Built in 1883–84, the Bayley House in Newton, Mass., is a prominent example of Queen Anne and Gothic architecture. Interestingly, the architects, the premier Boston firm of Peabody and Stearns, are most closely associated with the Shingle Style, elements of which are present in the Bayley House.
Set on the side of a hill, and sensitively updated to retain many original features, the generously sized house spans 8,452 square feet, with seven bedrooms and seven bathrooms. The property is listed for $3.7 million by Jay Boyle and Ruth Kennedy Sudduth at LandVest.
The house was commissioned by James C. Bayley, a Boston shoe merchant who died within months after ground was broken in late 1883. Bayley’s widow oversaw the completion of the house, but she and her young children never moved in.
Various families lived in the house from 1884 to 1925, and on a 1929 map of Newton, the home is shown to have been owned by Christopher C. Crowell, a developer and home builder. Crowell subdivided the parcel and built new houses on the new plots; Bayley House now sits on .81 of an acre.
From 1931 through 1945, the home was used as the Damon Hall Junior College, run by Frank and Annie Damon. In 1930, the college was advertised in Cosmopolitan magazine as “Junior college for young women” with “Eight two-year vocational and cultural courses. Sports.” It accepted girls ages 15-20. The Damons lost the house in foreclosure to the Charlestown Five Cents Savings Bank.
Private families owned the house from 1945 through 1970, when it was sold to the religious order of Stigmatine Fathers, a Catholic congregation of priests and brothers. The Stigmatine Fathers sold the house in 1984, when it returned to being a private home. Bayley House was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, and the current owners have lived there since 1995.
Built of brick, freestone, red slate, and wood, the house displays the irregular and asymmetric massing typical of the Queen Anne period, including a tower with pyramidal roof at one corner. A porte-cochere provides access to the main entrance via a semicircular drive. The original carriage house was torn down in the 1930s, when that corner of the lot was subdivided, but the current owners added a freestanding garage in 2018.
The stone porte-cochere welcomes visitors into a grand foyer sporting a fireplace and a carved-oak staircase that stretches to all three floors. Off the foyer are the principal rooms: living room, cherry-paneled library, oak-paneled dining room, sun porch, gorgeous vintage-style kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances and a breakfast room. We just love how the original old coal stove has been retained, and we envy the old butler’s pantry with original cabinetry.
The second-floor master suite comprises not just one but two bedrooms, plus two baths and a dressing room. There are three more bedrooms, two baths and a sitting room on the second floor, while the third floor offers two bedrooms, a full bath, and a media room-cum-teen hang-out with pretty views through a huge Palladian window.
Surrounded by great clouds of mature shade trees that shield the house from neighbors and the street, the grounds are simply landscaped with sculpted plantings and rolling lawns, all just a ten minute drive east of Boston’s beloved Fenway Park.