NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

December 4, 2013

Mansion makeover

Designers bring elegant new look to historic treasure

The Designers’ Holiday Show House in the mansion at Glen Magna Farms in Danvers will mix each decorator’s art with some lessons in history.

Fifteen interior designers have been working since August to bring a fresh look to every room in the mansion, which once belonged to the Endicott family of Salem and is now managed by the Danvers Historical Society.

“They researched the history of Glen Magna in detail,” said Sandra Biondo, a society member who chose designers for the show. “I knew that they really would respect the period, as well as the design, and integrate some modern twist to it.”

The new designs are open to visitors daily through Sunday, Dec. 15.

Parts of the home were built before the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, but designers focused on elements that date from the turn of the last century.

“The family was at the height of its international prominence from the 1890s to the 1930s,” said Wayne Eisenhauer, president of the Danvers Historical Society. “They did the whole Endicott mansion over and made it a very refined, elegant country house.”

That was the period when the property passed into the hands of Ellen Peabody Endicott, granddaughter of Joseph Peabody, a wealthy Salem shipping merchant who had bought it in 1812.

She hired architects to transform the house into the Colonial Revival mansion that stands there today. The original building is incorporated as wings.

The mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places, which means the designers could not alter any of its architecture or fixtures.

“Everything had to stay in place,” Biondo said. “The windows, doors could not be changed; curio cabinets, wainscoting, flooring. Ceilings could be painted, but they could not be changed in any way. We had to stay within the guidelines of historic preservation.”

But far from feeling restricted, the designers drew inspiration from the historical fabric of the house, which includes doorways, moldings and other features carved by Samuel McIntire, Salem’s famed Federal Period architect and woodcarver.

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