Houzz TV: See How Early Settlers Lived in This Restored Pilgrim House

Houzz TV: See How Early Settlers Lived in This Restored Pilgrim House

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Houzz TV: See How Early Settlers Lived in This Restored Pilgrim House

Doug Towle considers old homes his children. The lifelong bachelor has spent much of his adult life restoring antique buildings, including one of his most recent: a 1665 Pilgrim house that had been in the same Billerica, Massachusetts, family for 12 generations. The house had to be moved, so Towle carefully documented and disassembled the structure, then spent the next three and a half years restoring it.

He dug up some 35,000 bricks that were buried outside of 18th-century homes, knocked on strangers’ doors in search of vintage glass and straightened 100 salvaged handmade rosette nails every night before bed. “I don’t have any children and grandchildren,” says Towle, who’s vice president of marketing at Globe Firefighter Suits. “It’s a legacy thing.”

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stlounick
What an amazing story! It is a lovely legacy that Mr. Towle is donating to our part of the world. The decor is lovely homage to the Puritans. Thanks for the article.
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wuff
Wonderful respect for a houses' history, care taking, well done, love it
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sharonabode
This is a remarkable restoration, a wonderful legacy.
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Buffy Fos
This is perhaps the most fascinating Houzz ideabook, yet. Just remarkable. Every detail. Wow.
History-wise... I think my mouth hung open, as I read. Style-wise... I don't think I've ever seen such a painstaking restoration that looks actually livable. What a fabulous, fabulous job.
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jimmyjamjar
Brilliant, What an amazing legacy. I loved all the pewter on the dresser.
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RosemaryR
Wow, just beautiful, you definitely are to be commended
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bubblyjock
buffyfoster is right, this is the most amazing Ideabook I've seen yet, and I'm a verrreeee picky Houzz fan!

Thanks for sharing, and many congratulations. Have another cocktail, Mr Towle - they obviously work. :)
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Molly
This is my favourite houzz feature by far! I can relate to growing up in an old house (late 1700s), in Canada and longing for my friends' modern split -levels in the the local subdivisions. Luckily, that didn't last long, and I have been grateful and appreciative for many years of the beauty, craftsmanship and history of older homes.
Beautiful restoration; thank you SO much for sharing!
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ecsims
Stunning, inspiring and even educational. Please, more idea books like this! I love homes with a sense of history.
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amymc16
Mr. Towle, beautiful property. I'm amazed that you have done this -what dedication!
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lellogirl
Stunning! I love it! Love the balustrade and the fireplace most! What a beautiful home!
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Ana Lopez
Amazing ideabook. Agree with the call for more like these, restorations that appreciate and make livable historic houses, instead of modernizing them. My favorite touches were the shutters (would love more of a closeup of how those worked), and the hand-painted walls.
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galesperance
Absolutely gorgeous, and so well-restored while still being comfortable for today. So fun to look at! Thank you!
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stidmama
So much love has gone into preserving all these structures for future generations. They are beautiful and interesting. Thank you, Mr. Towle.
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cindinfocus
As to the comment that the homes were kept in keeping with their age, I think bathrooms weren't inside until last century! What a beautiful job of restoration, sure am glad he added the bathrooms. I wish we could have seen them too.
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brittalovely
Thanks for sharing this with us! I would love to visit this place!
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Elena Vega
This is some incredible dedication!
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scarborough2
Stunning!
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bornonthefourth
I saw this house on sfgate and was amazed. What a stunning house and restoration.

I would love to see the converted tavern, too.
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jenniferruth
Thank you for featuring this home. It's one thing to know that my ancestors came over on the Mayflower, but now I have so much more of a sense of how they might have been living a couple of generations later. And thank you, Doug Towle, for making this possible. I am so grateful.
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bluezette
It can be yours (MLS# 4258592). If my piggy bank allowed, it would be mine. :(
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Elyse
Incredible dedication what an achievement, nice to see people with such passion for history
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mouzzer
Stellar! Copy and paste the MLS # bluezette gave us and watch the 6 min. video. Thanks, bluezette!
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AliciaTappDesigns Images on Tiles
That little schoolhouse is amazing.. Great job
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risris
Thanks for the MLS link - I'm actually surprised they're only asking 1.4! Especially when you see the comps in the sidebar. If I had the means I would buy this home in a heartbeat. I dream of doing this kind of thing all the time.
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kbunkbeach
We are so proud of Doug as he approached us several years ago to purchase our property and subsequently the "old school house". It is indeed an asset to our beloved Frisky Hill in Gilmanton, NH. Twigg
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risris
Also, did the interiors remind anyone else of Bilbo's hobbit hole? Another all-time favorite house of mine :) I can just see Gandalf knocking his head against those beams and the ring hanging out in one of those jars on the mantle.
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Comforts of Home
Mr. Towle is a treasure. Thank you for all you have done to preserve our history. Thank you for being such an inspiration to me and so many others. Mrs, Towle, You are a rock star:)
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reesolander
This hobby turned historical gem is a now priceless work of art--and heart. It would be wonderful for a foundation to purchase and operate it. I doubt any future Homeowner would keep it so historically pristine.
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Grimalkin
Everything is wonderful: the restoration, the decorating, the murals, the extra buildings! I would love to have something like this!
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Kitchen Masters, Inc.
Wow! Simply spectacular... Every detail is so well thought out - I especially like that the kitchen was modernized with updated appliances, but it still FEELS authentic. Very well done!
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ameliaping
It's very classic!
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katherineevers
Awesome. Our country is lucky to have people like Mr. Towle. And I feel lucky to see it here on houzz. More like this please!!!
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Sara Hess
Neat
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Cate Hancock
Wow - just wow.
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vch0920
Great article! Love to see restoration and preservation show up more here. I do have one small correction. In the opening paragraph it says that "the colonial he grew up in was built around 1810". any house built then would be considered of the Federal period rather than colonial. The colonial period ended around 1775 when the US stopped being a British colony.
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astartestar
I kept thinking of Cold Comfort Farm and The Quaking Brethren. Delicious 17th century discomfort: "But there'll be NO BUTTER IN HELL!"

I went to a Calvinist school (founded 1552) and was brought up around gateleg tables and all things C17th. Gatelegs were designed, I believe, to prevent one enjoying either one's food (because one can't sitt square to the table) or one's neighbour - the members prevent a hand idling over a thigh or a foot kissing a foot.

It's no fun gathering dirty cutlery in buckets ("Piggens"), I can tell you, and there are better ways of looking after crockery than in a wicker basket. It may look picturesque, but try it!

Then the ladderback rush-seated chairs give one haemorrhoids, and gowns and stomachers moulder in the bottom of kists and tallboys, sometimes joined by the occasional bride, lost whilt playing hide-and-seek on her wedding-night and only discovered in 1885 (see "The Mistletoe Bough".)

I hope the gentleman has put 7 gables on his house and checked that it does not accommodate judicial psychopaths in long wigs nor the shade of an unmarried mother plying her embroidery. Gives a new meaning to "A red-letter day."

