Making a home in a forgotten hardware store.

The 25th Anniversary Kitchen Tour to benefit The Music Hall is this coming Saturday, from 10 am to 4 pm. More on tickets and details later. For now, I want to zero in on a home that you won’t believe.

Ladd street outsideRemember Peavey’s Hardware?  Remember how sorry so many were when the owner announced in 2004 he was going out of business?  Among other things, it fell victim to the eruption of big-box stores.  And just like that, a tradition went by the wayside.

But in 2013, a man who loves Portsmouth, a man who gets and respects Portsmouth, was standing amid the dust and grime of the upper floors of the once thriving hardware enterprise. He knew he was home.

And what a home he has created. It’s 3,700 amazingly restored square feet on two stories and a 600-square-foot roof deck to boot. The owner has a passion for cooking, so the kitchen had to be professional grade and include a wood-burning pizza oven. This kitchen exceeds all standards. From the Pietra Cardosa schist granite countertops to the smart marriage of woods and greys and stainless, this kitchen is contemporary even as it – and the rest of the home – pay homage to the building’s and the city’s past. (By the way, once you’re done oohing and aahing at the kitchen, look to the stairway.  Look up. It’s the huge cast iron flywheel that was used to haul merchandise in the days gone by.  Another unbelievable element in an unbelievable Portsmouth residence.)  This Ladd Street home is a must-see stop on this year’s tour.

Ladd Street A terrific thing about this year’s tour is that it is wonderfully walkable. It took me about 3,400 steps to go from home to remarkable home in a test run. The homes are nicely spaced around Portsmouth. Maps will be available on the day of the tour, and you can start anywhere you want. Thinking ahead about parking?  Visit for some helpful tips.

Tickets for the Kitchen Tour are available at The Music Hall’s box office (28 Chestnut Street) or you can go online at  You also can call the theater at 603-436-2400. Tickets also will be available the day of the tour, at the box office, starting at 9 am. 

Don’t forget, folks, we’ve published a special commemorative cookbook this year to celebrate the tour’s silver anniversary. The 25th Anniversary Kitchen Tour Cookbook is only $15 and is chock full of great recipes submitted by staff, volunteers and friends of The Music Hall. What a great Mother’s Day gift!

Get your tickets now. Get ready to enjoy 10 great kitchens, each special in its own right. And if you thought you’d never be inside the Peavey’s building again, what a treat awaits you.