Published: October 22, 2019
Review and Photos by Greg Smith
WALPOLE, N.H. – It was sunny and warm on a picturesque autumn day along the border of Vermont and New Hampshire as dealers Stephen Corrigan and Douglas Jackman opened their gallery to the visitors of Vermont Antiques Week. The open house ran October 2-5, and even though the dealers would set up on the 6th at the week’s finale with Antiques in Vermont, formerly the Vermont Picker’s Market, the gallery was indeed where the good stuff was hiding.
As Corrigan sat on a sofa and I in the corresponding wingchair on the second level of the historic three-story 1770 colonial, Jackman and their dog Charlie would regularly spring to their feet, repel down the period staircase, and greet visitors at the heavy, latched front door of their home. A gracious quality of historic-homes-turned-antiques-showrooms is that they always feel welcoming. The beds are made and the chairs are plenty.
Corrigan and Jackman were relieved when they finished renovations on the Bookseller Road home in 2012. It is the second oldest home in the town of Walpole. The road was named for the inhabitants of the home, who, of course, sold books. “The home was full of them,” Corrigan said, noting regrettably that none of them were as valuable as they weighed. And the walls, every wall in the home, was lined with bookshelves. Corrigan told the story of how he found it in the real estate listings and convinced Jackman, under the guise of curiosity, to “just go and take a look.”
It needed a significant amount of work. Two other buyers had looked and run away, one would not even step inside. Stephen walked in and said he had to have it. As we sat and talked about the transaction in the living room, the phrase “they’re going to knock it down,” was said more than once – a despair historic homes in towns across New England face every single week.
Though this one has a happy ending. The home as it now stands is a testament to the value of historic preservation. The horsehair and sand used in the plaster was sourced locally. The stonework along the first-floor back wall, which fortifies it against an embankment, creates a powerful visual with the lights shining down on it. The wide plank floors are unfinished and perfect. The many fireplaces still work and the wall paneling with the original colors are found in some rooms of the home. And it’s loaded with quality antiques – from early American furniture to micro-collections within the dealer’s inventory that can only be seen in the showroom.
Corrigan and Jackman said they had a good turnout at the open house, more came than they had anticipated, and they sold some good things to clients. They enjoy opening up the gallery to visitors whenever they can and the endeavor proved worthwhile.
It was nearing 3:30 pm when one visitor caught Stephen and asked when the open house would end. Stephen said, “4ish,” and then paused for a beat. “Or whenever, just before sundown.”
And always by appointment.
Stephen-Douglas Antiques can be reached at 603-903-5023.
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