I ate a meal composed of pot barley and pumpkin the other day, with sage leaves from my garden. It was absolutely disgusting - sufficiently so to be a paternal pilgrim penance for Lent. I do hope Mr T eats wholesome 17th c food in his mansion, but I fear it is all pleasures of the flesh with him. Alack a day!
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motownmom
Mr Towle you are a genius and a treasure. So what if you didn't have kids? You have given "birth" to over a dozen "children" and they will never disrespect or talk back to you! Amazing painstaking work and well worth the visit. Hope someday someone will come along and keep this as a testament to your brilliance and diligence. Bravo!
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chookchook2
A family would not necessarily keep it the way he wants, but a museum trust might. Lovely house.
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katherineevers
@astartestar - Your alma mater sounds a bit grim. But at least you know "Cold Comfort Farm" so it mustn't have been totally joyless. Perhaps you're familiar with an old book called "Down With Skool"? It seems like something you'd enjoy.
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schwager
This is the most wonderful property I've ever seen on houzz! When I finally finished oohing and aahing over the house -- then came the school! Amazing! And I would willingly trade my children for this-- how about a legacy swap?
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keving1haus
Thank you for sharing a great story and beautiful photographs!
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jrt3
What an amazing home and houzz feature. I have a question - did a 350 year old home in New Hampshire use any insulation, or was any used? Just wondering where the line is drawn between authentic and comfortable.
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Timothy DeWein, Realtor® with Home Team of America
Love all the wood inside
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jkeav
Remarkable..it's sad no one lives in it.
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maryquest
Wow! Such loving details. This is a gift for generations to come.
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Rose Mercier
I have lived in NH for 40 years and pass by similar home all over, none of which can hold a candle to this restoration. Bless you Mr. Towel for preserving our past for our future.
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twod814
Well done sir, well done!
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Lynn G
I'm so glad you didn't gut it and make the interior modern like so many are doing with antique homes! Beautifully done!
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hestiavermont
I love this so very, very much.
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hestiavermont
Doug Towle, YOU are a national treasure. Seeing this house and hearing about the work you have done has made my day. I want to be your best friend and perpetual student and work with you on every project. Thank you, thank you for the love you have put into this most worthy effort.
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janaz1954
I feel like the little girl on "Miracle on 34th Street" -- I've just seen my "DREAM" house!!!! w-o-w!!!
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Timothy DeWein, Realtor® with Home Team of America
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hestiavermont
The schoolhouse room looks just like an illustration in my Childcraft series of children's books from the 1940s - an illustration of Mary Had a Little Lamb, which I think was done by Tasha Tudor. So neat!
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Vangie Larkin
Abslutely incredible, the commitment of time, effort, detail & finances given to this restoration project. I would love to visit someday!
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Windows & More
This ideabook resonates with me for some very personal reasons. My father's family roots can be traced back to the Mayflower (via Samuel Fuller, a passenger on the boat) and the descendants remain to this day in the New England area. My aunt Lillian lived in Billerica, MA. I am, like so many have already mentioned, extremely happy that Doug Towle sees the value in preserving our nation's history, down to the smallest details! Outstanding work Mr. Towle!!
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marmarmish
What a fun tour!
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Vivian Rase
The aroma of an old room brings out the best in all of us who have the pleasure of that memory. My grandfather's home was a small cracker house on a farm in Dublin GA.
In every room the smells were absorbed deep into the walls creating the most humbling
pleasure imaginable. I can see how that one night and the smell of the wood was a turning point for Doug.

In the front room at Granddaddys the wood absorbed the smell of the wood fires, the leather sofa, pipes, grandaddies work hat, decades old quilts and mattresses, and the hardworking bodies of grandmommy and granddaddy themselves who slept in the front room.

The kitchen maintained a fragrance that was beyond anything you will every find in a home built today. The entire room was an olfactory garden of loveliness. The smell of well water was there, and strong sweet soap where the girls all gathered to wash in the evening. Blended with buttery biscuits, lemon meringue pies, crispy fat back, greens, cornbread and every good southern food prepared int that room and all was well with life. Even the gas stove added a quality to the wood that could never be reproduced.

The side room where I slept held a combination of old quilts, fresh linens, feather pillows, ticking mattresses and an old armoire that held the few dresses my grandmommy had. The smell of old suitcases and trunks and the essence of every aunt, uncle and cousin who had visited and slept there had been absorbed into those walls. Combine that with a well water and soapy bath, nestle between the covers and lie still as you listen to grandaddy praying for a full hour in the front room. Never understanding even a word of his prayer, the lilting cadence of his voice would lull me into a dreamy sleep that I havent experienced since.

Oh, the smells of childhood bring comfort to my soul like no other memory I possess.
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Peggy Tupper
Thank you Mr. Towle. You hard work and dedicaton is much appreciated. I too think that a museum will be needed in future years to preserve and respect the wonderful heritage buildings and make them available for all to view.
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beverlyshouses
Well done!
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twinkle24
That is the home in my heart.
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sfsapp
This is fabulous!
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elbit
I don't understand the merit of a house that no one lives in.
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George Taylor
This is a beautiful and remarkable house. Very English, it could be a country pub or hotel. But also remarkable are the carpets. They don't quite fit and are a bit OTT but very lovely too.
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tlchancellor
The most amazing article yet! As a designer and a lifetime American history fan, i just want to thank Mr. Towle for this loving gift to America's future generations. it is a shame that a house that stood in the same spot for over 300 years had to be moved (I pray they did archealogical digs as well) but so thankful that someone with a loving touch like Mr. Towle embraced its history and significance. To acquire such exquisite land and other buildings to knit all of this into such a rich tapestry of design, craftsmanship, and history...all I can say is wow! My heart is just overwhelmed. So glad the MLS was shared as well, beautiful video tribute posted there to this property. i pray whomever acquires the property maintains it just as it stands and doesn't change a thing, so much work went into it. i'd love to see it kept as a small bed&breakfast where it can be continually shared with the public, host weddings on the property and in the large barn, the schoolhouse available for school tours, perhaps add a couple of small cabins on the property and open things up for artist retreats to paint the landscape, buildings, etc. That lovely large barn could host quite a large workshop of artists!! How I wish I had that kind of money to purchase and maintain it!! It would be hard to get me to leave my own history here in Virginia, however, as my family has resided here since early 1700's! Thank you again Mr. Towle, your legacy will truly endure!!!
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joannr
Amazing work, I couldn't handle the hanging dried flowers in the kitchen, or the baskets hanging in the dinning room, they make the ceilings seem even lower and make the rooms seem so dark.
   
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Sharon
I'm speechless. Beautifully done! I wouldn't want to live in a house like this because it's too period perfect to be comfortable for a modern girl. But he did a wonderful job preserving it and giving our nation an historical home to be proud of. I hope it's kept up from now on as a museum of sorts.
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Pamela Fisk
Having been born in Gloucester Massachusetts and visited historical homes around New England, this home is very familiar to me in every single detail. It feels just like coming home to me. Wonderful.
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clmcolonial
Incredible home! By far, the best I've seen on Houzz. Not only was this home historically accurate to the Pilgrim period, it looked comfortable and livable. Thank you for this restoration for future generations. Please bring us more articles on early American homes!
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lidobug
Wiggin's work is stunning! Thank you for preserving such a special place.
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elliegmail
Mr. Towle is a treasure for what he does for these treasured structures. This house speaks to me in an emotional way that I can't quite fathom. The story about the desk was so incredible it gave me goose bumps. I think the rugs (as is the entire house and its contents) are beautiful!
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noodlebee
A fantastic project! I want to see what his 1960s house looks like. :-)
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johnrzepecki
These pictures and this article are very inspiring. Gave me a few ideas on how to use some of my Vintage Wood and Hardware. I have a few Wood Tent Poles from an Army Field Hospital from WWII. They are multifacetetd and they have Metal end caps. How do I treat them to make sure they are safe enough to bring into the house. I can probably light sand them to get the rough edges and surface dirt off.
Would i Varnish them or leave them natural.
Are there places that I can take them to and have them dipped to make sure that they are insect free.
I also have the hardware for 2 Big Sliding Barn Doors. Where would I take them to have
the Metal Rollers, Clamps and Rails Dipped to get some of the rust off and clean enough
to use indoors. What clear finish would I use on the metal to make it look clean and
to preserve them.

