Gray House Art & Antiques

February 21, 2023

Cordelia Fasoldt curates old and new pieces from near and far in her living room-like shop, Gray House Art & Antiques.

Text by Marni Elyse Katz    Photography by Sam Moody

It was the building—a modest gray clapboard circa 1900—that did it. “I saw this simple New England house for rent when I passed through Manchester-by-the-Sea and thought, ‘If I were ever going to do an antique store, that’s the building,’ ” Cordelia Fasoldt says. Six months later, in October 2022, Gray House Art & Antiques opened its charcoal-colored door.

Fasoldt, who worked in advertising for twelve years, had been feeling restless. She, her husband, and their two little girls moved from Beacon Hill to Beverly Farms, Massachusetts, during the pandemic, and Fasoldt quickly realized work-from-home life wasn’t for her. “I missed interacting with people,” she says. “Shop ownership was a chance to do something different.”

Gray House is not your grandparents’ antique store. There’s no dust or haphazard piles of tarnished goods. Instead, the sunny 700-square-foot space with built-in bookshelves and a fireplace looks like a chic New England living room. Like Fasoldt’s living room. The thirty-eight-year-old, who grew up in Belgium with a British mother and German father, has eclectic, worldly taste that is absolutely current. “I believe in mixing eras and styles to make antiques feel modern and fresh,” she says.

Fasoldt is most drawn to English, American country, and midcentury modern pieces. Ultimately, she buys what she likes. Antique Chinese rugs, an African Senufo stool, and a riot of suzani pillows mingle with a William and Mary server from the 1700s, a Harvey Probber rosewood bar, and an early 1900s rocking horse that customers named Tabitha. “As I was accumulating things last summer, I looked at it all spread out in my dining room and wondered how it would work together,” she says. “It fell into place as I set up; I think it’s about not trying too hard.”

Gray House also offers artwork, from cheeky graphic prints to nautical oil paintings, a diverse array of accessories meant to add personality to bland bookshelves, of-the-moment design books, and sustainable Peruvian blankets. Designers, tourists, and locals have all been enthusiastic. “I’m touched by how many people have come in to introduce themselves,” Fasoldt says. “It’s what I wanted, to get to know this community.”

Gray House Art & Antiques, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass.,

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