the rear entry welcomes guests
who come up through the marsh,
providing them with a place to kick
off muddy boots and wet gear. A long
hallway (facing page) leads from a
sitting room just off the mudroom to
the front foyer. The fireplace mantel
is one of many pieces in the house
that were salvaged from the original
camp counselor’s cabin.
front door. Accessibility was important because Susan, an Episcopal priest and the rector at St. James
Episcopal Church in Amesbury, Massachusetts, wanted to use the house for church-related events
and Appy planned to hold functions associated with his many nonprofit endeavors. So the house
also has an elevator, which can bring elderly or handicapped visitors to the second floor, where the
library/formal dining room/ballroom sits under a vaulted beamed ceiling.
“It was always Appy’s dream to have a library with a big table,” says Susan. It just happens that
with thoughtful design — and the addition of a catering kitchen on the second floor (for which the
elevator is invaluable) — it could also serve as a room for functions.
To create the kind of space the Chandlers wanted on their second floor, Hickox and Williams
introduced a cross-axis gable to the Saltbox form. The result is a hybrid of New England architectural icons that, inside and out, has an almost ecclesiastical aesthetic. They worked
closely with builders Robert Marshall and Sons of Danvers, Massachusetts, on the interior finishes, and in the end, the Chandlers got exactly what they wanted. The house,
which was finished in 2007, is highly personalized, even idiosyncratic, yet a low-key
addition to the landscape. Appy, or friends out clamming in the marsh, can walk up
to the house’s back entry, kick off boots in the mudroom, and settle into his rustic office, which was
constructed largely with material salvaged from the original counselors’ cabin.
Even though, or perhaps because, the house is 4,000 square feet, has just two bedrooms, and
no living room, “I use every room in this house every day,” says Susan.
“You can build a better house,” says Appy, “if you also relish the process.”