palette was inspired by the couple’s particular love of nature, especially fall colors and shades of green. The fact that beautiful green hues appear in every room is no coincidence. The owner has fond memories of her childhood home’s green kitchen and is very close to her mother and father. “I feel like this house is a love story for my parents,” she says. “I think of my mother when I see green colors.”
While the house sports a variety of garden green hues, Hanson has managed to create a cohesive integrity. The kitchen is painted Herb Bouquet by Benjamin Moore, contrasting nicely with the Danby marble countertops and island. “The whole vibe is garden-inspired,” says Hanson. Cabinets are a warm sage color; behind the cooker is a simple white subway tile. Both tile and marble have a handcrafted look; no one is looking for perfection here. The new floor is white oak stained a warm brown. Much of the original flooring, cabinetry and other features have been retained.
The most dramatic room is the dining room, where deep dark tones blend beautifully with candlelight. The teal walls are covered in a washable Thibaut raffia cloth that Hanson likes for households with young children. The trim and ceiling are painted the same hue, and bold patterned curtains set the room apart from Roman shades in the remaining interiors. As Hanson says, “you feel like you’re in a really different and special space.” Hanging in the dining room, entry, hallways and living room are original works of art by regional artists.
Cheerful spaces abound, including a laundry nook with lemon-print wallpaper and the sunny white living room. The second floor includes the renovated rooms of the house; the third floor has been transformed into a games room. “It really is a house; it was a goal,” says Hanson.
The existing leaded glass windows, including a beauty on the second floor landing, were retained. Bolster Stained Glass is a new work by Cambridge glass artist Daniel Maher that faces the fitted wardrobes separating the kitchen and family rooms. Hanson and the couple paid particular attention to the placement of crafts and fine arts. Other key members of the renovation team took an overall artistic view of the home, including Justin Kurtz of Hawkins Custom Builders and cabinetmakers JH Klein Wassink & Co. Jean Verbridge of architectural firm Beverly SV Design, a dear friend of the family, made the architectural drawings. .
The house is very dear to the couple and their son. The owner remembers the first time she entered the house: “I love old houses. When I walked in, I knew it could be something spectacular.