John Rz
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suzicooks
I feel as though I've just had the most marvelous vacation, and got to take a tour of a true American gem. Thank you, Mr. Towle, for your dedication, attention to detail, and obvious love for the period.
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stephyee
Just Beautiful !
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soozmacrae
Ooooh! I can just smell the history. This place is fantastic. It makes me want to visit just to run my hand over that original desk. Love the dedication.
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Kate
All I can think to say is "wow!" to this astounding labor of love. Mr. Towle has preserved with such meticulous attention to detail a home that is truly a piece of American history. How truly wonderful.
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Janet
I often drive by this property & the pictures you are seeing does not do it justice. It is the most lovely spot & especially at night when each window is lit by a candle. It's all just too beautiful. What a wonderful gift Mr. Towle has given us all.
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reneeashley
This is the most interesting project I have ever seen on Houzz! Mr. Towle you have done a beautiful job!
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teebird56
Spectacular and amazing!
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iberkeley
Wonderful and amazing - but why not live there occasionally, it needs some life!
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nolagal
What an extraordinary labor of love - think I've developed rather an enormous crush on Mr. Towle!! :-)
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bernbell
My daughter just bought a 1790 house. She will love looking at these pics, which are just lovely.
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ems1008
I LOVE THIS MAN! THIS IS MY FAVORITE HOUZZ LAYOUT OF ALL TIME! How could he NOT live in the house. I would find it hard to leave to even go to the grocery store. The history he has amassed not only means he's saved a treasure trove of the past, but he is a treasure himself. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
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ljdible
Good for you!!!
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Wild About Design
SMILE :). I enjoy this post soooo much! My ancestor Richard Warren came over to America on the first Mayflower, so it is very possible that I had family members that spent time visiting at this home. What a fantastic restoration. Thank you for sharing. Rebecca
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halleycomet
@KESTRAL---Tasha Tudor lived just a few miles up the road from this house so no surprise her art should look like this!

@VCH0920---- A small disagreement---the "Colonial Period" might be said to have lasted til AFTER the "War of 1812" when we had to re-fight the British all over again.

I too grew up in a house much the same age as this and I am deeply appreciative of the work and care that has gone into this. The rugs---well---not many have survived and the ones that did are much too fragile to be used muchless walked on. We tend to think that the rugs of that period were dull and made from cast off clothing--and some were---but a lot were brought back from Persia and would have been bright and Oriental in design-much like these. And the rugs that would be hand knotted as those were would cost today more than the house does. I do like the correct use of the small rugs on the tables tho!

I am going to be in this town in a few weeks---I would LOVE to know how to go see the School House!

Also==I have not seen the film but I went to the link for more pics---well worth the time to go see more of this place!!!!!

I would love to see some more typical items in this house---to preserve them if nothing else---things like looms and other craft and trade items; spinning and dying was a huge part of life in these times.
Some of those plants in the kitchen and garden would have been used for dyes and cures. Quilting and pickling and processing of other food stuffs; all of the tools needed for life in a place without access to almost any form of pre-made items. It was a long way back to England and these people had to make almost everything they had not brought with them.

HOUZZ---Someone should go and take some pics of the house in England that is rumored to have the hull of the MAYFLOWER upended as the roof!
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triplel
This house makes my soul cry.

WANT

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sylviedemeyer
This is really beautiful. This would fit the european continent style perfectly ;) It only lacks the laughter of children and the approving look in grandparents eyes...
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grizzly
The house, out buildings and land look like they have been together forever. It is wonderful to see the buildings furnished completely in period furnishings. The modern kitchen blends in as well as a kithen with modern conveniences can. We didn't see the bathrooms. No doubt because they were not a part of the antiquity. I could not and would not resist the temptation to live here.
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Hazeltree Designs
This property is absolutely gorgeous. It's not often that you see a home that is so authentic and tastefully decorated. Just stunning.
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maureenanstey
this place is spectacular, wish that I could visit this place sometime, is that something the owner accepts
   
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Miranda
i confess i didn't read the article, just looked at the pictures. how very lovely! it looks so warm and cozy. i don't think i could live amongst all that wood day in a day out but what a great place to escape to! reminds me of a house that should be tucked away into the woods where you stay all winter. amazing that you could still find a house built in 1600s!! that's nuts.
   
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hickoryspringfarm
Just fantastic, the best ever! PLEASE give us more restored historic buildings.
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jaydees
If I win the Powerball, I WILL purchase this - adore it! Somehow I don't see 'mid-century modern' EVER having the cache of this style. Looks like junk in comparison.. Thank you Houzz and Mr. Towle.
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zweiback
I think Hollywood location scouts would be thrilled to find Mr. Towle's labor of love for filming an early American period piece!
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jgpollock
Amazing restoration! Wonderful work, Mr. Towle. My sisters and I have all the family furniture from the old Thomas Lyon home that my grandmother retained before she gave the home to become a museum in Greenwich CT in the 1920s. It never was restored. It is amazing to see what is possible. I love how the furniture fits this home so perfectly. A very inspiring story! (go to greenwich preservation trust for more info on this old home, circa 1695, and badly in need of preservation and care!)
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Hope Combest
I'm totally speechless! In total awe. What a wonderful creation! I cannot imagine all the hard work...a true labor of love no doubt. Mr. Towle...Thank you!!!
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Hope Anderson
As a descendent of Pilgrims, I was especially touched by this project. What a labor of love!
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alibonelli
It amazes me what people can do. The time, thought, hard work, dedication...this is really just incredible. Made my day.
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Barb
Seriously, can you imagine all the dust with those dried florals and baskets??
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barb2009
Love the shutter panels mounted inside the window that retract into the wall. This would be prefect for our 1900 Victorian we are restoring. Do you have any information as how to build them, buy or install them? Thanks,
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Sonia Lake
WOW...just judging from the number of comments, Mr. Towie has touched a cord with many people on his project. The man should be recognized for his work and dedication to preserve a piece of American history that only few have endeavored.
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jaydees
It's like a Williamsburg restoration! Do all the contents -furniture and antiques, etc., go with the property?
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going2thesun
An amazing restoration! I for one am very grateful for the loving restoration Mr. Towle has undertaken. I grew up in a house built in 1896, and for Utah, that is old! It helped me appreciate the beautiful architecture and history of New York and Cape Cod where I lived for two years. Before Utah became a state, it was led by a New Englander named Brigham Young. He too, had an appreciation for the history of our country, as evidenced by the architecture of downtown Salt Lake City. The story of our past should always be told, not just in dry text books. Thank you, Mr. Towle!
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Sonia Pietraszko
An absolutely masterful job!! My eyes devoured every shot! Truly transports you back in time! This is the first time I have commented on anything from Houzz. Your passion to preserve is amazing.....here's a hug
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ritaroseray
could not even imagine living in a house like that but would love it. the school room is awesome. wish every student could see what it was like back then.
   
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halleycomet
@RITAROSERAY---


We were so much better off when kids learned in these small schoolhouses!!!!! The older kids helped the younger ones and the teacher had such a small group she got to know each kid---and if you had a hard time with something (and thy learned MUCH more at a YOUNGER age than kids now do!) then the subject would come around again the next year while you were STILL in the class---

We have many of our older school houses here in Upstate NY and altho lots have been re-used as houses some have been preserved as museums etc---after all these were NOT the property of the town they were on land owned by some one who lent it TO the District---I have had the pleasure of attending as a student (on the Island of Jamaica) a one room school house and as a parent I have been thrilled to have done "One Room School Days" with my kids and women who actually TAUGHT and went to school in these SAME buildings! In our tiny town if you wanted to go to High School some pf the students needed to either board out in Town or take the train daily---an elderly woman who went to school in the Shushan NY one room school house and went on the train to Salem NY was later the School Mistress there came and taught for a day in that same building. Now part of the Shushan Covered Bridge Museum.

PS the Amish still use these buildings as schools--and we now have an Amish settlement here!

Can't wait til June when I hope to go see this schoolhouse!
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going2thesun
halleycomet- your experience and info has been very enlightening. I will have to look up the communities you mentioned when I am next in New York, hopefully this summer!
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halleycomet
@GOING2THESUN--; -

We are on the extreme Eastern border of NY touching Vermont. Far North! Gorgeous area----to the West is Lake George and the Adirondacks; North is Lake Champlain and Burlington VT; and just a bit North of THAT is Montreal! To the East we have the Green Mountains and Bennington Vt and the Battlefield--and of course we are within a 45 minute drive of Saratoga and the racecourse--and of course the National Cemetery and Battlefield Park--one of the reasons we don't all speak with a British accent today!

