The landscape at Willowgate in Manchester-by-the-Sea looks like it’s been there for centuries – and some of it has. A handful of plantings date back to the 1880s, when the home was built by the James family as a summer escape for their daughter Alice, sister of the novelist Henry James.
“The property [has] a serious history, but also has a really beautiful aesthetic,” says Gregory Lombardi, the landscape architect brought in to rework the estate for the current homeowners. Lombardi says the owners wanted to preserve some of the historic plantings and the classic New England seaside style, while adding their own creative, contemporary flair.
“The owners really envisioned this romantic ideal of a summer house, where they can have people walking around the property or playing sports – a flow where there are different experiences,” says Lombardi. “You can be at the beach, you can be on the rocky coast, or playing on the lawn.”
Even beyond the water, the 3.7 acre property is crafted to offer a series of different experiences – tied together by common themes.