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New Durham Home


New Durham Home
We purchased our new home in New Durham, NH Friday 01/13/17.

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Friday the 13th is a special day in the Rose family; so many events - all positive - have happened on the 13th, and many on a Friday the 13th.

This Friday the 13th of January continues that tradition with Sue and I closing on our new home in New Durham, NH. It seems strange that we just saw the house for the first time on the 13th of December - yes, the 13th!!! And now, one month later on the 13th we own it!



Summary of Major Events
The following is a summary chronological listing of all of the major events that have separate pages of pictures in our finding, purchashing, renovation, and living in this home for ease of navigation:

About Our New Home
Summary Description
Our new home is a 2 story 1775 post and beam antique cape, 1,254 sq feet, 2 bed, 1 bath (that I'll be adding a shower to), on 2.7 acres with a detached 2 story barn, paved parking area, with the grounds themselves containing ample garden space, a detached screened gazebo, a small tool shed, and a tree house. It also includes private beach access and boat launch at nearby Merrymeeting Lake.

Sue and I are really excited to become stewards of this historic home. It is exactly what we have been looking for in our searches over the past couple of years.


Location and View
The house sits just down the hill from Ridge Top Road where the historic 1780 Free Will Baptist Church building looks out over panoramic views of Mount Washington, Mount Chocora, Mount Bett, Mount Jessie, Mount Rattlesnake, Mount Rand, Mount Caverley and Prospect Mountain.

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The spectacular view from the intersection of Ridge Top Road and Berry Road.

We're on a private 2.7 acre lot surrounded by 90 acres of woods, with 40 acres of woods on the other side of the road. And yet, the house is only 8 minutes to Alton, 22 minutes to Rochester, and 40 minutes to Concord.


Structure
The house has exposed post and bean construction, with all of the character of an older home in the rustic farmhouse style that we both wanted to experience, though we do have to Current Picture knock out a couple of walls downstairs to combine 3 separate areas to open the home up into one, warm, common living and dining room area.

Siding on the house is wood clapboard and appears to be in terrific condition with no indications of any problems or issues. Roof is shingle and 10 years old. There are plaster walls and ceilings with original exposed beams throughout the home.

There are 3+ fireplaces listed, though as far as I can tell only one is used by a wood stove in the living room. I'll be replacing that wood stove with a more modern and efficient unit.

The basement is unfinished 964 sq feet with recently pointed and surfaced field stone foundation, concrete floors, full stairs access, bulkhead access, lots of interior storage space, and laundry hookups.

Heating is oil fired boiler; forced hot water to downstairs. I'll be adding forced hot water baseboards upstairs, and putting in smoke/CO2 detectors. Kitchen stove is bottled gas, and I can hardly wait to cook on that, though we did buy a new gas stove when we got a new washer and dryer!

All plumbing is fine; simple with easy access to it from the basement. Sewer is dry well, private septic with drilled well.

And, there is plenty of storage and workout space in the approximate 35' x 35' 2 story, unfinished, post and beam, detached barn with cement floor and metal roof. The siding is wood shingle and in good shape, as is the rest of the structure. It would take a 2 megaton blast direct hit to phase this thing....

The screened in gazebo and tree stand are just really neat bonuses.


Renovation Plan
Are there drawbacks? Sure; always are some. Taxes are higher than we had hoped to pay, but New Durham is a rural area with an average of 3 acres minimum lot requirements, and so there are fewer folks to support town services.

Though there is only 1 bathroom, we look at that as one less room to clean. But it is small, and we'll have to adjust our current content to fit. We also plan to add a shower because, though Sue can hardly wait to use the claw foot antique tub, I'm just not interested in climbing up and over the side. Current Picture 'City Boy' needs a shower, and so that's part of the renovation plan: we're converting a closet that currently services the room I'll be using as our library into a custom shower area.

Though the wide board pine floors are painted in the style of the period of the property, Sue and I want to rough sand them, and then add several layers of protective polyurethane to bring out the richness of the wood and make the rooms less stark but rather warm the whole feeling of the home.

The pitch of the stairs, though consistent with the period the house was built in, is a little more than I think older folks might want to have to navigate. Our plan is to re-configure them to better accommodate an easier climb.

The upstairs 2 bedrooms and hall need a some cosmetic love, and the addition of electric baseboard heaters as the current owners had relied on heat from the downstairs wood stove. Sue can hardly wait to add her touches to both rooms, making the guest bedroom into her own private yoga, meditation, and reading area, though she has also laid claim to the screened in gazebo, and tree stand.


New Durham itself
The town of New Durham, New Hampshire was established in May of 1749 as Cochecho Township as a 45 square mile grant of land north of Rochester from the Durham Masonian Proprietors. To confirm the new town, in the spring of 1750 an initial mandate that it be settled by at least 40 families within 5 years was proclaimed. It was incorporated as New Durham on December 7, 1762.

