SHIRLEY — When Doreen Manning saw the classic colonial home at 192 Center Road seven years ago, it was love at first sight.
An antique buff with a penchant for old houses, she needed space for her business, elbow room for a young and growing family and comfort food for a centuries-old soul. She’d found it all; a dream come true, she said.
With sturdy post-and-beam construction, family-friendly style and pristine period detail, the gracious old house, whose pedigree dates to 1795, sits on an acre in the historic town common. Manning said it’s perfect for her small clan, which includes her husband, four children, a big friendly dog and farm animals.
The house has original pine floors that slant gently in spots, detailed woodwork and two staircases, one with hand-painted flower borders signed by the artist. Other period perks include Shaker-style built-ins, an inviting country kitchen, a sunny dining room with patterned wallpaper, and a cozy front parlor Manning calls “the Christmas room.” These three first-floor rooms and two of five bedrooms upstairs have fireplaces. Four of them work, she said.
Manning is founder, owner and editor of “The Beat,” an arts magazine that recently produced its final issue after eight years in business. After moving here, she set up an office in an anteroom off the back hall, while her husband created a woodworker’s shop in the four-story barn, including 200-amp electric service. Outside, a goat, sheep and several chickens live in fenced pastures and sheds in the back yard. Two rabbits share a hutch.
Manning led visitors through her yard filled with flowering fruit trees, neat walkways, vegetable garden, lush grass, shady nooks and sunny spaces galore. An iron dinner bell atop a tall post by the back door clangs like a church bell.
Most of the 15 rooms in the home are in the same move-in condition that former owner Kay Mitchell left them in. Mitchell, who lived in the house for 75 years, kept the place in fine shape, inside and out. She even labeled the storm windows for seasonal storage.
There is a list of items a potential buyer might want to note: Lines are straight and the roof looks solid, as does the fieldstone foundation, but some roof shingles on the (south?) side look a tad tired; eaves and soffits may need work; and there are patches on a gable where the exterior paint could use a touch-up.
All things considered, there’s not much for a handyman to do, though. Manning says that besides the barn, the only major makeover her husband tackled was the master bath, which blends old-fashioned features with nifty new fixtures.
The property is listed for sale with Keystone Properties in Shirley for $519,000. The agent is Cathy Keady. For more information or a showing, call her at (978) 425-9772.
There is an open house planned for Sunday June 24 from 1-3 p.m.