Save This House: This Seventeenth-Century Reproduction Comes Straight From Colonial New England

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Phil Hauser has built a 3,000 square foot dream home for his family in the Foster countryside using traditional craftsmanship.
This guest house is an exact reproduction of the historic Kingsnorth-Starr house in Guilford, Connecticut. Photo by Alan Chopy/Chopy Media.

If you’ve ever wanted to live in a historic home – minus the historic levels of maintenance and repair – then you’ll love our latest episode of Save this House.

This four-bedroom, two-bathroom home just off Old Plainfield Pike in Foster is a replica of the circa 1695 Kingsnorth-Starr (also known as Comfort Starr) home in Guilford, Connecticut. Phil Hauser, who builds frame houses for a living, saw the original house in a magazine and fell in love with it.

He drew up plans – there were no original plans to borrow – and built the house himself plank by plank, using trees from his family’s land and planning them by hand. He moved into the house with his wife, Susan, and their three children in 2007. But now the children have grown up and the couple are looking to downsize, albeit somewhat reluctantly in Phil’s case.

“Hopefully it will take a long time to sell,” he laughs. “I hope it will take ten years.”

The 3,000 square foot home sits high on a hill, with a two-story garage and barn on six acres of land. The sturdy home offers the best of both worlds: the beautiful craftsmanship and detailing of an old American home with a structurally sound design and modern conveniences like radiant floor heating.

He planed each oak beam by hand to give it an old-fashioned look. The job took him weeks. Planing them in his sawmill would have taken days.

But Phil isn’t the kind of person who believes in shortcuts. He even hand-nailed the wide-plank oak parquet boards, using nails made to look like those from the 17th century, and found original windows from old buildings, building the frames to fit.

“You’re not going to find another one like this,” he said. Of all the houses he built, this is his favorite.

A central fireplace contains four fireplaces – three on the first floor and one upstairs. The one in the kitchen has a built-in fire pit that makes wicked pizza. The kitchen, in fact, is the only room that differs from the original: Phil added a second floor, making room for another bedroom and bathroom on the second floor.

The house is close to the Scituate Reservoir and secluded enough to hear the owls screeching back and forth at night. They also used to hear Common Nighthawks, but they haven’t been around for a few years.

Although Phil has mixed feelings about letting the house go, he hopes the next owner will love and appreciate the house – and all the love and elbow grease that has gone into it – just as much as he and his family.

Contact Hi Homes at 536-9137 or [email protected] if you want more details about the house.

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