On the Market: A Brattle Street Mansion
168 Brattle Street, Cambridge
Size: 8,372 square feet
This sprawling manse isn’t your average historic Cambridge home. It’s just been put on the market by Swanee Hunt, philanthropist and former ambassador to Austria. The daughter of oil tycoon H.L. Hunt, Hunt is an ardent proponent of gender equality, which is not too far off from the interests of the home’s initial resident.
Philanthropist and activist Sara Chapman Bull worked with architect Arthur Little to design the estate in 1888. Listing agent Susan Condrick explains that over the years, guests ranging from Jane Addams and Gertrude Stein to Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren have spent time in the home. (And to boot, Yo-Yo Ma has performed there.)
Dubbed the “Joseph Thorp House” after Chapman’s father, the house stands out from the rest of the residences on Brattle Street. For one, it’s positioned away from the street. The backward-facing home also has a courtyard that boasts perennial gardens, flower beds, and a fountain.
Inside, there’s a wealth of ornate details, but the true highlight is the home’s carved teak salon. The salon was designed by Lockwood de Forest, a leading figure in the Aesthetic Movement. The salon alone makes the house a gem because most of de Forest’s work no longer exists—if it does, it’s in places like the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt Museum and the Brooklyn Museum.
Other notable elements of the house include a Norwegian-designed library, a French country kitchen, and plenty of Greco-Roman details. All of the home’s architectural and social history is rolled up into a cool, $10.5 million bundle.
For information, contact Susan Condrick, Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, susancondrick.com.
The Boston Home team has curated a list of the best home design and home remodeling professionals in Boston, including architects, builders, kitchen and bath experts, lighting designers, and more. Get the help you need with FindIt/Boston's guide to home renovation pros.