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For $1.85 million, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s former home in Salem

Spring House Hunt

The 4,558-square-foot Georgian property is perhaps the oldest structure on Salem’s historic Chestnut Street.

18 Chestnut Street in Salem.

18 Chestnut Street in Salem. Note Visions

There is no scarlet letter on this historic stunner.

18 Chestnut Street in Salem is a six-bed, six-bath home where Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of legendary books like The scarlet letter And THE House of the Seven Gables, lived with his family from 1846 to 1847, when he worked as a surveyor of the port of Salem and Beverly, according to historical records. Today, the two-family home, which could easily be turned into a single-family property, is on the market for $1.85 million.

Believed to have been built around 1800, the 4,558 square foot Georgian property may be the oldest surviving structure on Chestnut Street. However, it was completely transformed during a 3-year renovation by a local mother-daughter renovation team and features brand new plumbing and electrical, while retaining the historic beauty with which it was built. From the original wide pine floors to the fully restored and custom-made windows, every detail has been taken into account.

Enter the entryway which leads to an elegant foyer. To the left is the two-bed, two-and-a-half bath unit 1, where a set of green doors open to the 215 square foot living room. There you will find four windows letting in natural light and a gas fireplace under a salmon-colored mantle with original woodwork. Continue down the hallway, where you’ll find a half bathroom, and you’ll find the 214 square foot dining room, housing a historic non-working fireplace and several windows. The first floor unit’s kitchen is also a highlight, with its stunning exposed brick central gas fireplace anchoring the space, as well as stainless steel appliances and ample counter space.

“This house is full of light,” says Michael Selbst of Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, which owns the listing. “What is good about the house is its orientation: you benefit from direct light all day long and in the morning, the sun is on the facade of the house. In the afternoon, it’s along this long wall.

There is one bedroom on the first floor, which measures 186 square feet. A staircase passing exposed brick leads upstairs to the second bedroom, which measures 148 square feet and has a spacious closet and en suite bathroom. This is likely the bedroom where Hawthorne slept, according to Selbst. Shortly after moving, he completed The scarlet letter.

The second unit has three or four bedrooms, depending on configuration, and two and a half bathrooms. The staircase leads to the second floor entry into the elegant living room featuring a gas fireplace and four large windows. This connects to a 107 square foot office space overlooking Chestnut Street. Similar to the first floor unit, it includes a half bathroom in the hallway and an elegant dining room that measures 227 square feet. This flows easily into the kitchen, with high-end appliances placed under an exposed beam ceiling.

The third floor’s beamed ceilings are a romantic throwback to Hawthorne’s era. Here you’ll find the 199 square foot master bedroom, with a historic non-working fireplace, walk-in closet, and en-suite bathroom. There are two additional bedrooms on the third floor, as well as the family room, which could also serve as a bedroom.

Since the home can function as a single or two-family home, it is ideal for both multi-generational living or someone looking to rent a second unit for financial purposes. Both units are equipped with washers and dryers.

“You can live as one family, even if you have an extra kitchen,” Selbst said. “Or, you could live there in a multi-generational setup, which is actually the case. You could live upstairs in the larger apartment and rent the one downstairs to cover your housing costs.

In the backyard, a brick and paver patio is easily accessible by both units and can serve as additional parking during snowstorms. A prime location on Chestnut Street in the McIntire neighborhood, lined with early 19th-century mansions, provides close access to downtown shops and restaurants, as well as public transportation.

“The setting of this house is simply remarkable,” says Selbst.

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