SANDWICH — When Jennifer Macdonald  was a young girl, she would finish her day at the Henry T. Wing School  and run to the Deacon Eldred House, where the Thornton Burgess Museum was located at the time.

Both her mother and grandmother worked at the museum — the girl “nan” a staple of the building for roughly 25 years.      

“We spent a lot of time in that house — it’s actually one of the reasons why I work on old houses, ” said Macdonald, co-founder associated with Full Circle Homes , a construction and design  firm specializing in antique restoration and design.

  “That house is my childhood. inch

Macdonald now owns the home, along with her partner and fellow preservationist Michael Lemieux.

Owners have childhood ties to Sandwich

The duo, who met in junior high school, purchased the Deacon Eldred House in February  for $100, 000 from the town of Sandwich, plus began restoring the property in July. The renovations are currently  being documented by HGTV   through Macdonald and Lemieux’s television series, “Houses With History. inches

Master carpenter plus preservationist  Rich Soares  will also be featured working on the home during the show’s second season.  

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Full Circle Homes is eminently qualified and dedicated to the particular preservation of historic homes, according to Heather Harper, Sandwich  assistant town manager.

Harper said the television coverage is  an incredible opportunity for the community and the HGTV audience to become more familiar with the history of the  home and the town of Sandwich.

“The program will also serve as an important historic record of the renovation, ” she said in an email.

While the town  awarded the project to Full Circle Homes Feb. 22, the sale closed  July 22. The Full Circle Homes crew will film for roughly 10 to 12 hours per day, and will continue as the restoration unfolds,   Harper said.

A sentimental purchase

The Deacon Eldred House is near plus dear to Lemieux, who also grew up in Meal. Like Macdonald, he attended Henry T. Wing School and the  Deacon Eldred House also remains in the forefront of his childhood memories.

Every Sunday after church at Corpus Christi Parish, Lemieux said his parents, William and Mary Lemieux, took him and his siblings  to fill water jugs at the Dexter Grist Mill  spring. Lemieux could often be found traversing the fish ladder and wandering up to Shawme Pond, where he watched the fish for hours and fed the ducks. Eventually, he would find his  way to the Deacon Eldred House, which was known as the Thornton Burgess Museum at the time.

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“Jen and I were talking about it at one point and we were saying that she was probably there either with her mom or nan when I was out playing in the yard, ” he said. “We both kind of grew up in and around the house. ”

Macdonald’s grandmother, Lorraine Lee, was  part of the Hoagie Women’s Club at the time  and not only helped rebuild aspects of the building, but also ran the museum gift shop.

“Even after the museum  closed and they moved it to Green Briar, she continued shipping cups, plates, Burgess books  and all their merchandise  all over  the world, ” Macdonald stated. “She was up in her little shipping room sending boxes out every day. ”

Once a museum honoring children’s author

The Deacon Eldred House is a two-story, three-quarter colonial home, built in 1756, and  was a residential home  until 1976, according to Ralph Vitacco, Sandwich director of planning and  economic development.   Situated in Town Hall Square, it’s largely intact, according to Full Group Home public bid information,   and original from your time of its build.

“This house, prior to the town taking it over in 1973, was at the end of its residential life and it was almost like an old age home, inch he said.

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Erected over a previous structure integrated 1643, by the Tobey family, the house was occupied by the Thornton Burgess Museum from 1974 to  2013. The museum was devoted to the life and work of Thornton Burgess . Born in Sandwich, Burgess was an conservationist and author of children’s stories.   His grandfather, Thomas Burgess, was one of the first settlers of Sandwich in 1637, according to the town of Sandwich website .  

Before being purchased by Full Circle Homes,   the town removed recent additions plus conducted limited  restoration work to the building, but ultimately decided to sell the house  in 2015.  

“We came to a realization that we were not giving it the love and attention that it needed, ” Vitacco said.

Surprisingly,   there was no interest in the home when they tried to sell it in 2015, and no bid applications were submitted, he said.

Historical restrictions to be followed

The reason, Vitacco mentioned, was because the Deacon Eldred House came with construction  restrictions. In 1997, The Thornton Burgess Museum was looking to restore  the building  and applied for  grant funding from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund , resulting in a  restrictions that pertain to both the  exterior and interior of the home. From that point on, any renovation  or even restoration would be overseen from the Massachusetts Historic Commission .  

