Welcome to the first installation of Period Dramas, a weekly column that celebrates the history, craftsmanship, and beauty of older homes. Every week, we will be rotating between rounding up historic homes on the market and answering questions we’ve always had about why older homes are the way they are.
Today we’re looking at six homes for sale in New England—one for each of the states in the region. All built from the early-to-mid 1800’s, these houses fall into either the Federal or Greek Revival styles. We have arranged them in order of least renovated—for all of you who aren’t afraid of a project—to most move-in ready.
Bolton, Ma (6 bedroom, 4 bathroom, $1.8 million) We're kicking things off about a 50-minute drive west of Boston, in the town of Bolton. If you’re not afraid of taking on a sizable renovation, this 1810 Federal brick house could be the ultimate restoration project. Sitting on 36 acres with the fixings of a working dairy farm (there are three barns on the property), the 5,652-square-foot structure has a center hall that divides each floor into four large rooms, each with a fireplace. The house has admittedly seen better days, but the twelve-over-twelve sash windows, little fanlights over the main doors into the house, and beautiful wide-plank floors show it's still full of charm. And don't even get us started on the sprawling grounds the house is situated on. There's no denying that the next owner of this estate has their work cut out for them, but if one thing's certain, it's that this house has all the makings of a truly spectacular property.
Ellington, CT (5 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom, $229,900) This 1832 home about 30 minutes northeast of Hartford has many of the hallmarks of Greek Revival architecture: a pitched roof, doric pilasters on the corners of the house, a side porch supported by ionic columns, and a front door decorated with doric pilasters and an entablature. Inside, the 2,644-square-foot home has five bedrooms, one-and-a-half bathrooms, and enough fireplaces to tickle the heart of any lover of old homes (actual number: five). Yes, it may need some work, but as long as you're not scared of a kitchen renovation, much of what needs to be done appears to be largely cosmetic. Bonus point: we checked out the neighborhood on Google street view (sometimes we get a bit obsessive), and the house is surrounded by other adorable Greek Revival structures.
Ludlow, VT (6 bedroom, 3 bathroom, $849,000) Doesn’t this 1834-built brick house in Ludlow, VT look like something straight out of a novel? Those windows! That white picket fence! It really doesn’t get much more idyllic. Known as The Sargent House, it was originally built as a two-family, which explains its symmetrical look. But what makes the 5,200-square-foot house especially charming is the array of architectural details inside. Carved woodwork, stained glass, and a host of fireplaces in differing styles, from an oversized fireplace in the kitchen with a beehive oven to fireplaces decorated with brick (an aesthetic change probably added in the second half of the 19th century) all help to make this home quirky and unique.
Providence, RI (4 bedroom, 3 bathroom, $662,500) If you want a stately home in town, this four-bedroom, three-bathroom house in Providence, which comes courtesy of Lila Delman Real Estate International, might do the trick. Completed in 1824, the house was built as the Federal period was ending and Greek Revival era was beginning. Influences of both styles of architecture are apparent on the exterior of the house, with a fan light over the door (popular in Federal architecture) and doric pilasters on the corners of the structure (favored in the Greek Revival style). Inside the 3,010-square-foot house are lovingly restored interiors with wide-plank floors, multiple fireplaces with carved mantles, an updated kitchen, and a landscaped brick patio directly outside of a basement-level den.
Francestown, NH (5 bedroom, 4 bathroom, $599,000) The oldest house in this week's roundup goes to a white clapboard Federal pile from 1807 in Francestown, NH. Not only does the 5,800-square-foot, five-bedroom home feature some beautiful woodwork, especially surrounding each one of its eight working fireplaces (the one in the dining room even comes with its own smoke chamber and beehive oven), but the house has been sensitively updated. The wide-plank floors have been recently refinished, and what might be one of the most daunting parts of renovating an older home—the kitchen—has been opened up to be light and airy. Doesn't hurt that each of the four bathrooms has also been given a face lift.