Real Estate

Who Says Historic Homes Have to Be Stuffy?

Julia Lippman and Mathew Eapen love antique homes, but they’re not typical old-house enthusiasts — or purists when it comes to decorating.

“I love old houses, the quirks and the tall ceilings,” Ms. Lippman, 37, said. But “I did not want a house full of really big, dark antiques.”

The couple, who are both lawyers, were living in an apartment in downtown Boston with their dog, Scout, when Ms. Lippman became pregnant with their first child, Sammy, now 4. They needed more space, and they knew where they wanted to move: Salem, Mass., the small city north of Boston known for its 1692 witch trials.

Ms. Lippman had grown up in Salem, and both she and Mr. Eapen, now 38, liked the historic feel of the place and the way they could walk to stores and restaurants there, as they had in Boston. It also helped that Ms. Lippman’s parents lived in Salem and would be around to help out with future grandchildren.

Mathew Eapen and Julia Lippman bought an 1820s Federal house in Salem, Mass., and renovated it with help from Colleen Simonds and Pitman & Wardley Associates.Credit…Tony Luong for The New York Times

So when they spotted a four-story Federal rowhouse from the 1820s with a two-story cottage in the backyard — on the same street where Ms. Lippman’s parents lived, no less — they didn’t hesitate. They bought the property for $1.38 million in January 2021.

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