House and Home: Antique home in Hancock is a dream come true

The solarium looking into the kitchen. 

The solarium looking into the kitchen.  COURTESY PHOTO BY SHELDON PENNOYER ARCHITECTS

Looking into the solarium from the kitchen, with views of the orchard. 

Looking into the solarium from the kitchen, with views of the orchard.  COURTESY PHOTO BY SHELDON PENNOYER ARCHITECTS

The renovated barn and inground heated pool. 

The renovated barn and inground heated pool.  COURTESY PHOTO BY SHELDON PENNOYER ARCHITECTS

The south-facing formal entryway of Monique and Barry Tanner’s home in Hancock.

The south-facing formal entryway of Monique and Barry Tanner’s home in Hancock. COURTESY PHOTO BY SHELDON PENNOYER ARCHITECTS

A view of the kitchen. 

A view of the kitchen.  COURTESY PHOTO BY SHELDON PENNOYER ARCHITECTS

A formal sitting room in the original front section of the home. 

A formal sitting room in the original front section of the home.  COURTESY PHOTO BY SHELDON PENNOYER ARCHITECTS

Exterior rear view from the orchard, including the solarium, right. 

Exterior rear view from the orchard, including the solarium, right.  COURTESY PHOTO BY SHELDON PENNOYER ARCHITECTS

The Tanner home prior to renovation. 

The Tanner home prior to renovation.  COURTESY PHOTO BY MONIQUE TANNER

The formal front entrance of the Tanner home. 

The formal front entrance of the Tanner home.  COURTESY PHOTO BY MONIQUE TANNER

By JESSECA TIMMONS

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript 

Published: 02-16-2024 9:16 AM

Modified: 02-23-2024 10:24 AM


After many years living of in different parts of the country, Monique and Barry Tanner had always wanted to come back to New England, but renovating an antique home in the northeast corner of Hancock has exceeded their wildest expectations.

“I have to pinch myself,” Monique Tanner said. “It’s like a dream come true.”

Both Tanners grew up in New England, Monique in Jaffrey and Rindge, and Barry on a dairy farm in Warren, Conn. 

“New England just gets in your blood,” Monique said. “This region really is like Currier and Ives. It’s very special. Driving around, it probably didn’t look that different 100 years ago; you can just picture what it was like back then.” 

For 21  years, the Tanners lived in Bucks County, Pa., an area known for its historic homes and farmland. Over the years, the region began to change, with development closing in on rural views, and the Tanners decided to move back to the Monadnock region to be closer to Monique’s family. The couple chose Hancock, where they lived in a historic home in the center of town for two years.

“I always loved Hancock. I remember dining at the Hancock Inn as a child,” Monique recalled. “We enjoyed living in the village, but then we saw a brochure for this property, and we drove up, and that was it. As soon as I saw it, I had a vision for an English-manor style house. The setting, the bones of the house – it was all perfect.”

The 1821 Federal-style brick home is surrounded by flat lawns, apple orchards and forest. The 105 acres of woods and meadows that make up the property are in a private conservation easement with the Harris Center for Conservation Education. The land includes nearby beaver ponds. 

“We just love seeing all the nature. Last summer, a moose walked through! The deer, the birds, even the coyotes – it’s wonderful, and it’s just so quiet, so peaceful,” Monique said. 

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Monique knew she did not want to significantly alter the footprint of the house, other than to widen the kitchen and family room area, adding a solarium and butler’s pantry. The front of the house, which faces south and catches afternoon sun, retains the original floor plan, with two rooms up and two rooms down around the main staircase. The original brick fireplaces now have propane inserts. 

The renovation project, completed by architect Sheldon Pennoyer and general contractor Tim Groesbeck, took two years from start to finish. The Tanners stayed in their Hancock Center home until the project was complete.

“Everyone we worked with was absolutely wonderful,” Monique said. 

Monique especially credits local cabinet makers Woody Huntington and Cam Dexter for creating the custom cabinetry and built-ins throughout the house. Monique, who is passionate about interior design, was the interior designer for the project. The Tanners collect art, and the home’s walls are lined with portraits, landscapes and rural scenes. The entire home has a neutral palette.

“I’m a child of the sixties and seventies, so I think I was traumatized by the crazy color schemes back then,” Monique said with a laugh. “I had the blue room, my brother had the green room, my sister had the pink room! So, I love neutrals.”

The two front rooms in the original part of the house have wallpaper created from murals by artist Susan Harter. Monique read an article about Harter in a design magazine and tracked her down to create the custom grisaille wall coverings for the front parlors. Harter’s monochrome landscape designs fit with the Tanner’s muted color scheme. 

Monique pointed out that they kept the original windows. Upstairs, two large guest bedrooms look out on the lawn to the south. One guest bath has a freestanding polished nickel clawfoot Penhaglion bathtub,  which came from  St. Petersburg, Fla.

“That was very heavy,” Monique said with a laugh. “We probably could not get it out of the door now.” 

The back wing of the house includes the white marble kitchen, a casual dining area, sitting areas, Barry’s office, a smaller entry foyer and a butler’s pantry. Monique’s favorite room is the solarium, which extends out into the lawn on the northwest side of the home and houses a baby grand piano. Although the exterior of the back wing was originally clapboard, Monique wanted the whole house to be brick, more in the style of an English manor, so Groesbeck sourced antique brick consistent with the Federal era of the house. Jared Holombo of JH Masonry in Rindge completed the brick work. The roofline was altered to give the house more of a manor house feeling, and the Tanners also added a front porch and a new back staircase.  

Outside, the Tanners renovated the original post-and-beam barn into a fully finished recreation and guest space, with a pool table, gas fireplace, full bath and a loft space with beds. They also added a heated pool between the house and the barn, and a sauna. 

Other contractors who worked on the project include Matthew Cunningham of Matthew Cunningham Landscape and Design of Stoneham, Mass., Deb and Chris Shelley of Shelley Landscaping and Masonry in Jaffrey and George Lohmiller and Anthony Guadagno of Our Town Landscaping in Hancock, who created the patios and gardens.

The Tanners’ children, grandchildren and extended family, who are scattered around the country, all love coming to visit the new home. 

“For us, this is coming home,” Monique said. “It’s just magical.”