The one room schoolhouses here were in operation (some of them) up until the 1950's. In our actual school today we have a very old map with all of them marked on it. Our school---Salem Washington Academy---is one of the oldest schools in the country as it started out as a private school. In our town you can see all the "stages" of school--several one room buildings including the Porter School that is open as a Nature Center; one on my road that is a private house; the Shushan (Shushan is part of Salem) one room and the several versions of the Private Washington Academy --the old building now part of a house; the earlier version of the Public school is now apartments; and the "modern" school dating back to the 30's---some of the rooms have elaborate fireplaces and a former student donated themed leaded stained glass windows for all of the original buildings rooms. When the school expanded when my kids were attending the community refused to allow the expansion unless the new wing followed the design and decoration of the older section.

The "rule" was that the youngest kids could not walk more than one hour to get to school. And some of the clusters of hamlets led to one school for just a few farms and tradespeople. So--we had a LOT of school houses! I can think of enough that ---along with our beautiful covered bridges---someone should put together a tour route! If you are interested in more info you can contact me using my ebay store---deadhead9.
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Janet
Utterly phenomenal! What patience you have, Mr. Towle. I would so love to see this masterpiece in person. Everything about it is wonderful. A magical step back in time.
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christinamhand
A lifetime of work to create the work of a lifetime. Mr. Towle is an artist and this is a masterpiece. A sincere thank you to Fred Albert for showcasing this incredible reconstruction on Houzz. Mr. Towle deserves to have his work recognized and it shouldn't stop here. The buildings, if not the whole estate he has created, should be designated as Historic Sites. While Mr. Towle dreams of a family living in and enjoying this home and it's outbuildings I hope any sale of this property would address preservation and conservatorship in the legal transfer of title. The value of this property to generations to come is priceless. The lessons these buildings could teach upcoming architects and designers would be valuable indeed. I hope that all the knowledge Mr. Towle has gained over his years of dismantling and reconstructing these antique buildings is not lost. Is there any chance a book or documentary could result from the exposure his accomplishments have received on Houzz? They are certainly worthy of either or both.
No doubt, from some of the comments I've read, there are those who would think I've gotten carried away with my appreciation of this man and his achievements. I was particularly staggered by a so-called "Pro" who viewed this Ideabook and whose only comment had to do with the dust created by hanging herbs and baskets. I would recommend that should this "Pro" ever visit the Sistine Chapel that he/she should be sure to bring a broom to tackle the dust on the floor!
Personally I would forgo a dream vacation to spend a day or two with this man visiting this site and listening to his story of how he created this work of "outstanding skill, workmanship and artistry" (Definition of 'masterpiece')!
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arlenejjones
We are putting in an island and are planning on painting or staining it a blue color. Could you tell me what the paint color in the kitchen is?
   
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betsy heck
LOVE this!
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going2thesun
halleycomet- Wow! Do you live in a great spot or what! I have always loved New England and appreciate the history of our country's beginnings. I live near the shores of the Great Salt Lake and it is a wild beauty. My husband does not think so! But the history is just as fascinating! Less than 3 miles from our home we have Victorian-era houses that have been lovingly restored. One has a horse trough that was used for Mormon baptisms. It's now right next to the sidewalk! There is also a blue with white trim saltbox that is the oldest continually inhabited house in Utah! For a "young state" that's something. Your area is now on my list of places to visit!
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Fred Albert
Hi Everyone. Doug Towle asked me to share this message with you:

"I am totally overwhelmed by all those who have taken their time to write. It have proven to be an ego builder beyond my wildest imagination. I honestly had no idea that so many would have such appreciation. The comments have truly motivated me to “keep on”. Huge thanks."
-- Doug Towle
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Deanna Johnson
Thank you Doug Towle for everything you do! I would love to come visit & walk through this living history one day! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
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debluetailfly
Doug Towle is a man who gets it. What a wonderful restoration! I wish more people would understand what he and apparently many others who commented understand. Wouldn't you know the week I didn't get a chance to look at Houzz, they gave a tour of the BEST house EVER on their site. I love this old house. The furniture is neat, and the story of the desk is amazing. The kitchen is gorgeous! I love the baskets and the rugs .halleycomet, among all your great comments, thanks for bringing up Tasha Tudor. I have all the books about her, though not the books she wrote. I believe her house has been turned into a museum, but have not been back up that way to see it. I wish I could get people in Little Rock, Arkansas to understand something about the importance of history. We have no houses as old as this Pilgrim house, but there are still some cool ones. This Old House Magazine named Little Rock as one of the best places to buy a historic house, and since that time, it seems to be the priority to destroy them as quickly as possible! Thanks again, Mr. Towle, for your amazing and wonderful contribution of saving the house, schoolhouse, and barns! Thanks to all of you who understand the importance of saving our heritage!!!
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Kim Dem
Ditto to all of the compliments! Just have to add that I LOVE the wall murals; they are gorgeous!
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All in the Details
I had a chance to see the exterior of this house the other day. It's so beautiful and peaceful on this property...and THE VIEWS are just incredible! My client drove me around Gilmanton, NH to show me some of Mr. Towle's other restorations as well. What an amazing man! He is such a gift to this community!

I have to also say that the photography by John W. Hession in this article is wonderful and really brings the rooms to life. Thanks for a great article. Definitely my favoroite Houzz article so far!
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safbham
Hello, can anyone tell me what is the smoked finish on the plaster to make it appear as old as the house??? How can I achieve the same???
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safbham
Hi Doug,
I am hoping you can explain to me how to achieve a smoked finish on the plaster. Thanks so much for your time,
s. french
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safbham
Hello, What is a smoked finish on plaster and how is it done??
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debluetailfly
Please do tell about the smoked plaster!
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blmurray829
You have allowed me to take a walk through your fabulous home and I can't tell you how much I love it. Being from New Hampshire, but living in Kentucky, I truly miss the colonial homes and beautiful land in the North East. It is so refreshing to see people that love history and do so much to make sure it survives for future generations to enjoy.

Thank you so much for sharing. I wish I were there to see it in person, and if I make it "home" next summer, I will surely make a promise to myself to at least make it inside the school house and at least the outside of the rest of the beautiful buildings.

Always a New Englander !!
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ioswich
OMG! Coming from upstTE ny THIS HOME JUST BLOWS ME AWAY..i ALWAYS WANTED TO LIVE IN A HOME LIKE THIS,,WHAT A PART OF HISTORY
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grizzly
Still my absolute favorite house on Houzz of all time.
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halleycomet
Thank you for posting this again--new comers to HOUZZ will want to see it and others will be thrilled to re-visit.

I managed to get to see this amazing homestead altho it did not look as if the School house was open. The house and setting are just gorgeous---the Town has managed to purchase the land across the street that holds old "Retting Ponds"---this was part of the process of turning flax into linen. The flax would be harvested and then "Retted" or rotted so the tough outside of the plant would come off. This was done using large shallow ponds. I understand the smell was horrific. Then the flax would be dried and "hackled" ---this involved using a tool with LONG pointed spikes and smacking the bundle of flax over these to "break" the fiber into a useable form to be spun. After spinning and weaving the linen would be staked out to bleach on "tenterhooks" on the grass--a few inches above as there is something about the grass itself that helps this along. So--when some one says you are on "Tenterhooks": that means you are nervous and twitchy---much like these thin wire hooks!

I understand that seeing entire acres of this fabric spread out is a rather awesome sight.

After this came the making of clothing---everything from napkins and diapers to underwear and gowns. ALL made entirely by hand. I have two hundred year old linen that looks as good today as it did when new. Amazing to see the various thread thickness of different cloth--some was either made by a beginner or perhaps it was not intended to be fine cloth.

I will be back in Gilmanton next June---maybe the School House will be open then! I would LOVE to see "Olde Time School Days": as field trips here---I would def bring my grandkids!

And---Mr. Towle---I am available for adoption ANYTIME--and I come with kids AND grandkids one of whom is shaping up as a fine historian!
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hickoryspringfarm
Folks are still commenting after months! PLEASE give us more historic restorations!
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Kitchen Masters, Inc.
Gosh, wouldn't this make a fabulous B&B???
   
