November 30, 2023

Home Buying

The home was originally built as a water tank for a mansion. Now it holds knights in shining armor.

The home at 16 Birchwood Place in Dover, N.H., includes a circular bar on the lower level. Amanda Nye

It may look like a typical suburban Dover, N.H., street, but there are secrets at 16 Birchwood Place.

Set back from the street beside a graveyard, the three-bed, 2.5-bath home is steeped in history and unique details, including a gargoyle-topped garage and a circular structure. Measuring 2,746 square feet and boasting a 50-foot diameter, the property was built in 1864 as a water tank for the mansion that belonged to Jonathan Sawyer, who came to wealth during the Civil War making wool for the Union Army. (The square footage does not include 1,963 of finished living space in the basement.)

. – Amanda Nye

Now it’s largely known in the area as the “Round House,” and was reportedly converted into a private residence during the 1970s, said Matt Flathers of the Bean Group, who has the listing. It sits on 0.55 of an acre.

Lushly landscaped and fenced in, the property features granite steps and a stamped-concrete walkway that lead up to the entrance. Guests move through an 8-foot arched entranceway into the combined kitchen and living area.

. – Amanda Nye

The kitchen offers two-tiered bar seating, as well as leathered-granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, including a six-burner stove and a refrigerator with internal cameras. There’s plenty of room for a full dining room table, and a gas fireplace enhances the setting. Several skylights cast the space in natural light.

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When work calls, an office on this floor features extensive built-in storage and a desk that comes with the sale.

. – Amanda Nye

You’ll also find the primary suite on this level, featuring a skylight and a corner gas fireplace. The en-suite bathroom, also accessible from the hallway, has a custom walk-in shower with a trickling rock feature. Overhead stands a 300-pound piece of granite that is a remnant of the historic General Sullivan Bridge.

. – Amanda Nye
. – Amanda Nye
. – Amanda Nye

The circular beams from the original water tank cascade into the thick, brick walls like the spokes of a wheel as the space moves into the lower level. It’s home to a comfortable second living room, with the unique features of the structure overhead moving all the way up into the cupola. There’s an additional gas fireplace and a hallway that leads to another bedroom and a laundry room.

. – Amanda Nye

There are two secret passageways in the home: In the lower level living room, the press of a button sends a bookshelf into the ground and leads guests through a secret passage into a bedroom. The second is reached through a cabinet in the laundry room, where a secret door leads to an office space.

But perhaps the most fascinating spot in the house is the dungeon-theme basement, which has faux cathedral windows and torch lights. Currently functioning as a gym, it features a circular bar and several knights in armor, which are included in the sale.

. – Amanda Nye

“It’s like a three-level house. Instead of going up, it’s going down,” Flathers said.

Flathers noted that a lot of the furniture, like the massive gate hung over the primary bed area, can stay. There’s an attached two-car garage.

Back in 2016, the home was featured on New Hampshire’s Chronicle. At the time, it was decorated with skeletons, skulls, and chill-inducing art.

As of press time, an offer had been accepted on the home.


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