In the winter of 1917, or perhaps 1916, an inn located at 26 Newmarket Road in Durham, NH, was carefully, and with great skill and patience, taken off it’s foundation and hauled by horse and buggy across the frozen field to the left, or south, of the property. Then, later in 1917, a new structure was built, home to Ohio natives, the Taylor Family. It has changed hands only twice since the Taylor’s built it. That is, until our team member here at The Madden Group, Amber Roy, and her husband and parents purchased it last October from the Pilar Family, who had resided there since 1965.
Amber had fallen in love with the home as she’d drive by daily on her way to her kids’ daycare. To her, the house, which sat seemingly vacant, with overgrown shrubs shrouding it’s impressive full length farmer’s porch, seemed desperate to be revived. As Amber had been on the lookout for a couple of years for an older home to renovate and flip, one day her fascination with 26 Newmarket Road won out. She searched town records for the owners, wrote them a nice letter about how she admired their home and wondered if they had plans to sell. Anita Pilar called her back and said that yes, they were, in fact, thinking about selling it. And the rest is history.
Amber and her family began an extensive renovation on November 1st. The house was strong and solid. Built to last. But in desperate need of updating. The plumbing and electrical systems got a full do-over, the decades old carpets were torn out and the original beech wood floors were restored, horse hair plaster was repaired and in some cases, where the damage was too much, was covered by fresh sheetrock, original doors were stripped of their paint and re-stained, every original window was reglazed, cedar shingles were replaced on the facade where the ancient rhododendrons, overgrown and suffocating, had wreaked havoc, allowing rot to take hold. And when the major systems of the house were addressed, Amber, who had been working on building a career as an interior designer, took to making careful design decisions to update the house, yet honor it's history. The kitchen was relocated to an adjacent room, allowing for a butler’s pantry and first floor laundry room, along with a spacious mudroom and powder room, to take the place of the original kitchen and tight entry way. An additional full bathroom was added, to accommodate the needs and desires of modern families, the original bathroom got a full gut job and expansion, including a walk-in closet and huge custom walk-in shower, and the third floor was finished, creating additional living space. She chose timeless and classic finishes, like 1 inch white and black hexagon tiles on the new master bathroom floor, subway tiles, cross bar faucet handles, classic and impressive light fixtures, and more. There are custom touches throughout, like the two bathroom vanities that were created out of antique drawers. There are also a few small modern touches throughout the house, to create a little balance between then, and now.
The home, which sits in the heart of Durham’s Historic District, now boasts 5 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, master en suite, an office/craft/reading room, detached two car garage, just under an acre of land(bordered on the south by a large beautiful field of conservation land- yes, the same one the horses and buggies moved the original house over in the icy winter of 1917!), established, and new, landscaping, including what is rumored to be the oldest lilac tree in Durham, and over 3600 square feet of living space.
This house is special. It’s not your average flip. The history is enough to make someone curious- the entire property is still surrounded by granite hitching posts, which date back to when there was an inn on the property- quite literally meant for guests to hitch their horses to when they needed to stay for the night. And there’s the quirky bit of Russian written on the stone basement wall that translates to, “Excuse me for interrupting your interesting conversation, but the soup is getting cold.” There is much to see at this beautiful old home that has been so lovingly restored. The thoughtful choices and impactful, yet, classic design showcase Amber’s ability to create interiors that are truly beautiful and unique.
On Friday, July 12 from 4 to 7pm, Amber is hosting a Broker Open House and is celebrating the launch of her new business, Amber Dawn Interiors. She has collaborated with Ethan Allen and Coastal Furniture to stage the home, and other local businesses are providing contributions as well. Agents and Brokers: If you have buyers looking in and around Durham, or even if you’re just curious, come enjoy food provided by Oak House restaurant in Newmarket, complimentary wine and champagne, swag bags from Ethan Allen to the first 50 guests, plus multiple giveaways, including a bottle of Moet and Chandon, an Oak House gift card, beautiful succulent terrariums by Living Arrangements of York, Maine, and more!