READFIELD – This property, the Nathaniel Thomas home, beautifully demonstrates that there is an art to restoring, furnishing, decorating and modernizing a vintage farmhouse.

Sitting atop Kents Hill not far from the prep school, and overlooking Torsey Lake from a lovely 5.62-acre lot whose fenced pasture includes an 18-tree heirloom-apple orchard, the Thomas farm dates back to 1790. A decade ago, over a period of more than two years, the home was down-to-the-studs transformed into a marvel of authentic Colonial character, and thoroughly modernized (in terms of contemporary comfort).

The center-chimney home’s fireplaces rest upon a massive, 18-foot-by-18-foot base of rock, which narrows to 6 by 6 at the top. There are six brick  fireplaces (two up, four down,) five of which are wood-burning-working; those in the “great room” and the dining room, aka the original “keeping room,” have beehive ovens, and the larger fireplace has been used for cooking.

Despite its historical accuracy, the property is no museum, but a lived-in, cherished home, wonderfully comfortable on the coldest winter day thanks to great efficiency (new windows, six heating zones, Defiant wood stove wafting warmth in the kitchen, etc.) The center chimney is truly the the home’s heart. (The behind-the-front-staircase space around it, which with its hooks has been enclosed, once served as the smokehouse.) 

Each room features nooks, crannies, cubbies and built-ins. Indian shutters lend privacy; paint colors, such as the “linen” throughout the upstairs, are from Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts.

The “make-do” mindset – as in, make use of whatever materials are ready to hand, as our ancestors did – is seen in touches such as the spoke-wheel light fixture and the small mirror and surround (originally a child-size one-seater) in the more rough-hewn of the upstairs baths, whose soaking tub is enclosed behind a broad-boarded shed door.

Similar ingenuity appears in the hand stenciling, and the custom baseboards, crafted of wood; and the cool “cage bar” in the dining section of the great room, where drop-downs can enclose the serving hatch, to protect the server. (The home is said to have once been a tavern, after all.)

The 2,876-square-foot home at 1259 Main St., Readfield, is listed by Jean Kirkpatrick of Coldwell Banker Rizzo Mattson Realtors in Augusta, and is being shown by appointment.

For more information or to arrange a private viewing, please contact Jean at 441-5611 or at jean@jeankirkpatrick.com

Produced by the Marketing Department of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, the Home of the Week is provided at no cost.

Photos by Melanie Sochan, staff photographer.

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