• Status: Listed
  • Price: $2,695,000
  • Presented by: LandVest, an exclusive Affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate in Maine and New Hampshire and select areas of Massachusetts, Vermont, and Rhode Island
  • Contact: Lanse Robblrobb@landvest.com

Once upon a time, Barry and Margaret went on a cross country road trip in their quest to find a place to retire. They searched near and they searched far until their pilgrimage led them to the holy land – Red Sox territory. “Barry comes from a family whose religion is the Red Sox,” jokes Margaret. Right off the bat, the couple took to Ipswich, a pastoral town on Boston’s North Shore. “We are both history buffs,” says Margaret, “and Ipswich indulged us in its reverence of old things and old places.”

Barry and Margaret soon found an old place of their own on the picturesque Ipswich River. That home, however, would never be theirs. For it was one, two, three strikes, and they were out, having lost at the old bidding war game. Yet, their loss was made a win when the listing broker offered his own property for sale – the neighboring 23 Newmarch Street. “We knew instantly that this was where we wanted to be,” recalls Margaret. “It was just so serendipitous, so magical.”

“Every time we would look at the house from a different vista, we would have new ideas about how to transform it. For example, once when we were kayaking, we looked up at the house and realized that we wanted to transform its river side. So, we did, adding sweeping porches and decks,” says Barry.

Built circa 1905, the arts and crafts style home had been recently restored by the listing broker as an investment, but it was still in need of some “saving.” Barry and Margaret stepped up to the plate, furthering the home’s preservation with additional restorations, as well as an expansion. “We saved the house by embracing what we felt was the spirit of the house,” says Margaret who has been “serially renovating” her homes ever since her early twenties. “We even asked the mason to build new stonewalls to look as if they were falling apart to play into the magic.”

Of the renovation, Margaret says, “There was a sense of serendipity, that the universe was our ally.”

Never taking their eye off the ball, Barry and Margaret searched near and searched far for the perfect finishing touches, down to a deliberately squeaky hinge on the pantry door. They sourced lighting from antique websites and paintings from estate auctions. They salvaged brick from a dismantled textile factory in Lowell and granite from the closed psychiatric hospital in Danvers. They imported a portion of the greenhouse from Bridgeport, Connecticut and the entire gazebo from Bali, Indonesia. In doing so, Barry and Margaret not only preserved 23 Newmarch Street, but transformed it into their home base, into their happily ever after.

Then, all of a sudden, life threw them a curve ball. On a perfect, sunny day, Barry and Margaret spontaneously went to an open house in nearby Gloucester. “When we saw the property, we realized that there was nothing more we could do for 23 Newmarch Street, to save it or to help it. We already had,” says Margaret. So, Barry and Margaret decided to take on a new project, the ground-up development of a contemporary oceanside house. There, they will most definitely hit another home run and, once again, live happily ever after.

Barry and Margaret consulted Mark Ward to salvage the Lord & Burnham greenhouse. It was in a “sad” state, but after a full year of careful work, Ward successfully completed the tall order. As Margaret says, he is the “God of Greenhouses.”

As edited by Mom. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *