Pumpkin Beauty: Cogswell’s Grant House

On Sunday we took a drive up to Essex to check out the Cogswell’s Grant House. Situated down a long road on a 165-acre property looking out to the Essex River and east to the Atlantic ocean. The main part of house was built in 1728 and a number of additions have been added to home.

We spent some time outside before the tour checking out the exterior clapboards, cornerboards, rake and fascia—examining the similarities to the pieces we’ve renovated on our house. The house was recently painted pumpkin. How crazy is the gloss shining off the side of the house? During the tour our guide mentioned The Littles painted it pumpkin after seeing a similar house Mrs. Little loved in a painting.

The Littles purchased the property in 1937. The Littles were avid collectors of folk art and used the home as a summer house. “Though known for their meticulous research, the Littles decorated with an eye for visual delight rather than historic accuracy, and the result is a house rich in atmosphere and crowded with works of strong, even quirky character.” Mrs. Little took account for every single object she purchased including auction notices and notes on each piece. Hmm maybe I should start a file system?

Above and below snapshots from the property. Sorry, I was not allowed to take photos inside. Note the Beverly Jog #3 photo below. We’re hoping to add a door to our Jog this fall and I love this look with the transom above.

Check out more photos I snapped on flickr.

Cogswell’s Grant
60 Spring Street
Essex, MA

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Portsmouth, NH: Historic Strawberry Banke
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  1. Just googled and see that in this case there are tons of great pictures and very informative text on a site about house museums in New England. Wonderful! Love the info about the faux marble and wood grain fireplace and door in the Little’s bedroom — they scratched to find out what was there originally, then had it replicated by an artist. Great idea.


  2. I used to live in Essex! It is chock-full of gorgeous old houses like this one. Where in Essex is Spring Street, Katie? I seem to be drawing a blank. I lived on Main Street in half a house that we rented when first married. If only I’d known then what I know now….. about antiques and fun, old furnishings.


  3. Mrs. Little published several books on their collections and I have three of them. One is “Little by Little”, “Neat & Tidy” (on Shaker boxes) and “Country Arts”. She was also a prolific writer; she wanted to know all about the beautiful things they collected so she devoted herself to the research on their collections. They purchased the bulk of their collections when Early Americana was rather unfashionable and scored incredible deals! The Sotheby’s auction of their estate was one of the highest dollar figures ever in Americana and Sotheby’s published two rather large catalogs (mostly color)of the collection. I just wish we were neighbors – I loan the books to you!


  4. My sister & I visited this house a few years ago. The inside was fabulous too, lots of treasures, quite valuable as I remember, which is why they don’t allow photos. It is a beautiful property, very peaceful.


  5. What beautiful pictures.

    Don’t you just hate that the house museums won’t allow photos inside? Then they have a few lame photos in their gift shop that aren’t what you wanted a picture of. Why don’t they come into the 21st century.


  6. WOW. I am in love with that color. It looks like it was a beauuuuutiful day. I think it is so cool that you go on these little research trips! Great way to get good ideas for your own place.


  7. love these photos – wish I could paint a 50 year-old block tract house in Phoenix AZ the same color and not feel silly.