PLYMPTON (CBS) — It Happens Here, in Plympton. The rural town got it’s first traffic light in 2008, and is the only place named “Plympton” in all of the United States. At 14.8 square miles, it’s the smallest town in southeastern Massachusetts.
“We take old houses seriously in town,” said John Wilhelmsen, chair of the Plympton Historical Commission.
Wilhelmsen is also the owner of the Reverend Ezra Sampson House, a 1776 timber frame home on Plympton’s town green.
“Old homes in really good condition take a special buyer,” he said. “An old home in rough condition takes an even more special buyer.”
That’s where Plympton residents Jenny Macdonald and Mike Lemieux come in. The couple left their jobs in Boston’s Financial District to restore antique homes. Their love and passion for not only homes but each other, helped create the business they co-own today.
“Full Circle Homes got started when Jenny and I started dating and we had come full circle. My mom said ‘It’s amazing it took you guys so long to come together, wouldn’t that be a nice name for a business?’” Lemieux explained.
The couple has renovated about 25 homes on the South Shore and a dozen in Plympton alone, taking each one from dreary to dreamy.
“You feel it in the house. It smells really bad. Usually, it’s falling apart, abandoned, hasn’t been lived in for years. The house feels sad and deserted,” Macdonald said. “As you start to lift everything up and restore everything, it starts to get a little brighter and sunnier. When someone moves in and you see lights on in the window it’s like ‘Wow, there’s life in the house again.’”
Things really came full circle for Macdonald during one of their restorations, the Black Walnut House.
“It was a barn to the Captain Hayward House which was coincidentally my family,” she said. “Ten generations back they moved from Bridgewater and ran a 275-acre farm. I had no idea until about year two of owning the house.”
The home, which is currently available to rent on Airbnb, is filled with carefully crafted beams, custom black walnut furniture and thoughtful family heirlooms.
“My grandmother’s light hangs in the window, and that was hung over her table for 70 years, something like that. It makes me a little emotional,” Macdonald said.
We also got a sneak peak at the couple’s latest project, an 1840’s home in the center of town that will be transformed by early summer.
“Many times we don’t know the full history until we get into it or open up a wall and you discover artifacts and you gather those stories. We then put that back into the house, so that story continues,” Lemieux said.
“Sometimes you can’t save everything,” Wilhelmsen said. “For the houses that you can save, it’s important to be able to have someone like Jenny and Full Circle Homes to be able to see that it’s going to take some work and it’s going to be a hard thing to get done, but it can be done.”
Full Circle Homes also does a town open house at the completion of every project and invites everybody to come. In fact, they tell buyers it’s a mandatory part of the home sale. They say it connects the community, inspires people to do their own renovations and sometimes, they end up learning more about the history of the property.