Designer Showhouse public tours begin Thursday at historic Frank Anderson House

NASHUA – Standing in the doorway of the late Frank Anderson’s home office, a visitor only needs to scan the room to get the feeling that Anderson had just risen from his creaky wooden chair, switched off the light and shuffled down the hall for a nightcap before turning in for the night.

Returning the atmosphere of the second-floor office to its early 20th-century heyday was the vision of interior designers Denyne Sanville and Paula Kifer, two of the dozens of professionals who have been working for months on a collective facelift on two floors worth of rooms and spaces at the historic residence on Concord Street.

The work, completed just recently and unveiled at a special reception Tuesday evening, is all part of a sweeping project called “A New Hampshire Designers Showhouse,” a partnership between Home Health & Hospice Care and Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, which bought the classic, Beaux Arts style mansion several years ago.

Now it’s the public’s turn to take a stroll through the airy mansion, climb its spiral staircases and peer into rooms and spaces large and small to see first-hand the work of the designers.

Tuesday’s reception featured introductions, expressions of gratitude to sponsors and volunteers and plenty of handshakes of congratulations guests paid to designers after viewing their work.

“I’ve visited this house over the years as Mount St. Mary,” Mayor Jim Donchess, one of Tuesday’s speakers, said in reference to the girls’ school that occupied the property until the early 1990s.

“It’s always been a nice house, but nothing like this,” Donchess added, glancing at his surroundings.

Invitees included a number of neighbors, who watched the designers come and go for months, and who witnessed since last fall professional landscaper Doug Knott gradually revive the lawns, flower beds and other landscaping around the stately home.

Planning for the unique fundraiser got underway nearly two years ago, under the guidance of Tina Andrade, the director of development for Home Health & Hospice Care.

A longtime home-showcase enthusiast who for years organized the Friends of the Nashua Symphony’s Holiday House Tour, Andrade said she rounded up a committee of organizers and began searching for an appropriate venue.

Finding that Thomas More College had recently bought the Anderson House from the Rhode Island-based Sisters of Mercy, Andrade saw a win-win situation: The chance for her agency to host a unique fundraiser, which would leave the college with a complementary, top-to-bottom professional restoration of its prized property.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-1256, dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DeanS.