In 2015, Pickering House was on the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance’s “Seven to Save” list of endangered historic properties. Fast forward two years and the property was one of the stops on the organization’s walking tour of historic landmarks in Wolfeboro. The walking tour was part of this year’s Seven to Save presentation, which took place on October 27 at Wolfeboro’s Town Hall.
It was great to have a chance to speak with those attending. While walking around the property, we were able to highlight particular aspects of our renovation including:
- The new foundation under the Barn (replacing the original piers the barn sat on)
- New foundation walls added to the rear of the house (where there had been none!)
- Structural upgrades to floors, walls, ceilings and roofs Window replacements as well as the eight windows we’ve restored
- Update on the fence restoration
Lots of good questions were asked. Many of the questions related to why certain decisions were made along the way. We had the opportunity to provide details about the condition that the building was in when we purchased it in February 2016 and all the work that needed to be done. We also talked about the challenges of working with an old building while addressing today's current building codes and safety requirements.
Renovating a historic structure – especially when it will not be a private home – requires a lot of compromise and the willingness to embrace commonsense. There is quite a process involved with approvals.
When we purchased Pickering House, we immediately hired experts to conduct the historical research necessary to receive designations that the property is “historically significant” and eligible for the National Historic Register. Once these designations were in place, we were then able to meet with the town to review our plans.
As true throughout the state, once buildings have been officially designated as “historic” and qualify for the Historic National Register, each town then has the ability to waive various elements of code requirements that are difficult to achieve in such an old building. The goal is to maintain the safety of the property while balancing modern requirements with the integrity of a historic structure that was built well before these requirements and codes were in place.
Thanks to our incredible team of consulting structural engineers, HVAC specialists, insulation / sound mitigation specialists and more, a tremendous amount of work has been done to ensure that this property will continue to be a focal point in the Wolfeboro community for generations to come.