Couple moves across the country to live in historic New Ipswich home

  • Kim Black and Mitch Gluck in front of their blue door.

  • The dining room. —STAFF PHOTO BY ROWAN WILSON

  • The stone wall in front of the house. —STAFF PHOTO BY ROWAN WILSON

  • Kim Black’s and Mitch Gluck’s granddaughter in her glow-in-the-dark closet. —STAFF PHOTO BY ROWAN WILSON

  • One of Kim Black’s favorite paintings is hanging in the living room. —STAFF PHOTO BY ROWAN WILSON

  • The back porches. —STAFF PHOTO BY ROWAN WILSON

  • A sitting area behind the house. —STAFF PHOTO BY ROWAN WILSON

  • Birdhouses in the backyard garden. —STAFF PHOTO BY ROWAN WILSON

  • A headboard made of an antique spool rack. —STAFF PHOTO BY ROWAN WILSON

  • The Cape section of the house was built in 1810. Rowan Wilson photos / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Hammy the dog sits in the living room.

  • The pool is pictured in the backyard of the New Ipswich home.

  • One of the bold blue doors opens to the kitchen.

  • The old well on the side of the house. —STAFF PHOTO BY ROWAN WILSON

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 8/8/2022 4:04:16 PM
Modified: 8/8/2022 4:00:58 PM

In 2019, Kim Black and her husband Mitch Gluck moved across the country, from San Diego to New Ipswich.

Black grew up on the East Coast and had been missing it.

“I really wanted to come back to seasons and rural living,” she said, but “for Mitch, he landed on a different planet.”

Gluck grew up in Los Angeles and had spent most of his life in cities much larger than New Ipswich. It has been a big adjustment.

“Living in the city, you can be among thousands of people on the street and no one will look at you,” Gluck said. “The first thing I noticed here is everyone that passed you would wave.”

Black explained, “New Ipswich is like a township. This is Smithville. You get to know your immediate neighbors, people are friendly but mind their own business.”

Black grew up in an old house and had fond memories of the creaking boards and historic woodwork. Gluck didn’t grow up in a house like that, but “what we both wanted was uniqueness and character,” he said.

The couple had planned to move into the house and spend their retirement traveling. But then, in 2020, they found themselves confined to New Ipswich in the midst of a global pandemic.

Because of this, “we put more effort into the house than we might have,” said Black. “The house needed some TLC. It wasn’t in bad shape, it just needed some updating.”

Black is an artist and was focussed on finding a balance between historic and modern. The oldest part of the home, the Cape, was built in 1810.

“What we’ve tried to do is acknowledge the history of the home but also be pragmatic about space,” she said.

They painted the interior and exterior, updated bathrooms and used color to tie the house together. Gluck said Black “has a fantastic eye for color, space, everything. Coming in here, she saw this as a canvas, saw it from a more artistic point of view.”

The rooms are mostly painted neutral tones. With the windows open and a breeze blowing through, the space felt light, bright and uncluttered. Art is hung throughout the house, including whimsical paintings and sculptures. Black found an antique spool rack and used it to create a backboard for their bed.

Black decided to paint all the outside doors a deep and vibrant blue to add a pop of color to the white clapboard home. The neighbor across the street was inspired and soon his door was painted a warm yellow.

The house is 145 feet long. The old Cape on the left connects to a carriage house that connects to a barn. It all flows together, but it is clear where the sections start and end. A fire burned down the barn and most of the house in the late 1990s. Fortunately, the oldest part was saved, and the rest was rebuilt “all pretty much in the same place as the original structures,” Black said.

Now the home holds three generations. Black’s and Gluck’s daughter, her husband and their daughter moved in after leaving Texas.

“They decided there wasn’t anything holding them there,” Gluck explained.

“We’re lucky that the house can accommodate all of us,” Black said. The sections are split up in a way that allows private spaces for everyone. The kitchen acts as a central meeting place.

Black’s mother and stepfather also recently moved to the area. Gluck and Black feel very fortunate to have their family so close now.

Outside, they have had to do a lot of landscaping to clear out some of the trees that had popped up all over the property. Insurance required that they build a fence around the inground pool, and they have been working to open up the space around the old stone wall in the front.

There’s an old well a little ways off the Cape side of the house. Last year Black said it was full of water. This year she said it’s nearly at the bottom. It has been a dry summer.

Black and Gluck haven’t gotten back to traveling, and knew they wanted to do do volunteer work. She cleans gravestones, works at a draft horse rehabilitation center and is a member of the New Ipswich Historical Society. Gluck is also part of the historical society and budget adviser for Mascenic and the town.

“We really made an effort to go find things to do,” he said. “We were busy professionals for years.”

They have also spent time trying to learn as much as they can about the history of the home. Black went to the recorder’s office in Nashua to look at old deeds, and they have been able to piece together past owners and dates. In the back of their property, they found chunks of foundation and pieces of metal. They learned that there used to be a mill there.

Black and Gluck have created a timeline of owners. They’ve learned that Cummings Fletcher, a carpenter and builder, most likely built the house. Based on old deeds, Black and Gluck are the 13th owners since Fletcher, more than 200 years later.

“There were a number of people here and the property had different uses over time,” said Black, “many different iterations and families.”

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