In the beginning we buy, and then we nest. And that can all be part of this long process of wrestling chaos to the ground. Getting organized, getting renovated, making space - they are all really important steps. But sometimes, we can try so desperately to create a place for everything and have everything in its place that we may miss out on a little bit of magic.

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This pretty red house currently owned by conscientious house stewards Nancy and Don Halgren was built c. 1796.  There are stories that it may have been moved from Essex, however, there is no evidence of such.  Noted historian and researcher Robert Booth concludes it was likely built onsite in the post-colonial Georgian style.

I recently had some family over for dinner, COVID and all.  I thought we’d eat in the living room, and had our socially distanced chairs all set up.  But my guests came in as a group and while I was busy with the bustle and the greetings and the coats, they had all plopped themselves around my dining room table.  It was so organic and so perfect that I just quietly swapped the buffet setup for place settings, and took a seat myself. 

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The historic yellow colonial house at 13 School Street was witness to the birth of our nation. When Captain Daniel Leach built his house in 1786, the American Revolutionary War had just ended two years before (January 1784) and the new United States of America was trying to figure out how to govern itself.  George Washington was not yet President and the Constitution of the United States had not yet been drafted.

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Here we are about three months into living with our new neighbor, COVID-19.  And, in some ways, we are at one of those turning points because COVID-19 will have forever changed us.  Will we ever go back to giving bear hugs and kisses to those we love?  (I hope so.)  Will we ever go back to thinking that world events won’t affect us personally?  (I hope not.)  And have we forever changed the definition of "I'm at work"?  (Yes, we definitely have!)  So, let’s take a look at those at-home workspaces and see if they actually are where we want to work because the home office, in some form, looks like it’s here to stay.

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The Queen Anne style house at 12 Bridge Street, designed by well-known architect Cornelius Russell of Roxbury, was built for Frederick J. Merrill and his wife, Mary Sayre Merrill, in 1896.   Its completion was mentioned in the January 30, 1897 Cricket, which describes it as “one of the handsomest and most convenient private residences in Manchester.” 

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I started writing these articles right when COVID-19 first hit, and I was all freaked out because I thought my kids might miss a week of school and my yoga studio might let fewer people into class. Turns out those may have been the good old days.  What do I do to clear my head, feel my sorrow, and gain my strength?  I gather with friends… outside… six feet apart… in small groups only… but still.  So, let’s talk about some good ways to set up the outside of your home so it feels just as warm and welcoming as the inside.

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Windows are intimately connected with the complements we offer houses like “wonderful natural light,” or “good bones,” or “so much character.”  They are one of the most important design features in your home.  They must look beautiful inside and out, operate perfectly, and be dressed for both a party and for bedroom time.  (Much like a 1950s housewife, I fear.)  So, let’s offer them some respect.