of personal style. Perched on a steep hillside,
the house is oriented to take advantage of the
sweeping vista stretching south and west to the
Annisquam Yacht Club and Annisquam River.
Last remodeled in 1900, when it was adapted for
use as a summer house, the dwelling had been
left to age ungracefully. “We felt respectful of
its vintage and character,” says Cowan, “but we
weren’t hung up on historical accuracy.”
The couple called Salem, Massachusetts,
architect Helen F. Sides for help. “Our basic mission,” says Sides, “was to bring this building back
to life and make it into a home. It was also important to the owners to reinforce the connection
between the interior and exterior. Our collaboration was a pleasure, because they bring such a
wonderful mix of creative strengths. The project
succeeded, I think, because it’s not overdesigned
and not fussy, and that’s Livia and Mark.”
Today, the house is comfortable and inviting, combining the ease and timeless quality
found in English country houses with the restraint typical of New England seaside cottages.
The couple’s collections of books, photos, art,
china, and pottery are displayed in rooms anchored by Oriental rugs and infused with glowing colors taken straight from the garden.
The handsome wood-paneled living and
glovsky relaxes in the reading alcove (top
left) of the master bedroom. Coral and green,
which appear as accent colors in the living-dining
room, become major players in the sitting room
(bottom left). The bronze nude (above), by local
sculptor Dr. Ephraim Friedman, was purchased at
a Montserrat College of Art auction.