Last Thursday, was a day Sally and I had been looking forward to all summer! We lovely day with one of my favorite bloggers and interior designers, Penelope Bianchi and decorative painter Lena Fransioli of Zoe Design. Emails flew back and forth across the country as the day drew near as we finalized our plans. Sally and I have worked with Lena for a number of years and as it turned out, Penelope has retained Lena for many of her decorative painting projects since the mid 80’s! The stories flew as we began our day here at the Wilson Kelsey Ranch.
Then it was off to Gloucester on a quest for the ultimate Lobster Roll… I had done previous research, making inquiries of my Gloucester fishing buddies, who unanimously agreed – The Seaport Grille! As it turned out, Thursday’s lunch special was the lobster roll – $10.95. This was no sissy lobster roll, either. So large and filled with meat, this was a fork and knife roll. A “I can barely finish my lunch” roll! (The following two images are from Seaport’s website.)
The day was cool but we wanted to eat on the deck overlooking Gloucester Harbor. To our delight, blue Polartec blankets were draped over the back of every chair! We were so engrossed in conversation, we nearly missed our next appointment, a tour of Beauport on Eastern Point. We were so busy chatting I forgot to take any pictures at lunch, including blow by blow reports form Penny as she talked with her family back in California as her brood of chicks hatched!
Beauport is one on many properties owned and maintained by Historic New England and it is Penny’s favorite. (I will let her tell us how many times she has visited Beauport!) The tour was an hour long and we were constantly being admonished to keep up and to not lolly-gag. (What do you expect when you have three designers and a decorative painter in the same room???) When you see the pictures you will see why Penny has always had problems keeping up with the tour on her visits. We knew the moment we walked thru the front door that we would have trouble, too!
Henry Davis Sleeper’s Little Beauport as seen after it’s construction in 1908.
As we see it today.
Lena, Penny and Sally at Beauport’s front gate…
The garden has recently been restored in the Arts and Crafts style. Front door is in shadow…
Looking toward the Gate House.
Penny walking down the Gate House path.
View to Gloucester Harbor from the Gate House path.
The entry held fascinating details – like this door bell.
And these shutters on the windows to the right of the front door. They fold up!
A detail of the front entry hall, salvaged from a farm house in Ipswich.
Dining room salvaged from the same farm house.
The Linebrook Parish Room.
Pembroke Room. A kitchen salvaged from his Henry Sleeper’s house. The wing chairs are awesome!!!
The real kitchen for the house… I wish there was a picture of the old Viking stove! It is incredible!
The adjacent Golden Step dining room overlooking Gloucester Harbor. Note the Majolica and Wedgwood china and the table facing the harbor.
The Chinese Room, just off the front entry…
The South Gallery detail, Sleeper’s original bedroom. Loved the small scale of all the wing chairs in the house.
The Turret Room, Sleeper’s library.
Sleeper’s desk in the Turret Room. The shades are carved wood!
The Master Mariner’s Room on the second floor. As I recall, the guide said that it was Sleeper’s hope that the local Masons might use the room as a meeting room.
A small bedroom decorated with Zuber wall paper.
I could keep going, there were so many rooms!!! All so incredibly done. I’ll close with a few detail images…
Outside the front door there was a little stone house….
Sleeper’s glass collection…
None of us could stop taking pictures…
Next year, we’re going to take the three hour Nooks and Crannies Tour!!! I wonder if we’ll still be the stragglers…
An excerpt on the history of Beauport taken from Historic New England’s website.
“Beauport, Sleeper-McCann House, was the summer home of one of America’s first professional interior designers, Henry Davis Sleeper. Perched on a rock ledge overlooking Gloucester Harbor, Beauport became Sleeper’s retreat, backdrop for entertaining, professional showcase, and an inspiration to all who visited. After Sleeper’s death, Beauport was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Charles McCann, who left most of Sleeper’s arrangements and collections intact.
The interior and exterior of the house contain Sleeper’s lifetime collection of curiosities, colored glass, folk art, china, and silhouettes in every nook and alcove. Each of the forty rooms is distinguished by a historical or literary figure, theme, color, shape, or object. No two rooms are the same, with each more visually dazzling than the last. The house is framed by newly restored Arts and Crafts-style terraces that include intimate garden rooms with dramatic views of the harbor.”
I encourage you to visit Historic New England’s website to learn more about this incredible home and the other properties they own and maintain.
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