Fine Art & Family Heirlooms
A Historic Greenfield Hill Farmhouse stands out
The interior shelving is painted a darker gray to allow her eclectic collection of limited edition books, pottery, glassware and art take center stage.
Photos by Jane Beiles
There’s something special about returning to the town you grew up in to start your own family. Born and raised in Southport, Courtenay Cooper Sicre lived less than one year in Manhattan before stumbling upon her dream home—an historic farmhouse with modern touches, in the heart of the coveted Greenfield Hill section of town.
It was 2004, during the height of the real estate bubble, when Sicre learned that a family friend’s home was coming on the market on the corner of Verna Hill and Hillside Roads, a familiar four-way stop on the edge of the Greenfield Hill Historic District. The area is known for its preserved open space, protected wetlands, award-winning schools, and charming landmark buildings, including the Greenfield Hill Church and Bronson Watermill.
Tucked behind mature trees, the storybook gray farmhouse dates back to the 1700s, but was most recently renovated in 2000 by Boston architect Derek Bloom, son of the previous owners. In the 1950s, an addition was built to include two bedrooms upstairs, while later in the 1970s , local architect Roger Ferris designed another addition that included the living room and garage.
“The home was originally part of an old mill,” explains Sicre, pointing to the original wood beams lining the ceiling in the first floor bedroom. “Underneath, in the basement, is a wood burning fireplace and stove, possibly the living quarters for the family that once owned the mill.”
Even though the home is the product of several individual renovations, it doesn’t feel piece meal. Rather, the original history and charm is preserved throughout the home’s open floor plan. The kitchen underwent a transformation when Bloom reclaimed lost ceiling height and opened it up to let in natural light that makes it feel like an atrium.
Modern appliances, paired with brass hardware add some shine to the neutral palette, while white Carrara marble lines the countertops and back splash. Two modern cowhide stools pull up to the butcher block kitchen island that Sicre sealed herself. Other hints of sparkle are carefully placed throughout the home, from the copper sink in the wet bar, to the brass antique pendant in the foyer, which is papered in a soft green and metallic gold banana leaf pattern.
“My design style could be described as eclectic,” says Sicre. “I love playing with a monochromatic color palette and layering in art, furniture, and other pieces I’ve collected over the years from friends and family.”
Sicre has always loved interior design and is known for helping friends and family with ad hoc decorating projects. Her style plays on new traditional, with a heavy focus on the importance of color.
For example, the dining room walls were painted Owl Gray by Benjamin Moore and the ceiling was finished in a lighter gray with a hint of lavender. It’s subtle, but plays off the antique plum glass pendant hanging in the room and pillows on the adjacent bench. Sicre also painted the inside of her white built-in shelves a dark gray to help spotlight the treasures there.
Everything in Sicre’s home has been carefully curated; many pieces hold a special back story. In her dining room, there’s a beautiful antique side table with brass hardware that she inherited from her family. Her dining table was actually the old farmhouse table that she and her brother Jamie ate at as children. The imperfections and etchings on the table from years of family dinners add to its appeal.
Sicre has always been influenced by her passion for the fine arts. Her mother, Mellie Cooper, is a talented, professional artist whose work employs a range of techniques, including sculpture, printmaking, painting, and collage. Cooper’s work is on display throughout her daughter’s home, as well as at the Janis Aldrich Gallery in Nantucket, a place that holds special meaning for her family. As a child, her family would sail up to Nantucket every summer and live on their boat. Eventually, her parents purchased a fixer upper cottage on the island, where she and her family now stay every summer, making a new generation of memories.
The walls of the Sicre home are covered with art, many of which are botanical or nautical in nature. Of note, her collection includes three original drawings by Salvador Dali, a longtime family friend. Sicre explains that the drawings are especially interesting in that they represent his “happier” work.
In the living room, neutral furniture pops against rich brown walls. The large scale canvas over the mantle and fresh white trim throughout brings the color palette full circle. Oversized windows let in natural light while french doors faceout to the stone
patio. A large white birch tree shades the seating area and natural ferns line the brook below, offering a beautiful backdrop for morning coffee or entertaining.
“We’ve made so many wonderful memories here,” says Sicre, talking about her home, which is currently on the market. “Our family is expanding and it’s time to write the next chapter in our lives, but we won’t be far.”