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Sandra Fullerton
Completely beautiful. Love the attention to detail! Remarkable!
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Alotta Miles
This type of article is why I love Houzz! Best one yet!
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thickskin
I learned to write my ABC's on a slate like that. Thanks for the memories on thanksgiving morning.
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Nellie
Absolutely fabulous!!!!!!!!!
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butlera
Wonderful! Imagine spending the holidays in an enchanted place like this! It's like stepping back in time. The place is chock full of authenticity and character. Very well done. Thank you for this article.
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Nancy Peterson
We have a reproduction Solomen Richardson saltbox house in Ann Arbor MI so it was great to see Mr. Towle's real house inside and outside. Thank you for a great article!
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scarbowcow
Perfect Thanksgiving re-run. The house and its restorer are both national treasures.
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diyer59
Seeing the one room school house made me sigh--love that it was saved!
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Bobbi Thomas
Wow wow wow! Best Houzz story ever!
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Gretchen Maurer
Yes this is your legacy...thank you, all Americans should be so caring of our history!! My favorite is the stenciled wood floors I almost missed the detail on the one in the family room while drooling over the walls...
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nking43
Can you give us an update on the property? Have parts, or all of it, been sold?
   
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Reza Hendrawan
a fairly stately house from the side of his wooden design is also good, the result of the renovation is not in vain http://www.homeleven.com
   
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Kendrah
What a great tour for Thanksgiving.
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hestiavermont
I went crazy for this house the first time I saw it on HOUZZ, and I am just as crazy about it again! SPLENDID place. Absolutely love it.
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Patricia
Thank heavens for people like Mr. Towle!! Few of us would ever undertake such a labor.
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Deborah French Designs
Wow! I'm not easily blown away but this house is off the charts! I've never seen anyone do such a perfect and tasteful restoration. Bravo and thank you!!
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Margery
Congratulations for a museum quality preservation job, Mr. Towle. Thank God we have people like Mr. Towle. However, to those who must say that his preservations are good because they maintain the 'purity' of the period while they condemning those who make even the least little changes away from the original 'purity': you are so wrong! I am referring especially to the few Victorian samples we've seen on HOUZZ like the one in NJ for example where some 'terrible designer' dared to paint the old woodwork (which had probably been very abused by dozens of renters) It is possible to really like living in an old house, I have, but also to need to update it for today's styles of living. While I am an Ohio native, I also spent the first 6 years of my married life in Hamilton, MA immediately south of Ipswich (and north of Salem) where Mr. Towle got many of his ideas. I LOVED being surrounded by so much history while living in that area since I love both history, architecture and decorating. Some of you will recognize me as ALABAMAGAL rather than Margery...but I am both! (Just tried to fiddle with my profile). HALLEYCOMET...how interesting (I always read your comments!) that you are in upstate NY! I went to Skidmore in Saratoga Sprgs! and am very familiar with all those fabulous houses etc. Email me if you like: grandsturdy410@yahoo.com. I even got to go through the old Grand Hotel or was it GrandUnion? and Yaddo while there! Both my grandmothers went to one room schools (in Ohio) and one of those school houses still exists. My maiden great aunt also taught in a one room school house in Colorado. I just had photos enlarged of her IN her school house!Yes, they actually learned very well back then with no government interference or 'political correctness' to contend with!
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abbybelknap
My dream of Dreams, I would even move back east to live in this house, only this house!
I hope it lasts forever!
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lawhorse
The restorations are beautiful, and showcase Mr. Towle's love of history, attention to detail and patience. I can appreciate the love and expense that went into the project. I could not imagine living in those rooms though. The small windows and dark walls and ceilings, plus so many knick knacks of baskets and bottles etc. give it a much too cluttered, cave-like feel to me.
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Barbara Brandt
Absolutely lovely -- perfect. I have some pieces in storage and I am about to stencils shutters for inside bedrooms. My house is 1928 so nothing so wonderful as this wonderful collection but bringing things back to the past even in my house makes my heart beat faster. It is joyful to do!
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lisamke
This property is still for sale. If you search MLS 4258592 there are more pictures. Amazing.
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tooky58
Wow mr towles just wow what a job you did, the talent that you have is simply amazing
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Double D
Amazing, Mr Towie you captured every detail of the period, and went to great lengths and dedication to achieve it. Really enjoyed reading your journey Thankyou
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ambitiousdesigns
fantastic. I imagine that there were no rugs, just plain floors or hand woven rugs. The rugs are what make it look cozy -
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zweiback
Again? Running out of houses, houzz?
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boosgramma
And of course, there's that someone who's worried about dust...
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chrissiekirk
This is just amazing. I've been in English castles and manor homes, huge estates with contents kept intact and on display for all us tourists to ooh and ahh over, but this example that has been lovingly put together is the most take-my-breath away example of how we lived I've ever seen. Simply beautiful (that dining room is amazing). What I got the giggles over were all the collections in the kitchen area...just LOVE that. This was a superb article Houzz, thank you so much!
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wendig
This actually pains my heart...BECAUSE I WANT MY 1955 WALK OUT RAMBLER TO LOOK LIKE THIS!!!! I'll gladly take suggestions on how to achieve this.
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wendig
In the kitchen it says that Mr. Towle used " hand-troweled plaster walls treated with a smoked finish to make them look aged." How does someone achieve that look?
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victoran
If I had the money and lived within 1000 miles of this home, I'd buy it,. Such an amazing restoration. Love the comment about the stenciled floors and turning it into a bed and breakfast and museum. The kitchen, though modern, totally captures the feel of the house! I love the blue. I love the windows. I want to live there!! As a few others have said, I find hanging things on low ceilings claustrophobic and capture too much dust. The low ceilings are fine for me to walk under though as I'm ..only 5feet tall
wonderful home....thanks!!
   
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lawhorse
I wonder how many people would enjoy living in the restored house featured in this article? It doesn't take away from the remarkable and expensive restoration that was done to acknowledge that such old houses are not comfortable without major changes. As someone who has lived in an 18th century house for the last 35 years, and currently in a late 17th century house, it takes vision and talent, not to mention money, to make these houses comfortable in the 21st century. Not everyone wants to live in a museum.
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Joyce Cornell Papp
This is just magnificent! What a beautiful accomplishment.
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Todd
I'm amazed that these homes have survived after 300+ years and I'm glad people are taking the care to restore/save them. What a great restoration. This property is a museum, and I want to live there! Great job, and Mr. Towle should be commended for his efforts.
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modlodgeluv
It's a rare aesthetic sense that can merge authentic details and respect history while still creating completely livable spaces
I would love to spend time in houses like this!
this post warrants a second look later today on my laptop where I can relish the photos in much larger format
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Vivian Rase
I am both stunned and perplexed that this amazing house and property has not sold. I'm tempted to sell everything I've got and move there myself.
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casacerro
I loved this the first time and am still impressed by the skill and dedication to the restoration. On to your next house Mr. Towle!
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hestiavermont
Halleycomet, thank you for your educational and positive posts!
   
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Kate Bedford
This property is where I had my engagement pictures taken this fall. I grew up in Gilmanton and have seen many houses that Doug has restored, all are amazing. Thankfully, my mom knows him well enough to ask if we could use his property for the afternoon. Truly beautiful.
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keziamara
If anyone is looking for an organ like ht one in the school room,there's one available at Antique Affair in Bourne MA
   
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B.L. Rieke Custom Home Builders
This is such a spectacular project. The ability to remodel a home and retain its original character is hard enough as it is, but to reimagine the authentic feel of a mid-17th century home with modern comforts in mind? Amazing work. The land is also beautiful, rustic, and thoroughly reminiscent of the home's past.
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savada
cabinet on counter
   
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Kristen Perella
Having grown up in Gilmanton IW, I loved seeing all these old farmhouses strewn about town. I'm so happy to see that they are so loved and cared for. Such history and stories with these old farmhouses, it's wonderful that people take the time to restore them.
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Dana Veach
What a lovely...and loving...restoration! I've bookmarked this article to refer to again for some of the wonderful ideas pictured; and even though this time period is far from my own personal style, I consider that it is important to preserve architecture like this because of what we can learn from it of national history, culture, and craft. That kitchen and adjacent dining area were personal favorites for me, and the basket collection made my heart skip with delight! Thank you so much for restoring this home and making it available for our viewing and education! And speaking of education...I too attended a one room school house during a single year of my elementary schooling...your school room was a lovely reminder of a fondly remembered time.
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hestiavermont
Please show us more of Mr. Towle's restorations.
   
