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Home of the Week: Solar panels, a garage, and a Cold War holdover — an underground vault

The Boston Globe logo The Boston Globe 9/21/2022 John R. Ellement
The property features a screened in patio, a greenhouse, and a chicken coop. © Luxe Life Productions The property features a screened in patio, a greenhouse, and a chicken coop.

27 Maple St., Pepperell


Style Cape

Year built 1993

Square feet 2,400

Bedrooms 4

Baths 3

Sewer/Water Private/public

Taxes $9,583 (2022)

Every home has its secrets, and this Pepperell Cape is no exception.

The 50-by-60-foot fenced-in garden should hint at the priority security is given on this 1.88-acre lot. Dear deer, you never had a chance.

The stunning find, however, is a Cold War installation: a 7,200-square-foot concrete underground vault once used to store essential papers for a bank. The contractor? The US Army Corps of Engineers. When? Around 1960. The entrance is a bank vault door.

The current owners have maintained the vault — with its reinforced concrete walls and separate septic, electrical, and ventilation systems — in part by installing two heat pumps and a dehumidifier.

The subterranean vault has had multiple uses, but the current owners have sent their children there to burn off energy in the winter. The largest room is 6,000 square feet, a prime arena for bike riding. There is a bathroom and an office, but the bunker does not qualify as a living space because it doesn’t have windows.

The main house, an expanded Cape topped with solar panels, more than qualifies. A walkway winds from the driveway to its front porch. The front door opens into a long hallway with stairs to the right and distinct flooring that runs through much of the home: wide-planked, knotty pine with hobnails.

The hallway ends in a T, a lowercase one. At the top is a full bath with a shower, shiplap, floral wallpaper, white ceramic tile flooring, and a single vanity with white cabinetry and a composite top and sink. A door connects to a mudroom with a soapstone sink and a door to the deck. The laundry room/pantry is off this space, and it comes with cabinetry and open shelving.

Back out in the hallway and along the right arm of the T, one finds the door to the basement, a carpeted bedroom currently used as an office, and the owner suite. The carpeted suite features a plum-colored accent wall, three windows, two single-door closets, and a ceiling fan. The adjoining bath offers a sandy-colored tile floor, a single vanity with dark wood cabinetry, and a shower/tub combination with a curtain.

The left arm of the T leads to an open layout that the kitchen, dining area, and living area share. The living and dining areas share a wide room with seven windows, a vaulted ceiling, track lighting, a ceiling fan, and a fireplace with a woodstove insert, a brick hearth and surround, and a wood mantel.

The flooring in the kitchen (and in the mudroom and laundry room/pantry) is an interlocking vinyl that looks like marble. The glass-and-marble tile backsplash mirrors its coloring, while the natural-wood Shaker-style cabinets and dark black soapstone counters offer a pleasing contrast. The kitchen also offers a peninsula with seating for two, recessed lighting, and stainless steel appliances. The stove is electric.

The home’s remaining two bedrooms and third full bath are upstairs. Both bedrooms are carpeted. The bedroom on the left offers one window but three closets, while the other has three windows, a single closet, and eaves storage. They share a bath that has a white single vanity topped with soapstone, the same vinyl flooring found in the kitchen, bead-board wainscoting, and a tub/shower combination with a curtain.

The attached two-car garage connects to an unfinished basement with full-size windows.

The owners told the Globe that they have not paid an electric bill in years because of the leased solar panels.

Greg and Chris Maiser with Sold Squad at RE/Max Professional Associates in Holden are the listing agents.

Follow John R. Ellement on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Send listings to Please note: We do not feature unfurnished homes and will not respond to submissions we won’t pursue. Subscribe to our newsletter at Follow us on Twitter @globehomes.


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