A Queen Anne Victorian Fixer-Upper in Barre, Vermont

by Amanda Davis

Mad Men returns on Sunday! So why am I featuring a fixer-upper in Vermont, you may wonder? Fans of the show will know that one of Sterling Cooper & Partners’ top account executives is good ol’ Ken Cosgrove, native son of Burlington, Vermont. Poor Ken had a bit of a rough 1968, so I thought we’d go back to his roots today with a drive about 45 minutes southeast to the city of Barre. This hardy Queen Anne beauty at 33 Maple Avenue has seen better days herself, but overall she seems to be in good condition. Hopefully just a few touch-ups to go here and there!
The listing dates the 3-bedroom, 3-bath home to 1895. Such a grand home for just $59,900! Don’t you just love the details on this facade? I’m drawn right away to that amazing curved porch, which pairs perfectly with the 3-story rounded bay. I also love that the porch still has its slender columns (it’s always so sad when old porches are just barely being held up by 2 x 4s).

Here are a couple wonderful (if a little blurry) shots of the facade where you get a better view of the two-story box bay windows complete with diamond-pane transoms! My heart positively sings when I see original windows and entryways preserved.
The top floor of the rounded-bay seems to be missing one stained glass diamond-pane window, but at least there are two other beauties remaining if a future homeowner wanted to install a replication. One of the listing photos shows this same window type lighting a bathroom. While I don’t believe the bathroom is located here, the photo does give you a nice detail shot of the window.
Here’s another look inside, which gives a more colorful view of that stained glass transom.
I’m not sure where the room pictured below is located, but I absolutely love the wainscoting, pilasters, window casings, and what appear to be historic hardwood floors. It all feels so ideal for a dining room. With some nice color contrasts and wood stains, I know this would be a wonderfully cozy space for a Thanksgiving meal (or for discussing the latest Mad Men episode).
As great as this old house already is, I feel like I can’t do it justice without mentioning this gorgeous mantel. Just look at that incredible detail!
I love the inset mirrors you so often see over Victorian mantels, which led me to wonder about their origins. In searching for an explanation, I came across this somewhat comical article from 1917 by Helen Dean Bogan about what makes a bad mantel: “inset mirrors are always to be deprecated.” Well, Ms. Bogan, with all due respect, over a century has passed and I couldn’t appreciate them more!
Ready to roll up your sleeves? Check out the full listing.

Amanda is an historic preservationist living in New York City with a particular fondness for fixer-uppers. She can be spotted checking out quirky historic details here, there, and everywhere in her handmade dresses. Every time Amanda sees a cozy room with large windows and beautiful built-ins she can’t help but imagine her very own sewing nook with oldies music playing in the background.



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