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Margery
While this property is an amazing restoration and all are grateful to Mr. Towle for his generous gift of historical preservation, so many things about it seem so obsessive to me and in some cases, anachronistic. While a house of this size indicates wealth of the original owner/builder, I would doubt that person had such an amazing collection of oriental rugs for example. Were some of the floors stenciled? In any case, I doubt they would have been covered with rugs, oriental or braided! Mr. Towle seems to have an obsession for covering every single horizontal surface (other than counter tops in the kitchen) with RUGS! Table tops, chairs, all but one seat (other than benches) is covered in a 'little braided ruglet'! And the beds are covered with 'little pillows' certainly not true to the 1600's! While Vivian Rose can't see why the house has not sold, not everyone who HAS that kind of money wants to live in a museum, fascinating as it is. At #1,500,000.00 apparently that does not include a stick of furniture or any of Towle's 'priceless collections'! It would take another person's fortune just to furnish and maintain such a 12 acre property! Yes, it IS wonderful but...
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gmicute
Read about this on a news site last year. I'm so glad to see it on Houzz! What an amazing project.
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luvwhidbeyisland
What a wonderful legacy he is leaving for his community! Even if he does not live in the colonial house I hope he gets great pleasure from spending time in it every day!
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anouska89
Wow good on him for preserving history - just amazing!
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roz boz
What a fabulous Labour of Love to have restored this beautiful old building, seeped in history. I'm glad there are people like you around so that the rest of us can enjoy, thankyou Doug.
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lewisaus
What a privilege to see this house. Congratulations to Doug Towle for this very beautiful and significant restoration. The furnishing and antique pieces work very well with this house.
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corinat
Just wonderful! But how many of our modern showhomes will still be around in 350+ years? They don't build 'em like they used to.....
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annaqua
What a delightful story...... I would love to read more like this!
   
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Kat
For a while many of us and some still do, wanted interior decoration which was in the minimilist style, many homes had, no timber and not one ornament or vase on show, but it was not long before many realised that, a house is not a home without that warm, lived in feeling. This is a beautifull home, lovingly restored, and this historic masterpiece was lucky to have found Doug Towle
   
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Connie Cunningham Designs & B&B

this is my dream house. How beautiful.

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jamiewesson

Another 5 Star story on Houzz. Would much rather read this type then the stiff designer homes that most of us cant afford or can't live in with our lifestyle. Thanks for this wonderful story again

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Connie Cunningham Designs & B&B

thank you!

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Маргарита Разимова

so amazing! wow


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juliede
Thank you for this post/story; really enjoyed it! I echo the previous comments.
   
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hwswthr

I inherited a family farm which still has original farmhouse built in late 1800's. It has been uninhabited since 1950's so its probably too far gone. Clearly Mr Towle has the resources and desire to complete the restoration of these old homes; motivation & desire being the key components. I love reading about individuals like Mr Towle who buck trends and the easy paths. It is an inspiration.

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manykittiesmama
We have lived in a 1748 center chimney colonial in Massachusetts for 31 years. Houses like this a truly a labor of love. We've managed to restore our home while upgrading the electric, heat, plumbing & insulation. Our next project is a kitchen expansion, working to keep the historical aspect of the house while making it a space that works with modern life.
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sutterathome

Guy's a genius.

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ideagal
What a well written article with corresponding pictures and quotes. Thoroughly enjoyed reading about the owner, the cabinet maker, the muralist, etc. Amazing people. Amazing home.
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niabiaxxmoi
New Hampshire state constituents: Call, write, or harass your state legislature to get the state to preserve this rare find! Get a petition if need be! Alert others and spread the word before it's too late!

This should be in the state's hands! It should be for everyone to enjoy now and in the future!
   
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Connie Cunningham Designs & B&B

Oh Wow!!!! How exciting, this has been my favorite house in Houzz!!! I have looked at the photos in the article many times over. I am so glad to finally see it in video, because it adds so much more depth to it all. I'd love to see it in person, but know I will never get off this farm long enough to do so. Drat!

So, this was a real treat!

My little farm cottage restoration looks like a cakewalk compared to this huge endeavor. I'm in awe.

Spence and crew, you did an awesome job of capturing it's beauty. I am in love with the beautiful wood interiors and the carpets throughout, the painted floor, the pewter, the floor cloths, just all the little finishing touches of details everywhere.

Doug, you have created a true masterpiece of history and quality and design. You were so respectful of all the historic features. I cant get over it or the fact that my favorite Houzz article became a video. I have to go watch it again!

Connie from Missouri

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ashish pitroda

so beautiful home ...

   
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Madeleine Marentette

So wonderful. A masterpiece. A beautiful legacy. A beautiful man.

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minespark

Towle says, “I don’t have any children and grandchildren,”...

It's pretty clear that Towle's legacy is evidenced by the passion and meticulous efforts to preserve, with great integrity, the structures of our nation's culture and heritage. Well done, sir.

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gibbedittome

What an inspiring treat! May we have Chapter two now and learn more about the history on how you found this place, before and after pictures, and did you find any little treasures while you were remodeling, oh just everything: more, More, MORE!!!

   
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deniselipper

This is a wonderful restoration. Mr Towle has done his homework. I live 18 minutes from Plymouth,MA and Plimoth Plantation homes are fully restored "Pilgrim" homes. You'd be hard pressed to find a red clay brick or a house of this size in the plantation. This home is more what you'd find in Sturbridge, MA. It is truly lovely and I am envious of Mr. Towle's hobby of restoring old homes with such history. I have toured a restored home in my town of Bridgewater, MA with the same architectural features as this home. Perhaps there is a famous historical architect waiting to be named. Or maybe our ancestors just knew how to build a good, solid home. Thank you for this video. It's a testament to Americana.

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pansdaughter

Fabulous! Are there plans to do some historically accurate gardens? A four square herb garden or kitchen garden? I would love to see the pond restored with native plantings (it looks a bit like a crater). Overall, a beautiful legacy for generations to come. Bravo, sir.

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normpo

A wonderful place to see. What a beautiful and skillful job he's done. He's as much a treasure as his home.

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Architectural Notice

Fascinating!

It is refreshing to see someone who wants to preserve old structures rather than tear them down.

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Jessica B
I thoroughly enjoyed this article. What a treasure!
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chrisperica

Oh, love this gorgeous home! And the schoolhouse - thank you Mr. Towle for your passion and dedication to re-creation of a period you so love. And thank you for sharing with us. I agree with someone who said I would give up a trip abroad to spend a day on your land listening to you tell stories of the past and what you have preserved!

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hestiavermont

Mr. Towle, you are one of my heroes! Do you give tours of this house in person? I live in Vermont, and would certainly love to come see and learn from you.

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salleybell
You are a very special person Mr. Towle and thank you!
   
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Gerald Lorentz

Wow! Beautiful restoration. . . thank you Mr. Towle for keeping our National design, architectural and cultural heritage alive for us and our future generations.

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Johnnie Hatfield

What a beautiful gift for all of us. I would love to see this in person and crawl into one of those lovely beds. I have family that was in America when these structures were built

Thank you Doug.

Johnnie from Texas


   
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Lauren Schreiber

I grew up in the historic home of my small town (Los Altos, CA) - it was the original farmhouse dated back to the early 1900's. My family restored it, keeping the shape, style and some of the old details to maintain the historic value for the town. Our neighbor's home is the watershed - now that was a cool house! Thanks Houzz for putting together yet another beautiful video!

