Design New England

Isabella Stewart Gardner’s Brookline cottage for sale


© 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 John’s 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 Gardner’s was a plaque that requested the address ‘152 Beacon Street’ 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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A wrought iron door from Gardner’s 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 – the entryway of 152 Beacon Street.


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


© Damianos Photography

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

Outside of Gardner’s 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 Gardner’s 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 Gardners’ 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.


© Damianos Photography


Original fireplaces in the dining room and den (below) maintains the house’s traditional feel.


© Damianos Photography


© Damianos Photography

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

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