9 Mechanic St., Marblehead
Size: 4,490 square feet
As striking as the black-and-red exterior on this home is, it’s not all that uncommon among historical homes—which this 1713 construction surely is. “Many of the oldest homes in this area are painted black and red,” the sellers of this goth-like home explain. Prior to the availability of synthetic pigments, homes were bound to natural dyes, such as carbon black and ochre. “Since our house is so old and we love the antiquity of [it], we decided not to change the house color when we repainted it,” the sellers say. With one exception: They chose to cover the pale pink-red doors with a bold crimson shade called Fireman Red. The result is a grand old home that you can’t help but want to know more about.
Funnily enough, the interior of this stormy dwelling couldn’t be airier. Extra wide planks of pine furnish the floors, glowing in their natural honey hue. White walls and a combination of recessed and directional lighting and skylights help the flowing spaces feel buoyant. Antique quirks pervade the home, too. The wooden butler’s pantry—now in good use as a wet bar—is one such perk, as is the large brick fixture next to the refrigerator. Originally built as an inglenook fireplace, the nooks and crannies have changed functions for modern times: The flue currently stores cookbooks, while the beehive oven perfectly stashes cake tins. Installed in later years, a brick cupboard provides some extra prep space in addition to the lengths of marble countertop throughout the rest of the kitchen.
This reimagined fireplace is actually one of several hearths throughout the house. Inspect the others closely, and you’ll learn something about the property’s history: “Some time in the 1800s the house was turned into four apartments so all of the fireplaces were fitted with iron hooks to hold cauldrons, and bread ovens were added,” the sellers say. Beyond the many fireplaced rooms (including a library, dining room, and six bedrooms), the house contains an in-law suite with its own front door and staircase. The property also boasts four parking spaces and a garden flush with mature trees and flower beds. And, as any good old house does, this one has heaps of character: “It has all sorts of hidden delights,” the sellers say, including “secret passageways between rooms and through fireplaces [and] a staircase hidden behind what looks for all intents and purposes like a closet doorway.”
For information, contact Stephanie Moio or Nancy Peterson , J. Barrett & Company, tours.robmorenophotography.com.
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