An early town minister, Reverend Benjamin Randall, founded a new religious denomination in 1780 called the Free Will Baptists, later known as Free Baptists. The church has two buildings in the community, the older built in 1819 on New Durham Ridge. This church stands today and is just up the road from our house at the intersection of Ridge Top Road and Berry Road.



Chronology of Events
12/13/16: Early Morning Property Viewing
Sue jumped when she saw the listing for a 1775 antique cape in New Durham, NH that our friend Tom Toye of Arthur Thomas Properties had alerted us to. But of the many, many properties that he had showed us, this one just really stood out. Here are the listing pictures of the house, barn, and gounds.

I immediately called and asked Tom if he could arrange an early morning showing so that Sue could get back in time to head off for work.

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Sue took this picture of a wreath hanging on the barn. Terrific house on almost 3 acres with a huge detatched 2 story barn. We loved it so much we put a purchase offer in for it!

12/26/16: Final House Evaluation
Tom picked us up at 9:20 to head up to the Berry Road house for a second showing. None of that could happen, of course, without first stopping along Route 11 for coffee! It's a ritual. And a necessity!

It was really cold out, but the house was warm and inviting as Tom, Sue, and I went through in detail each major part of the restoration work that we thought we'd want to have done in order to accomodate our particular life style.

It was amazing, but as we were finishing up I noticed that we had been there for over 2 hours! Not that there's that much to do. I'm just not familiar at all with this sort of thing, and so Tom was very patient with me as he explained the various options and approaches needed to accomplish the work.

After getting home, we had to go shopping for the dinner Sue was making: a winter mushroom cream soup. While she visited with her friend Norah and took a short walk in the brisk air, I did all of the prepwork. After Sue got back, I got a fire going in the fireplace, she put all the ingredients together, and it became soup! While that cooked slowly in the pot, we played several sets of backgammon while listening to a Ray Charles CD that I had gotten for Sue for Christmas as well as a Keith Urban CD she had gotten for me.

The soup was wonderful! She had paired it with a salad of mixed greens, berries, and feta cheese that just really complemented the meal. After cleaning up, I threw a couple more logs on the fire, and we watched the amazing 2015 movie The 33.

12/29/16: New Home Under Contract!
After going back and forth with the seller's of the home in New Durham, NH, Sue and I finalized the purchase and sales contract on 12/29/16 by accepting their very fair counter offer.

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01/13/17: New Home Closing!
Friday the 13th is a special day in the Rose family; so many events - all positive - have happened on the 13th, and many on a Friday the 13th.

Today, Friday the 13th of January, continues that tradition with Sue and I closing on our new home in New Durham, NH. It seems strange that we just saw the house for the first time on the 13th of December - yes, the 13th!!! And now, one month later on the 13th we own it!

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Sue captured this great view from the kitchen out into the back yard.

01/20/17: Renovation Work on New Home Starts
Sue and I drove up to our new home to watch as Steve, our contractor, began renovation work.

Today was essentially "Demo Day" where the ceilings in the two smaller downstairs rooms were torn down. Steve and his helper, Art, also removed the wall connecting those two rooms, and the walls separating them from the living room.

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01/27/17: Renovation Progress
Sue and I went up to our new home today, Friday 01/27/17, to check on the renovation work. Our contractor Steve had told us that he had the stairs all ripped out, and we really wanted to see what that looked like.

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02/02/17: Beam Staining
Sue volunteered to stain the beams in the newly opened up living room ceilings, and so Thursday morning 02/02/17 we drove up to the new house.

Were it not for the fact that the beams in the original dining room had been stained over 30 years ago, Current Picture I would have loved to have kept the rough hewn look of the wood.

But the contrast between the stained beams and the newly exposed beams just seamed awkward.

It was a good day to do inside work; really bitter out. In fact, it spit snow a little bit while we were up there!

It took both of us 3 hours, but when done you could hardly tell the difference between the originally stained beams from over 30 years before to what we did. Not perfect, but at least it provides better continuity to the room.


02/13/17: Blizzard Aftermath
Here's a shot of the driveway at the New Durham house where we got over 10 inches:

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Our contractor, Steve Chorba, took that shot, as well as well as this picture of the road, as he was pulling up to the house.

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02/23/17: Interior Painting Work Progress
Sue and I drove up to the New Durham house Thursday 02/23/17 Current Picture to see how the painters made out after 2 days of work, and to see the new stairs Steve was finishing up.

We got there just before 11:30am, and were both just totally knocked out with how great everything looked!

Sue hit the colors right on it, keeping with the period and character of the house.


02/28/17: Dusk at the New House
Sue caught this great picture of the new house at dusk on Tuesday night 02/28/17 when we went up to check on how the interior painting was going.