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Guy Parent

Great video thank you for posting.

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Nina Pearlmutter

A beautiful restoration. My husband's family home was partly similar, having been built in then 1740's. The first one on the site was burned down by the indians. There were indian shutters in the family home to keep out the arrows.

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marklyurkiw

There is no way to protect these from extinction in spite the popular belief that preservation laws prevent them being knocked down. Designating buildings on the Federal, State, and Local level as historical does NOT prevent them being knocked down. They only stay up until the money runs out, after that they are blighted and considered functionally obsolete. There are no good enough laws to protect history. What we need in our laws is incentives to preserve and protect historical home. Having preserved a few houses, most recently a 1728 home, I can tell you it's near impossible, without great wealth and a trust in perpetuity to keep these homes from being knocked down. There is EXTREME pressure to raze these building and put up a modern useful home. We NEED real Laws and local incentives such as tax abatement or tax freezes to preserve the FEW homes left from the 17th & 18th Century that define what we now call the american dream: The ability for a common person to own the land and build a home for their future generations where no monarch/ or land lord could take away.

Mark Yurkiw

Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA

(where the American dream began)

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Dessie Mercado

This is so fantastic. Thank you Doug for keeping America's history for others to enjoy.


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Sunday Honey Bees

Magnificent!!


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Elizabeth
I love this. We are such a tear down, throw away society in the United States that it's refreshing to see someone who appreciates from where we came. Bravo!
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fabiola63

This is one of the best things I’ve seen on Houzz. Love it!

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markliz

Wow!!! Well done Mr. Towle! Thank you for sharing!

   
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Varada Veum

Absolutely gorgeous! The love shows. I do believe it would be more accurately described as a Puritan house, rather than a Pilgrim house, though. It was likely built by a wealthy Puritan 45 years after the Pilgrims. The original Pilgrims had likely mostly died out by the time this was built.

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scottsdaleladydiane

This was truly a happy story about respecting what came before us. So often I see people paint, and destroy beautiful wood and something inside myself wants to scream out......no don't do it. Mr. Towle feels the same way I do about respecting another man's workmanship. Honoring our unrelated relatives and what they built. I too have chosen to stay single. I also love cars and incorporate them into design the way he did with the barn. Corvette Cove on Airbnb was a fun one I did in my home. I respect Mr. Towle and like the care he takes to straighten nails. My soul lept inside me when I saw that part. God Bless Mr. Towle. Thanks for sharing.

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wingsofadove

Dear Mr Towle, In the 60s, these nails were still hand made in Western Ireland for the very small, local trade. Blacksmith Mr Martin of Leatherdane showed me how to make these and or the specialised horse shoe nails. The first job of any blacksmith's apprentice was to keep the coal fire going by operating the huge bellows and to learn to make nails, using a rhythmic tap-tap pop tap-tap pop to shape the nail. Two taps on the nail, pop or lightly bounce the hammer to one side of the anvil as you rotated the nail and tap tap the hot iron once again. I think tempering followed and I'm not sure, but the tempering water may have had vinegar added to it for some reason. The prudent blacksmiths had the forge backed on the interior wall of the cottage so that it warmed the stone house at the same time.

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kath245
I love it when Houzz does historical homes. Inspiring!
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Linda Moran

Fantastic video and accompanying story! Thank you to Mr. Towle for sharing his passion for American history and architecture.

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judith5688

I am from England, and understand the importance of things such as this. Wonderful legacy, which should be taken over as a museum for prosperity. It would help us, & future generations, stay grounded.

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nita47

This was one of my favorite photo ideabooks, and it's even better as a video showing the enthusiasm and love Mr Towle has for his collections and creations. Thank you, Mr Towle!

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janetteash

What a lovely gentleman, Bravo Mr. Towle.


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terrichartrand
Such great vision and determination. It's authentic and beautiful. I believe he's succeeded in creating his legacy with this restoration.
   
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knwill03
Absolutely stunning!
   
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Sound Homes Staging

wonderful...thank you for sharing with us..

   
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Chris Buck

That was worth the time. Great work on his part and a wonderfully done video.


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Kathy Dunn

Thanks for sharing this story again. It is wonderful to see such a loving and sensitive restoration; this man clearly has a passion and wants to share it with everyone. Especially nice to see at Thanksgiving time. My ancestors were in the MA colony as early as 1630...so I like to fantasize that they lived in something like this house!

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Judith Kerr

Absolutely wonderful.....thanks so much for sharing!

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cdkarr

Love this article and the updated house. Would love to know the history of the homes origins. I'm curious who the family of 12 generations descended from. My ancestors where in Billerica before moving to New Hampshire and I always wondered what it would be like to live in that time.

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hetherfether

Bless you, Doug Towle, for the research and commitment to restoring and preserving our history - and especially for sharing it with the "youngins"!

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junipergirl

Gorgeous, just totally gorgeous. So glad he took the time and effort to keep this part of history alive.

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mpelescak

Wonderful, thank you so much for sharing. I would love even longer video of the rooms, it is stunning.

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lauren1

I grew up in northern New England, where many of the old houses are still standing. Mr. Towle's restoration is a good dose of nostalgia for me. If you've never visited New England you're missing a real treat and treasure, Boston, Portsmouth NH, the Maine coast, Vermont's rolling hills, to name a few. I recommend visiting in late September when the trees are often brilliant. But make sure you visit some of the old homes while you are there. Portsmouth is particularly interesting with homes dating back to the 1700's and even one as far back as the 1600's (the Jackson House), all restored and open to the public. Hmm. Maybe I'll schedule a trip back myself. Thank you, Mr. Towle. Your home is beautiful and your efforts are admirable.

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Kate
I love every inch of these restorations, but isn't the kitchen rather contemporary? I'm fairly certain that if it had high ceilings and crown moldings, it could be the kitchen in almost any other "My Houzz" article. I believe historically accurate kitchens would have had moveable, furniture style cabinets (and granted, no stove, sink, or fridge).
   
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basil49

Outstanding...thank you.

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ruthharriman
This is jaw dropping wonderful. Thank you for such beautiful work, and setting the bar for restoration so high.
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Veronica
Absolutely amazing! Love the history and the love he put into this beautiful home.
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wileykeane

Wileykeane, The beauty of this house is its ability to speak, I'm thrilled that it found someone who understood its language, what an accomplishment.

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lb4grandkids

Thank you, thank you a hundred times over Mr. Towle for your contribution to history. Having lovingly restored a late 1700's stone farmhouse in PA, we feel your joy (and pain). I am deeply sad that my husband's and my time are coming to a close at our property but so thankful to have experienced our contribution to history just as you have done!

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tigerlillly

Wonderful to see the video! My mother grew up on a farm in Michigan. She was also one of 13 and went to a one room schoolhouse with her siblings. One of my uncles still lives in the original house on the farm and every year, for more years than I can't count, the family gets together there for the Labor Day picnic behind the house. My mother was able to fly out from California to join them two years ago.

If only families today held God's Word, the Bible, in such a central place of honor in their homes and it was read to the family and studied as the treasure that it is, our country would be as wonderful as it once was. God speaks to us still from His Word and we should listen by reading it. The best thing that happened to my mother's family (Dutch immigrants) is when they one by one came to Jesus as their Lord and Savior. This is the legacy of our family, for continuing generations now who have also responded to the gospel. Many current Biblical scholars still read and appreciate the writings of some of the pilgrim preachers and scholars. What a treasure! I hope that whoever buys the house will proclaim the truth of the gospel by which men, women and children are saved to eternal life, from eternal destruction. That would be the greatest legacy for that house. May God be praised!

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Dana Veach

@tigerlillly...You have voiced an unpopular position in our current world, and I applaud your courage in speaking the truth. Beauty and creativity such as we enjoy on Houzz is a wonderful gift from our Creator, but that can only fulfill in this life, at best, if at all. We are made for relationship with the One who made it and us. Thank you, and may our God continue to bless you!

