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House For Sale: Winchester, Massachusetts

On the third floor are Hillary’s office, a playroom, and a large, loftlike room in one corner of which was a professional set of drums. “Great way to relieve tension,” David explained with a smile.

A couple minutes later, crouching under a couple of umbrellas, we scooted across lawns, past the tree house and the chickens’ house, to David’s truly fabulous studio (reborn from the old barn), which also includes a workshop and garage. The studio part, with solid windows across the entire front, has roughly 600 square feet of uninterrupted space beneath a 13-foot-high cathedral ceiling. In the back is a bathroom and kitchenette. We were tempted to go out a back door to climb the tower, but with the sides and third floor (top) of it completely open to the elements, we decided, well, maybe another time.

Back in the main house a bit later, preparing to leave, we had to know why they had decided to sell. (They’re asking $1,295,000.) “The lure of the rural landscape has always been pulling at us,” replied Hillary, “and now that we no longer need to commute into Boston, we are finally giving in to it.” She said that when the opportunity came along to buy 44 acres of land in northern Vermont, where they plan to build a zero-energy home, they couldn’t resist. “Ironically,” David added, “exactly the same thing that led us to this property has also now taken us away.”

So it is that Winchester’s Johnson/Thompson House, as it is known to local historians — the oldest house in town, on land that, although shrunken, hasn’t changed much in more than 250 years — is now ready to take on its third family since 1711. And, you know, that was exactly 21 years before George Washington was born.

For more details, contact Nancy O’Herron at Coldwell Banker, 3 Church St., Winchester, MA. 781-729-7290;

Updated Tuesday, April 10th, 2007
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