Hello All! It’s a wonderful almost spring day here in New Hampshire, and I’m itching to get started. Thought I would give you a little background on the home we are trying to purchase. It is a small Cape Cod style home which sits on two acres. The original home was built in 1837, and an addition was added at some time after that. It’s cute…small, but cute. It will need some repairs and renovations. It is a bank owned property after all, and so it won’t be perfect. We will need to do some things like add a shower, which it currently doesn’t have. It has a claw foot tub now, which though charming, is not going to quite cut it with two teenage boys in the house. We are removing that tub and adding a tiled shower stall.
The kitchen will need quite a bit of work. I can a lot of food, cook most of our meals from scratch and need to have counter space and functional room in which to do all of this. I have had kitchens that are impossible to work in and ones that, though small, were quite functional. My current kitchen is the worst combination of small and impossible, so I’m looking forward to designing the kitchen that will work for me. Counter space, anyone who scratch cooks knows how pertinent adequate counter space is.
The home we sold last year had a “take out” kitchen. It was not designed for cooking, but more for people who heated up their take out food rather then did any actual cooking in it. It was pretty, but not functional for me. We had plans to remodel it. One of the wonderful things about that home was that not a whole lot had been changed since it was built in 1755. It still had unpainted original wood paneling on the walls, some of the boards were over two feet wide! We were having design challenges with it because we didn’t want to be the first people in 260 years to paint that darkly stained wood, or tear down those walls. We would have had to uproot a wonderful built-in buffet that was in the original dining room to accomplish making the kitchen larger and more functional. That was a hard decision that we never did make. As I understand it, the new owners did not have that personal conundrum and are taking down walls and making it what they want it to be. We always felt a sense of responsibility to the house (and the history of our town!) to not alter it very much, as no one before us had done that either. It was an odd sort of responsibility to hold if you’ve never done it. The house was here before the USA was even a country, the deed stated that it was paid for in 1755 in pounds. We could imagine the people who owned it then eeking out their farm, it was originally 100 acres. It had barns already on it, and a grist mill and a sawmill. They would have still worried about attacks from Native American tribes that were here before them. They would have hauled water by bucket. They would have cooked in the enormous fireplace. They would have worried about their children who may have been sick with flu or small pox, and maybe even died there. On the oldest plot map we had, there was an X next to the small pond on the property. Very near it was an ancient white oak tree. We know there was no cemetery on the property, but in 1755 it was not uncommon to bury the dead on their own property, and oak trees were very often planted in remembrance of one who was buried there. On the plot map, they would put an X where the person was buried. We don’t know who it could have been, or if someone was definitely buried there, but it added to the mystery of the old homestead for us.
Okay, I guess I rambled on about the old homestead a bit. As I said, we really loved that old house, with all it’s warts and faults and ghosts and defects. It was a dream come true in a lot of ways, but a nightmare in others. We let it go, but it was not an easy decision, nor a pain free one emotionally. However, we are not people who dwell in the past, and so our new homestead is where our focus and energy lie. We are within a week or so of closing on the house and finally making it ours. I can’t wait to dig in, clean, demo and rebuild it to be what we want and need. I love a good challenge and this one is going to be a lot of work and a lot of fun all rolled into one. We are luckily going to have a couple of months to get some work done before we move in as our lease here doesn’t end for a while. I’m anxiously awaiting the day we sign our names on the lines that will make it our own, just can’t wait.