Built for newlyweds in 1785, the house was a post-Revolutionary War take on today's starter home, a cozy place built by family and friends for a couple to begin life together and then, when fortunes allowed, expand or move on. "Move on" is, in essence, what the engineer who inspected the house prior to Brooks’s closing more than 200 years later advised him to do. "Of the thirty or forty 18th-century houses I looked at in my search, this one was authentic," says Brooks, a collector of antiques with a passion for old houses. "And with it came the numerous problems inherent with authenticity."
Its low ceiling, exposed oak beams, and wood-burning fireplace are the cozy hallmarks of the original 18th-century gathering room. The walls were skim-coated, then painted with brushes. The stenciling is old; the current homeowner had the pattern replicated on the opposite wall.