Gloucester, Massachusetts, is on Cape Ann, a rocky land’s-end point northeast of Boston. Land’s end for Gloucester is Eastern Point, a narrow peninsula jutting into the Atlantic Ocean. Here, a small 1960s A-frame summer home stood on a unique spot, a quiet sanctuary overlooking Niles Pond and the ocean beyond. “I love this place,” says Barbara H. Bjornson, M.D., an oncologist with wide-ranging interests. “I bought the property in 1993, and always thought that I would build a house that would only enhance it.”
Dr. Bjornson says she has long been drawn to the classic American Arts & Crafts style. “Over the years, I had occasion to see such homes in various places. My interest evolved as I researched the period’s design history and its notable architects.” She had heard about Alan Battistelli, a local design/build contractor, from several friends and neighbors. “I met Alan and reviewed his proposal, and was instantly comfortable choosing him. He and his construction manager Scott Morrissey did excellent work, as the house attests.
“My brother, Harold Bjornson, was visiting a colleague in Ipswich [Mass.],” the homeowner continues, “and saw what he described as ‘the most beautiful kitchen I’ve ever seen’. It turned out to be a Kennebec Company kitchen. Harold has very good taste!” Dr. Bjornson contacted Kennebec, based in Bath, Maine.
Although it was her decision to build her dream home in an East Coast Arts & Crafts style, she credits Kennebec’s James Stewart and Jeff Peavey for design input regarding major aspects of the interior layout and design. Kennebec also built cabinets for the mudroom, laundry room, fireplace nook, bathrooms, and an upstairs library. The company also did the installation.
“Jeff and James essentially designed the kitchen,” Dr. Bjornson says, “ including the look and location of cabinets, the materials, and an approach that worked with the dimensions, countertops, and appliances.” Cabinets are quarter-sawn white oak with a custom finish and Horton Brasses’ Mission-style hardware in black. Tongue-and-groove beaded-board wainscots and ceilings are Douglas fir. A generous alcove serves not as a pantry but as an efficient baking center: “I love to bake breads with assorted grains and wild ferments.”
Over the range top, aquatic-green tiles create an accent in the backsplash of plain white subway tiles. The doctor made them. “Queen Anne’s lace grows in abundance nearby, between Niles Pond and Brace Cove,” she explains. “The plant is an ancestor of the carrot and in the parsley family; it’s edible, and has medicinal properties. I picked some of it and hand-pressed the plant into fresh clay, which was then glazed and fired by a local potter.”
A medicinal-plant theme extends outside. “Just after the house was built,” Dr. Bjornson says, “I was invited to participate in the 2016 Eastern Point Garden Tour. Because they were aware of my background—I’m a physician specializing in medical oncology and hematology—they suggested I present plants with medicinal properties. So now my garden has 55 varieties of plants that have various medicinal histories.” The beautiful landscaping, open viewscape, and gardens on both sides of the house are the result of a collaboration among the owner, designer Hugh Collins, and landscaper John Filias of Jeffrey’s Creek Land Contractors.
Cabinets: The Kennebec Company, Bath, ME
Builder: Alan Battistelli, building contractor, Rockport, MA
Landscape: H.J. Collins & Associates, South Hamilton, MA
Jeffreys Creek Land Contractors, Essex, MA
Lighting: ‘Oak Park’ pendants in antique bronze with clear shades Tech Lighting
Soapstone: Dorado Soapstone
Roofing: 40-year Timberline shingles in ‘Weathered Wood Blend’ GAF
Windows: Marvin Windows & Doors
Subway tile: Elon Tile & Stone