2012 Holiday House Tour in Newburyport, MA


On Saturday my New Hampshire client and I spent the day wandering around my favorite local city of Newburyport, MA taking in the 2012 Holiday House Tour  in Newburyport which benefits the Custom House Maritime Museum. When I lived there I did the house tour one year and it was really great. This year it was chilly and rainy – typical New England late fall – but not so much as to dampen our spirits. Here are a few highlights of the tour:

The image above is the exterior of the Compass Rose Inn.



Love the “cheek by jowl” buildings in this town!

 Just a house I walked past. Love the natural color palette of the stained boards, greenery and the river in the background. (Didn’t really capture it, but it was really a great view)
 The next house (pic above from a realty website) is a new construction that includes a condo unit on the right. The main house entrance is center.
This house overlooking the Merrimack River and Joppa Flats. I used to live on the side street that came out right on this corner – the spectacular view was a daily experience for me. I miss it so!
This house is modern and playful, capturing the summer time colors of the waters beyond the windows. On a cold, rainy day, it was warm and inviting.
The table settings were the perfect complement to the decor. Note the different green tones on the bar stools in the background.
“Heidi Ho” overlooks the kitchen and great room. (Note the street corner out the window – that was the street I lived in an apartment on. I was near the other end. This is an impossible street to turn out of, let me tell you!).
Glass mosaic backsplash mimics the waves breaking on the jetty.
The powder room featured an illuminated glass bowl. What do you think of this? It was quite beautiful, though I’m not sure I am totally in love with the concept.
 The next house is a Georgian Gambrel built in 1796. The owners are new and have done a beautiful job creating a modern living space that fits the location and architecture.
Looking up towards the front hall. The checkerboard floors are painted.
Love the fine details like original (or a very good repro) hardware.
This house featured many beautiful, and very natural, displays of greenery and holiday decorations, designed by Jan Lorrey of Nature’s Garden in neighboring Amesbury, MA. This pic is the formal front parlor.
 The living room (aka front parlor) was a nice example of mixing modern comfort with traditional style. The oil painting showed a gentleman in a fantastic red coat – which of course I couldn’t capture well. But it’s clearly the inspiration for the red touches in the room. The snappy bright white sofa grounds the room so that it doesn’t look too stuffy as these spaces so often do.
The front hall featuring the handpainted checkerboard floor. Love the simple black bench and jugs filled with festive berries. This is looking back towards the kitchen table.
And now we’re entering the dining room, which featured a pretty spectacular trompe l’oeil marble floor.
How fantastic is this wine and bar cabinet???  And love the beautiful dentil crown molding.
A lovely natural tablescape and another fantastic oil painting.
Sweet little cabinet – note the scalloped shelves.
The detail is just to die for!
Another view of the floor. I was also struck by the Euro style wall heaters (far right). I’ve never seen these in an antique home but think they are a fantastic replacement for the standard bulky ones that were “retro-fitted” in when central heating was introduced. Now, if they could be custom colored to match the walls they’d be perfection!
And a final view of the stove hood, festooned for the holiday.



The portico entry on tour day decked out for Christmas.

They did the decorations in a Nutcracker theme.

The dining room featured a beautiful metallic ceiling which looked gorgeous in the light of the chandelier. Obviously, this pic didn’t really capture it, but it was an unexpected bit of glamor.

The next house (image above from online source) has spectacular views of the Merrimack River and Joppa Flats. Built in 2001, it’s got an open floor plan first floor that focuses on the amazing views.


This is the only real shot I got of the kitchen. I forget whether it was too crowded or the pic didn’t come out well…

Looking from the kitchen into the family/sitting room. Love the furniture detailing on the cabinet base.

They had a nice mix of rustic and bling in their holiday decorating.

This “island” separated the kitchen and table from the sitting area nicely, while maintaining the open feel. The dark walls were painted Ben Moore’s Newburyport Blue, appropriately.

Cozy on a cold New England day overlooking the water.

A mediocre picture of a beautiful view.
Loved the stair case that opened up onto the first floor.
On the second floor there was a sweet little inlaw apartment that was actually quite spacious and featured a decent size, if utilitarian, kitchen.
And a very pretty room with a view. (it’s out there, I promise!)
Part 3 of this series will have my favorite house, so stay tuned! But meanwhile I leave you with a couple of house shots, both gray, as it turns out.



Well, it’s been a crazy busy week, couple of weeks really, and I got side tracked from finishing up my Newburport Holiday House Tour. So, here are the final two properties I wanted to share. This property was a newly renovated Federalist style rowhouse building in Brown Square. Love the curved exterior

These are three-story condo units and very traditional and formal. The holiday decorations here were accordingly formal and very pretty. Loved the centerpiece on the table below.

The house was so crowded it was hard to get decent photos. This was a little corner of the kitchen with the charming little antique drop-leaf table.

Houses in downtown Newburyport are very cheek by jowl as you can see through the kitchen window.

And here is the house next door. Don’t you love the colorful brick?

The next house (yes, another gray house!) had my very favorite space of all the houses on the tour.

The main part of the house was nice enough, but the real star is the new addition kitchen. From the original house, you walk into this fresh and open space.

Love the Holly Hunt pendant lights!

These pics don’t really do the space justice – the view out the window to the rustic old barn looked like a stage set backdrop it was so perfect.


The Christmas decoration were generally all natural plant based and very sparse, but the room itself was so fantastic it didn’t really matter.

Note the art piece on the wall – which features beach glass, shells and stones. Gorgeous – it almost looks like a specimen display.


Anyone know the make of this chandelier? I’ve been trying to find out. The metal almost looks like something that’s been submerged in the sea for a long time and is all rust and barnacles.

A fantastic plate rack.

And here is the butler’s pantry. I see in the photo that there were business cards which probably were for the builder or designer – wishing I’d picked it up!


And finally the backyard and barn. Lovely. Of course, it’s December in New England so everything was dead and trimmed back, but this must be beautiful in the summer.

This is the most open space I’ve ever seen in a private yard in Newburyport.

The entire front yard (which is maybe 10-12’deep from the street) was given over to a garden. I will have to remember to stop back next summer to see what the front yard looks like in full-bloom.

I’d like to send a shoutout to my friend Kristin Hunter of Kristin Hunter Interiors who was co-chair of the house tour event. These things are huge undertakings – great job! And thanks for the tickets! :-)