Last year Kevin Kaminski and Maureen Clarke rented their dream home: A pre-Victorian farmhouse in Hamilton, Massachusetts, US, with a sun-drenched southern exposure, fireplaces in every room, original hardwood floors and more than an acre of land next to a wooded park.
The catch? Dodge House, as it is known, needed a total renovation. Boarded up for more than a decade, it had wasps in its walls, a decaying septic tank and rotting asbestos floor tiles. Over the last six months, Kaminski has worked full-time and spent some $25,000 (Dh97,800) to make the house habitable.
The couple are ‘resident curators’ in a unique public-private partnership programme operating in a handful of East Coast states where publicly-owned historic properties are leased to individuals or organisations that agree to pay for a rehabilitation and ongoing upkeep.
Leases generally last at least 20 years and candidates need to submit highly detailed proposals for how they would use the property and pay for the project.