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Capital Restoration

Thank you Tigerlilly. As believers we are copmmanded by Jesus Christ to follow the Great Commission, Mathew 28:18-20.

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Phytofilter Technologies, Inc.

SOMETIMES THE OLD, IS IN FACT THE BEST

Sometimes the old,

Is in fact the best.

Where

Everyone

Was

Truly blessed.

We now so,

Long for progress,

But what then

Used

To be,

Was often better,

Than

Now

What is,

For it had

His-tor-y.

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kimjemmott

Just love this gem,I could live there and would enjoy waking up to that home everyday.

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allanluby

I'd like to know how these old homes are heated today. I live in a 1840 stone house. We use oil and wood stove. The temperature varies in different rooms. We've insulated as much as possible but are limited. We have original windows with storms. They don't appear to be drafty. Would replacing them with modern windows help? We like the wood look.

   
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Nargis
This is an exceptional unique idea. It is a best idea which I will take for my housing.
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Rasha Olama

Wow. What a legacy Mr. Towle.

Huge respect and admiration.

And thanks for this exceptionally beautiful video.

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Cheryl Stoyle
Incredible restoration of this amazing 17th century home. Beautiful house and wonderful story!
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rocbit
Makes you wish you could go back in time! Simply beautiful - house and grounds.
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Prescott Window and Door

A talented labor of love! More, more, more of these type of videos, HOUZZ!

   
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Camilla Blair

Gorgeous and so beautifully restored. In this day and age when the majority want new,its great to find someone who appreciates "OLD". I grew up in a house in England built in the 15th century that my father restored ,my memories are full of magic and ghosts!!!

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drrose

There aren't enough superlatives to do justice to Mr. Towle's work! Thank you, sir.

   
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liasuz
Wonderful to save our history and be so detailed and thoughtful! Thank you for such an amazing story.
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marlin bomjardim

makes me remind off myself, working on my second house 1888 restoration ... great work...

   
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rydnthru

I must correct you. The connector between the Billerica house and the barn is not an ell, it's a wing, although it's not even that since it's connected to the next building. An ell would be perpendicular to the ridge pole. I grew up in a 17th C house in Middleton MA and my mother, despite my resistance, managed to instill in me an appreciation for antiquity and preservation. And, yes, she straightened and reused old nails.

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rydnthru

I grew up in a 17th century house in Middleton MA. One criticism I have about this house is the fireplace brickwork. Never would the bricks have been grouted with white grout nor would they have retained their square edges, but modern masons apparently haven't looked at authentic early fireplaces. If they had, they'd have noticed that the corners of the bricks were rounded off, a "casualty" of daily use coupled with softer bricks. My mother literally stood over the mason who was proudly doing the brickwork in the lean-to and taught him how to replicate a fireplace that looked as though it had been built in the 17th century. She was an authority on early American antiquities and a stickler for detail. She'd immediately have noticed that the beams in the Billerica house weren't chamfered, indicating that they weren't intended to be exposed; rather, they'd have been hidden beneath the lath and plaster ceiling.

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Noelle Schilling
Enjoyed this story. How wonderful that he has committed so much to preserving a period in time. 100 nails a night. Dedication!
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Lesli Deichman-Langley

This is exceptional! Thank you, Mr. Towle, for caring so much for our legacy and the painstaking attention to detail our ancestors took, which you so obviously have inherited. This is a lovely restoration. Congratulations and thank you!

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scottsdaleladydiane

The house is wonderful and I have commented before about it's absolute awesome detail. But all in all.....It is the man that saw the vision that interests me. I have had everything in my life and nothing is more important than a friend that has a soul that honors those that came before him. I would be honored to be his friend.

Angel Lady Diane

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lbarmstrong3378

Hailing from the midwest and then the south, I had never heard of Billerica, MA at all until I started working on my Ancestry...many of my ancestors made their homes in Billerica, so that caught me attention immediately. It wasn't difficult imagining that this was their home, though I am absolutely amazed at the level of comfort the home afforded in what I imagined to be a most difficult period. I would so love to spend a few days in a home such as this one. Special man, amazing dedication and unbelievably valuable lesson for us all here. Who said Houzz was just a bunch of "decorating pictures"? This is an amazing post, thank you!

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Lubbock Custom Coating

It is good to keep our history alive as much as possible. Amazing story and restoration. This was not only a project, but a lot of love went behind this.

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Yitty Sternfeld
I love older homes & this was such an Amazing story!!
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GenuineAntiqueLighting.net

Great narrative. Such a warm feeling. Timeless.

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Custom Decks Inc.
Wow, definitely very beautiful and nostalgic.
   
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sonyamcdonald

amazing!

   
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craigmerrow

Really impressive, and a labor of love. I especially like the school, as it brings back memories of my Dad working on a term paper about one room school houses when I was a little kid. We traveled all over northern Maine to visit one room school houses that were still in use back then (late 1960's). I also remember a National Geographic article about a town in Maine that turned out for a high school graduation; the first one in several years - two students!

   
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Chapel Lumber- Karen Beach

This is awesome. Beautiful! Thank you for keeping our history alive!

   
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Birdie Miller Designs

What a LOVELY and ''Groovy'' presentation! It is plain to see how dedicated you are to what you have done and enjoy to do! I have straightened many nails also!

   
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Home Glow Design

Oh my goodness -- when I saw the picture, I knew I'd driven by this house before! And then, sure enough, it's in Gilmanton. Stunning property.

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gnew9

Gorgeous!

   
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EuroLuxHome

What a lovely restoration, and a great use of color!

   
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azanita

What an absolute joy to see the pictures of the restoration....amazing!

   
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Mary Ellen Rides

Thank you so much for graciously sharing this beautiful gift with us!

   
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kallinou1965
Very warmly.
   
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Cheryl Wall

Be still my heart. Love it all. Thank you for sharing your gift with us. I've saved the video to watch over and over, whenever I need a pick-me-up. This is my happy place.

   
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capeanner

All you folks who are gobsmacked by older homes really need to come to New England. Every other house is old! It's the new ones that stand out like sore thumbs. Of course, we live and them so they look nothing like Mr Towle's phenomenal historical recreation, but we do have some truly fantastic houses that are maintained by historical societies and the like.

To the person who posted about living in an 1800's home with uneven heat, old windows and storms, I bit the bullet years ago and removed the lovely wavy glass windows and put replacements in. Can't tell you how luxurious those double panes feel by comparison. And without the hideous metal storms I can actually see out! But, alas, I too have uneven heat despite the new windows, heating systems & insulation. It's in the teens today (rare for Thanksgiving to feel like mid February!) and I am running a space heater in the crawlspace to keeps pipes from freezing. Such is the charm of older houses!

Was wondering if the Towle property is intended to be a summer one or if it does have central heating. Will have to check that listing.

   
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Diana

Everything is so exquisitely preserved, yet the home remains cozy. Wonderful restoration, just beautiful.

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68dede

What a Beautiful home resoration you have done! It brings back many memories of when I grew up in Ct. at my Dads home and Grandfathers. Now its a Bed and Breakfast there. It looks so much like it...If only I could have done that to bring it back to life! I would give anything to move back to New England! I do miss the stone walls....Someday we will take a drive up that way to see your home! Blessings to you!

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Kenzie
That Is literally so much respect that’s the coolest thing I’ve ever saying that’s the best
   
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Kenzie
That needs A round of applause for more like 1000 I don’t even know how many needs but it’s great absolutely cool and like it looks pretty good can’t lie with that so yea can’t lie or go wrong
   
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jbreck99
Martha Stewart’s Turkey Hill, revisited.
   
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Gail Molsbee Morris

A true jewel!

   
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Gigi

Such a lovely restoration! Kudos to Mr. Towle for his perseverance and dedication. Being a New England native, I really appreciate the historical authenticity of this venture. We do need to be mindful that this is the home of a very wealthy Pilgrim, not at all representative of the very small dwellings with meager furnishings where the less affluent raised their families.

   
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Custom Decks Inc.

Great story and beautiful photographs! We really enjoyed this video.

   
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