Glen Magna Farms

Show house designers honor the past

GM BillRalph-shot8Photographed by Eric Roth
Bill Ralph made the library, which formerly had dark red walls, cozy and inviting by using cream and blue paint and well-scaled furniture. The Serapi rug was chemically stripped to create hues that match the colors in the room.

Visitors to Glen Magna Farms, with its turn-of-the-century Endicott Mansion and 11 acres of formal gardens, will tell you it feels like stepping into the past. In fact, the past is so well preserved at this historic Danvers, Massachusetts, estate that the Derby Summer House, a small two-story wooden structure nestled in the sprawling gardens, is a National Historic Landmark on par with the White House and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.


GM DonnaTerry-shot1In the drawing room, designer Donna Terry of Boston Design and Interiors drew her inspiration and color scheme from the Egyptian Revival fireplace, installed during the mansion’s 1920s renovations. “I tried to put myself into what they were thinking and what they would have been familiar with during this period,” Terry says. Though the room feels contemporary, it is historically accurate for the 1930s wealthy elite whose travels exposed them to Egypt-mania following the opening of King Tut’s tomb in 1922. The Ballets Russes, a huge influence in the design world during the Endicott renovations, inspired the fabrics in the room. A leopard print on the ottomans and the accent pillows’ deep pinks and blues reflect the exotic costumes of the Parisian ballet company. The neoclassical lines of the sofa are period appropriate, and the white grosgrain piping and pink silk upholstery evoke ballet slippers. Window treatments have fan pleats and three black “speed lines”—motifs typical of the Art Deco period. The sculpture is by D. H. Chiparus, whose work typifies the Art Deco style.

But the ravages of New England winters have not been kind to this 220-year-old wooden building, which needs more than $100,000 of repairs. To raise this amount, the Danvers Historical Society turned the mansion, which also required an overhaul to bring back its former glory, into a show house. The result was the 2013 Designers’ Holiday Show House fundraiser, with select designers who sought to honor the past while updating the mansion for the many functions it will host in the future.

GM BillRalph-shot2The mansion was originally a summer home, a fact that inspired Bill Ralph of Salt Marsh Antiques when designing the dining room. He envisioned “family suppers with the windows open” and kept fabrics and colors light. He designed the chandelier over the round dining table from an antique glass cylinder, and Cranberry Hill Lighting in York, Maine, manufactured it; a purplish tint reveals the glass to be antique and English in origin.

Now a favorite place for weddings and events, Glen Magna was originally the summer home of Joseph Peabody, a wealthy Salem shipping merchant who bought the 20-acre property in 1812. The house was brought to the height of its glory by his granddaughter, Ellen Peabody Endicott, and became known as the Endicott Mansion in 1893.

GM LindaHentschel-shot2In the bride’s room Linda Hentschel of i-Design gave a nod to the past while making the space more contemporary. She kept a neutral color palette to accommodate wedding photos. The mirrored desk and bedside tables inject a diamond-like sparkle.

Peabody’s great-grandson William Crowninshield Endicott Jr. further upgraded the home until his death in 1936. In 1901, he brought to Glen Magna the Derby Summer House, designed by Samuel McIntire, the famed Salem woodcarver of the Federal period in American architecture (1790-1825). The summer house represents this period so well that the United States Department of the Interior designated it a National Historic Landmark.

GM JenniferCoenshot1Jenifer Dunn Coen of Well Dunn Home Designs says the ivy room “has great windows that look out onto tranquil gardens.” Bringing the outside indoors became her inspiration. She placed photos of the garden’s statues over the desk and chose Chinoiserie fabrics for the window treatments to suggest both nature and Peabody’s trade with the Far East. She repurposed rugs from the bride’s room and a chandelier from the dining room.

Thanks to a year of planning and the efforts of more than 120 volunteers, staff, and trustees, the Endicott Mansion underwent a stunning transformation, ensuring that visitors will enjoy Glen Magna Farms and the Derby Summer House for many years to come.

GM NorthFork shot1Elyse Parkhurst and Caitlin Flynn of North Fork Design Co. envisioned the groom’s room “as a sea captain’s quarters,” says Parkhurst, who created a cozy, worn-in look. For a masculine flair, they used a hand-sanded leather chair from Arhaus Furniture and plaid wool pillows on a sleigh bed original to the room. Benjamin Moore Cathedral Gray walls make a sophisticated backdrop to the space.

Guided house and garden tours that include a boxed lunch are offered from May to October. For reservations, which are required, phone 978 774-9165. The cost is $20 per person.