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03/06/17: Floor Restoration Begins at New Durham House
David Bourcher of Boucher's Wood Floor Care had completed quite a bit of the repairs to the original wide board pine floors at the New Durham house, he still had some remaining work to do Monday 03/06/17 before he could start the process of sanding.

Sue and I had decided to restore all of the floors in the house from their painted state to their natural color. Because of their age, David said he'd need to put at least 4 coats of polyurathane down.

By the time I got to the house just after noon on Monday, David had just begun to strip the floors in the library. It was so exciting to see the contrast of the old floors with what was appearing after the sanding.


03/13/17: Floor Restoration Completed
David of Boucher's Wood Floor Care had requested that no one enter the house until Monday to allow the last coat of poly to completely dry. I could hardly wait to get up to the house to see them!

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Sue got home not long after I did, and was so excited about the pictures of the floors that I had sent to her. She was so about to burst that I told her to jump in the car, and I'd run her up to the house before dusk so that she could see them.


03/16/17: Moving Day!
Tony and Eli from Burke Moving out of Somersworth, NH had come over for about 4 hours yesterday (Wednesday) to pack everything they could. Both of them and 2 others arrived today at 8:30 am with 2 trucks to start loading.

It was more than a hectic day... It took them almost 5 hours at the condo to load the trucks, and then several hours more at the New Durham house to unload.

While the movers were packing up the condo, Mike and Dennis were up at the house installing the shutters they had built for us in each of the 12 main windows. They came out just super! Thanks Mike and Dennis! Skills far beyond just being great painters!

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But man... when the movers left, there were boxes everywhere! Sue and I were like traffic cops trying to be sure everything got routed to the correct location. But you can only imagine how that went....

Despite our work in thinning things out before the move, it was easy to see that we still have way too much stuff. Not only are we going from a 1450 square foot space to 1250 square feet, the pitch of the roof in old homes like this totally eliminates wall space in the entire upstairs.


03/17/17: Friday Dinner Party
Friday 03/17/17 Sue's friend Jen and her boyfriend Butch brought a great Indian inspired crock pot dinner and enough wine to get us through the evening!

Thursday after the movers left, and then all day today, Sue and I had worked to at least put some order to the chaos. It's so important to get things into a reasonably livable state after an ordeal like this. Otherwise you just feel like you're living in a bus terminal.

By the time Friday evening came, I lit my first fire in the woodstove and Sue made some final adjustments to furniture placement and organizing the kitchen area. It was great to then let it all go when Jen and Butch arrived.

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We had a wonderful evening, but made it an early night because we were both exhausted.


03/21/17: Unscrambling the Paperwork Mess....
So, now that some of the moving chaos has been organized, I had to start unscrambling the dozens and dozens of files for all of the stuff that I'm involved in. Witness below....

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After 2 days of wrestling with it all, I did manage to expose the wood on the top of my desk. But this is going to take a lot more work than a couple of days effort. And you can see the boxes of books stacked 4 high and lined up along one whole wall....


03/23/17: Dusk Settles Over New Durham
Sue caught this great shot 03/23/17 from the top of the ridge just as the sun was setting over the mountains in the distance.

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03/26/17: Winter Dusk From Inside
After tending to the woodstove, I flopped down on the sofa to see what was on tv. I happened to glance out the window toward the barn and just knew this was a picture Sue would love to capture.

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03/30/17: Wrought Iron Stairway Railings Installed
Wednesday 03/30/17 Ernie of Milton Fabrication installed the wrought iron stairway railings that he had designed for us.

He did such a great job! When Sue got home from work she just couldn't believe how great they look.

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03/29/17: Renovations Complete!
Well, all of the renovation work has been completed this week, and so we posted the house numbers on the door frame making it official! We're in!

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05/13/17: First Grass Cut by City Boy!
Look.... it's been about 14 years now since I've had to cut grass.

I had looked at this with some trepidation because our new home sits on 2.7 acres, much of which is open grass.

The former owner, Carl, came over at 9:00am to give me the operating instructions for the Cub Cadet riding lawn mower that I had bought from him.

Not too complex, and it wasn't long before I was in the seat tear-assing around the lawn.

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And the results weren't bad for a city-boy who'd never cut more than a normal size yard or even been up close to a riding mower.

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05/16/17: New Wood Stove
Bob from Top of the Ridge Chimney Service delivered and installed our new Jotul F 500 Oslo wood stove.

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This is going to be a terrific stove for us. It's rated at 70,000 BTU/hr, and should lay out a nice, even tempered heat to overcome some of the older and more drafty original windows in the house.

Thanks so much to Bob for finding the stove for us, and walking us through all the pros and cons of either keeping our Lodi Leyden or investing in a new and more up-to-date stove.


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