Linda Zarifi

Rocks Edge

Few stretches of coastline in the country rival the natural beauty of New England’s, with its rock strewn and pebbled beaches and expanse of glistening sun dappled ocean that yields to the horizon. It is no surprise, then, that the area has a storied past. During the late 1800s-early 1900s, the most affluent families of Boston looked north, to the shores of Beverly’s “Gold Coast,” to construct mansions for use as “summer cottages.” Many of those grand homes of the gilded era no longer survive. Yet one, Rocks Edge, still stands, majestically perched on a rocky ledge in the exclusive enclave known as Pride’s Crossing, overlooking a private beach and Beverly Harbor. And, upon the completion of a careful, well researched, and masterful transformation, will be ready for a new owner to write the next chapter in the home’s enduring history.  

This 17-room, three story mansion was constructed in 1911, commissioned by Mrs. Marion (Appleton Coolidge) Sargent, a Bostonian of notable lineage and considerable wealth. Mrs. Sargent retained the home until her death in 1924, when it was purchased by the Alger family of Michigan. In 1940, Rocks Edge was acquired by its most famous occupant, feisty sportswoman and notable Blue-Blood, Eleanora R. Sears. Linked to many fabulously wealthy gentlemen of the day, it is quite possible that Ms. Sears entertained admirers Harold S. Vanderbilt and the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII of England) at Rocks Edge. Her active lifestyle and active social life at Rocks Edge is chronicled by author Peggy Franck in her book, “Prides Crossing: The Unbridled Life and Impatient Times of Eleanora Sears.”  

Ms. Sears owned the home until her death in 1968. It was then purchased by the current owners. 

Built in the Georgian Revival style, the home boasts 28,000+/- square feet of beautifully appointed living space, with 11 bedrooms and 12 baths and sits on more than three meticulously landscaped, park-like acres. True to its architectural style, Rocks Edge (so named due to its siting above a rocky shore) has classic proportions and scale, with a handsome brick façade with limestone embellishments and a slate roof. From Paine Avenue, the approach is formidable: a drive past a carriage house/caretaker’s cottage at the gate, leads to the grand estate. One truly feels transported to another era. Yet upon entering the home, it is clear that every modern amenity has been considered and carefully integrated so as to preserve the architectural details and elegant features while making this home entirely livable and conducive to today’s lifestyle. 

The vision of the current owner and the designer Linda Zarifi (Zarifi Design) was to fully modernize the home in order to meet the expectations of the discerning buyer, while, at the same time, preserving its grandeur and elegance. And no expense was spared to achieve the level of luxury that was central to that vision. The nod to old world craftsmanship is apparent in the intricate molding and custom wood work, elegant mantelpieces, and bleached hardwood floors set in a distinctive chevron pattern. Adhering to a neutral color palette of crisp and creamy whites, the two made the ocean – which is visible from just about every room – a focal point of the design scheme. 

The grand scale foyer sets the tone for luxury throughout, with soaring ceilings and spectacular and generously-sized rooms. The living room has floor to ceiling windows and French doors which invite access to a large ocean facing veranda – ideal for evening cocktail parties and dining en plein air. A formal dining room, music room, game room and study – with custom built shelves and paneling in a rich espresso hue – are gracious rooms, where one might envision Ms. Sears entertaining her elegant circles. There are 14 fireplaces – all woodburning – and all adorned with elaborate marble mantels. 

The 1500+/- square foot kitchen features two islands topped with fine Italian Carrara Marble and is equipped with the highest quality appliances, appointments, and fixtures. Custom paneling and finish work conceal the kitchen’s working components, while a separate Butler’s Pantry (which retains the original nooks and crannies that will charm a new owner) provides additional room for the storage of platters and dishware. There is a built-in banquette for informal dining, as well as a wonderful sunroom with walls of windows overlooking the sea.  

A wing houses a garage for 5-7 vehicles and a second-floor great room, to be left for a buyer to realize his/her vision: perhaps a fitness room/spa, office, au pair suite, or media room. 

The master suite on the second floor boasts commanding views of the water. With multiple dressing rooms and a large marble bathroom, this is a tranquil and transformative space. There are three additional bedrooms on the second floor and seven on the third floor. The natural light and views are simply unsurpassable. 

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