I had two special VIP guests join me for this tour – Mr. Cameron Fitzpatrick and his gorg mama, one of my favorite ladies ever. Cam will be one next month (!!!) and while he may have had one heck of an epic meltdown on the car ride to the Codman House, he was an amazing angel baby once inside the house – there was so much to look at! His mother & I were mesmerized as well!
- The home was originally built on a large parcel of farmland sometime between 1735 – 1741 by a local politician, Chamber Russel, who happened to be the founder of the town of Lincoln, Ma. Russel passed away in 1767, had no children, and it ended up being left to his six-year-old nephew, Charles Russel Codman. However little Charles was not in need of a house at the time, so his father John took over.
- John Codman was a rich, rich man thanks to his shipping & trade business. He expanded the house, adding the third floor, the amazing double staircase, the “large hall”, and new kitchen area. He also continued to purchase land around the home, eventually ending up with over 650 acres. Like I said – a rich, RICH man.
- Eventually little Charles was no longer so little, and inherited the estate from his father. He loved to travel and collect art, and slowly started selling off pieces of the land to continue the cash flow to support this luxurious lifestyle. Eventually Charles sold off the entire house, and others owned it for over 50 years. Charles’ children and grandchildren never understood why he did this, and were forever upset by it and swore to get it back some day, and they did just that.
- Charles’ son, Ogden Codman Sr, and his wife were able to purchase and return back to the Codman House. They also made improvements, such as the carriage barn (which you can rent for weddings – so dreamy) and of course lots of plumbing & heating upgrades.
- Ogden Codman Sr and his wife had five children together. Ogden Jr., became quite a successful architect, of course making lots of changes to his own home when he wasn’t busy designing the Hampshire House in Boston’s Back Bay, the bedrooms of The Breakers mansion in Newport, RI, or his absolutely-insanely-gorgeous “mangum opus” La Leopolda in France (rumor is that the House of Windsor – yes, THAT house of British fame – wanted to purchase it but Ogden Jr. did not like the changes they wanted to make, and he responded “I regret that the House of Codman is unable to do business with the House of Windsor.” Oof!)
- One thing I found fairly odd was that four of five siblings – Hugh, Tom, Dorothy & Alice- lived together in this house, for quite some time, none of the four getting married or having any children. Weird.
- Tom & Dorothy were the last surviving Codmans, living in the house up until Dorothy passed away in 1968, with the house looking very much so like it does today. Ogden Jr. had written a letter in 1920 that his family home should be preserved as “an example of an elegant country estate”, and that is exactly what happened thanks to Historic New England.
This staircase, while stunning, was difficult to capture. We had a, lets say, very strict tour guide so I really didn’t get much more than a few seconds to snap some photos while being ushered into the next room. But – the fact that it’s a double staircase going up three floors was amazing, and the trim work was stunning.
The ceiling and the fireplace were the true stunners for me in this room! Dark wood made it cozy & inviting but it was opulent all at the same time.
At one point this room was the ball room, and I can easily see that considering it’s size and all the natural light pouring in. I loved all the molding and trim work, and the color was unexpected as well!
This walled Italian garden has to be a stop on your list before you leave – it’s beautiful. It took Sarah Codman, Ogden Jr.’s mother, over two years to complete it, and his sister Dorothy has a less formal “cottage” garden near the carriage house. I’d love to replicate this in my backyard (hint hint).
- I loved the lighting in the house. There’s a Greek shield turned into a chandelier in the diving room, golden sconces in the drawing room, and bulbous electric lamps I had never seen before – something new in every room!
- Make sure you check out the “brochure” for La Leopolda- yep, the house was so big there is a printed guide for it!
- I loved Alice’s bedroom with her vanity – all her monogrammed items, laid out as they would have been when she lived there
- In the servants quarters there was this wild looking iron stand – I had never seen one like it before!
- Our motto for our tour was “The Codman House – an Estate for Every Generation” since we had little Cam with us – but it’s true – I think everyone can find something to enjoy at this one!
- I wish we had packed a little picnic and camped out on the lawn or in the garden for a while (no idea if this is actually allowed, but wish we did it)
- The parking lot is a little jaunt from the actual home, so just a word to the wise!