When we first purchased the farmhouse property in 2010, it came part and parcel with an aging and tired 1880s barn. Painted on two boards on a wall in the main bay are the words, "G.M. Ballou, Oct. 20th, 1883." As one of the town's early families, we suspect the Ballous were the original owners of the farm.
The Ballous were prominent New England Universalists. Hosea Ballou II became the first president of Tufts University. His uncle, Hosea Ballou was born here in Richmond, New Hampshire. He founded and edited The Universalist Magazine and The Universalist Expositor. While there seem to be extensive records online regarding the family and its descendants in Richmond, we're having some difficulty identifying the person whose name is represented in the barn. Time for a visit to the town archives! We'll be sure to post an update when we learn more.
The house and it's "twin" across the street are reported to have been built by two brothers. Over the years, much of the once expansive farm was divided up and sold off. Stone walls still crisscross the properties, and we often find treasures big and small from yesteryear- including a very old, wood framed car that has practically become part of the landscape.
Over the last six years. we've welcomed contractors of companies big and small to see the barn and help us figure out how to save it. Sadly, each noted the significant damage to sills and the work that would need to be done to shore up the original granite foundation. Our dreams of restoring the barn started to slip away. Knowing that the barn would likely have to come down, we started to think about what a new structure might mean for our work at Little Farmhouse Flowers. It will be hard to let go, but ultimately, we know that the new, safe workspace will be enjoyed by our family, friends, and customers for years to come.
We hired JL Purcell Architects of nearby Peterborough, New Hampshire to bring their expertise in historical properties and restorations to our project. They knew that the new structure needed to speak to the character of an 1880's New England barn, while meeting some tricky town ordinances regarding accessory structures. It also needed to incorporate two studios, a workshop, and a handicap accessible apartment for an older family member into roughly the same square footage as the current 20x40 footprint.
As an accessory building in Richmond, the new "barn" will need to be physically connected to the main farmhouse. We have our hearts set on a 30-foot pergola-covered walkway. Imagine the sweet peas and climbing roses we could train up over that?! What do you think?
The two-floor design has a dedicated studio space adjacent to the ground floor apartment for my sculptor father-in-law, a ground floor workshop for gardening and mowing equipment, and a second floor space with a wide dormer of north-facing windows for a floral design studio. I can't wait to get into a new light-filled creative space.
We look forward to sharing more news of the new barn's progress with you this spring as we enter the next exciting phase of the process!