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Navigating Ma Historical Commission standards isn’t easy, Vitacco said.

“To meet that (historical renovation) threshold, is extremely expensive, inches he said. “The repair standards actually became the barrier to selling the building for quite a long time. ”

In the latest attempt to sell the house, the town of Sandwich launched a marketing campaign, and the sale attracted roughly 100 restoration experts through all over the country, said Vitacco.

Ultimately, though, three bids were submitted  and  because of its experience with antique houses, and its ability to navigate  Massachusetts Historical Commission standards, the home was sold to Full Circle Homes. The construction and design firm has completed roughly  25 historic property renovations, sales plus repositions in the last five  years, according to its website, including an antique home in West Barnstable.  

“To their credit,   Full Circle did receive approval through the MHC, and in a nutshell, they said OK, good, you are approved for what you want to do with the house, ” Vitacco said.  

Partners have own HGTV show

While Macdonald and Lemieux can’t speak about  specific restoration projects at the house until following the Deacon Eldred  House episode airs on HGTV, the city of Sandwich conducted a full historical and structural assessment of the entire property — both the building and grounds — in 2015.   The budget, for a proper recovery, was estimated at approximately $880, 000, according to bid documents.

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While the house was sold for $100, 000 —  a relatively low price in today’s real estate market — the price was fair, when the town took restoration costs into account, Vitacco said.  

“Our  prime consideration was that the particular winning applicants had to rehab the home and have the capital to put a team together to do it, ” he said. “We recognized the fact that they would have to sink serious dough into the home. ”

While the work can be overwhelming at times, the crew has been executing restoration efforts for roughly seven  years, when Macdonald and Lemieux moved to Plympton. When they arrived, there were a bundle of antique homes in the area that were distressed. Still working day jobs, the couple began working on the homes  as a hobby.  

Over time, they built a reliable and knowledgeable team, and business flourished from there, Macdonald said.  

“We just kept going. We  did a dozen houses in town. And we do a lot for clients now as well, ” she stated.  

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HGTVs  “Houses With History” opportunity came about through a connection with Jonathan Knight — a member of the 1990s boy band New Kids on the Block . Knight, who has his own HGTV show “Farmhouse Fixer” , came to see one of their home restorations and recommended the couple to HGTV producers for a series.

“He came to see one of our houses and he has been amazed by it, ” the girl said. “We started with a sizzle reel, and it took a few years for it all to come to fruition. We didn’t think it would actually happen but here we are. ”

Macdonald, that drafts the plans for each home they restore, also gives credit to her group.  

“Rich is amazing at carpentry. We have another guy that’s amazing at stairs, a few guys that are amazing tilers, plasterers — everyone is awesome, ” she said. “We have highly skilled staff. inch

Reusing, saving building materials

Throughout the years, her team has also become masters associated with saving  and reusing materials.

“We restore every window, every door, as much as we can on the house so it has an impact, ” she mentioned. “We love everything antique. ”

In addition to the multiple restorations the team is currently working on, Full Group Homes also has a store  called the Mayflower Mercantile   inside Plympton, where Macdonald plus Lemieux sell  antiques and locally made goods.   The store was originally a twin chimney colonial, originally built for a bride-to-be within 1827, according to their website .

“We have a lot of vendors that will live in a 10-mile radius – and we sell everything from hot sauce to baskets  to candles, ” the lady said.

In the fall, the couple will even host a fair in the home’s adjacent hayfield where roughly 100 antique vendors,   local craftsman, and food trucks will gather.

“That’s in October and we will  celebrate the year with that, ” she said.  

Happy to work on such a special home

While they are keeping the Deacon Eldred House restoration projects  under their hat  — for now —  in their bid application, Macdonald and Lemieux’s combined  statement said they intend to transform the property back to the residential home.

“Honoring  the past, present, plus future, for both short- and long-term rental potential, ” the statement stated. “We intend  to find opportunities to share this historic property with the town residents and help showcase the amazing history and rich story that is the town of Sandwich. inches

“Ultimately we have a passion for old houses, ”  said Macdonald. “And it’s surreal to be able to work on this house. It’s a super special spot for us. ”