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Isabella Stewart Gardner's Brookline cottage for sale

August 6, 2013 10:54 AM  

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© Damianos Photography

The Warren Cottage at 285 Warren Street, Brookline, Massachusetts, is listed for sale with Historic Homes Boston.

It is no secret that Isabella Stewart Gardner kept beautiful houses, but a lesser-known, and relatively modest residence where she spent, it seems, a single summer, is now on the market. According to researchers at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and a guest register, something Gardner kept at all her residences, during the construction of her most famous and elaborate mansion, the Palace at Fenway Court, in 1903, Gardner briefly resided in the quaint old farmhouse at Green Hill, in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Isabella and her husband John L. Gardner inherited Green Hill, the Gardner family estate, in 1884. After Johnís death in 1898, Isabella went on to purchase the farmhouse at the foot of the property on 285 Warren Street.

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The main house on Green Hill was sold out of the Gardner family for the first time in 2011. The house is currently undergoing serious remodeling.

She also decided to gut and sell the Boston residence they had lived in at 152 Beacon Street to Eben Draper, who had the home razed and rebuilt to his likings. The only thing kept of Gardnerís was a plaque that requested the address Ď152 Beacon Streetí to never be used again. The new address of the house was 150. The farmhouse proved to be a suitable repository for some the architectural elements she cherished. Still intact at the Warren Cottage, as the house is known, is the exquisite central staircase that was dismantled at the Beacon Hill house and then reassembled in the farmhouse. Wood paneling, wrought iron doors and the stained-glass Flower Window were also transferred to the Brookline property.

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© Damianos Photography

A wrought iron door from Gardnerís previous home is located at the front of the house, letting visitors be reminded of its history.

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Photo by Thomas Marr, courtesy of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

The staircase in 1882 in its original location Ė the entryway of 152 Beacon Street.

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© Damianos Photography

The central staircase was moved to the Warren Cottage from Beacon Street.

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© Damianos Photography

This stained glass window in a bathroom at the Warren Street residence shows Mrs. Gardnerís style.


Outside of Gardnerís brief residency at the farmhouse, it is unclear who lived there or what purpose the house served. Most likely, say those who have investigated the issue, it was used as a guesthouse for family and friends, but no notable guests left any record revealing their stay.

Since Isabella Steward Gardnerís death in 1924, many families have owned and lived in the house. Its current owners, a family who have resided there for 15 years, have put it on the market. It has a six-car garage that once served as the stable for the Gardnersí horses and sits on the more than an acre of land. There are seven bedrooms, four full bathrooms, five fireplaces, and a screened in porch. Very few updates have been made to the 4,830-square-foot house and the few renovations that have been made do not compromise the important vintage details. An intriguing part of Boston history, the Warren Cottage is listed by Historic Homes Boston for just under $2.4 million.

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© Damianos Photography

Original fireplaces in the dining room and den (below) maintains the houseís traditional feel.

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© Damianos Photography

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© Damianos Photography

The master suite on the second floor holds this 20í x 15í bedroom, a bathroom and a dressing room.

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About this blog

An insider's look at must-have products, fresh trends, and inspired spaces from the team at Design New England magazine.

Gail Ravgiala is editor of Design New England and a fan of both the region's historic architecture and its growing inventory of modern houses and public buildings.

Courtney Kasianowicz is associate editor of Design New England who scouts the area for new design, charming products, and local artisans both innovative and daring.

Jill Connors, Design New England's editor-at-large, is an antiques maven and design scout and will post about trends and discoveries in the field.

Bruce Irving, Design New England's contributing editor for architecture & building, is a renovation specialist who will share his insights on design and construction.

Estelle Bond Guralnick, Design New England's style & interiors editor, will post about interior design and interior designers and her favorite finds.

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