Monday, June 29, 2015

Another Dance for the Painted Lady

Everybody has a different notion of their dream home. For some people, old is better than new and they garner great satisfaction from refurbishing a derelict antique and reinstating the splendor of a former era. Given the current emphasis on conservation of resources, houses that may have (or should have) been demolished are being given second lives. A TV reality series attests to this phenomenon with “House Movers.”

Photos by author
D and I had driven by a large, colorful Victorian house on Orange Road in Canaan, New Hampshire, many times in our travels up the mountain to our home site. We saw early on its owners painting trim or fixing windows and roofs on weekend visits and judged their task a Herculean one. Then the house became empty and a bank repossession notice was tacked to the door. During that phase we explored the decrepit interior and imagined its prior grandness. We adopted the name given by one local, “The Painted Lady.”


We were surprised on one recent drive-by to see pickup trucks and human activity, followed soon by bulldozers and excavators. In conversations with the workers, D discovered that a Rhode Island man has visions of resurrection for the old house. Now a new foundation is being dug out under its frame, which has been raised several feet by a house moving company. The entire inside is being gutted. Not far from the former Canaan Fairgrounds Speedway, which also has been given new life, perhaps this house will turn into a trendy bed and breakfast. Don't know. What's next, a local fine dining experience? Reliable cell service? 


We will follow with interest the progress every time we pass it on way to our unabashedly new construction.

There is an old Yiddish saying that goes: “There is a lid for every pot.” And houses, like pots, come in many sizes and styles.

P.S. According to Zillow and public records, this 2,400 square-foot house on four acres, built in 1880, sold in late 2005 for $240,000. The more recent foreclosure transaction took place in March of this year for $164,500.



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