Jen Macdonald and Mike Lemieux, owners of Full Circle Homes have come full circle several times since they first met. Their passion for the community, history, antiques of all sorts and each other is infectious. Their story started when they were teenagers.
Jen was best friends with Mike‘s sister in high school. They both went on what they termed an “awkward date” at age sixteen and met again years later at a cookout hosted by Mike’s sister. They discovered they both shared a passion for real estate. Before they were married they bought a rental property together. Jen said , “if we can survive this, we can survive anything.” The first circle was complete.
They both had dreams for their lives: Jen had wanted a horse farm and Mike wanted to be an “A list” actor as well as to have a place to ride his motorcycle.
Mike told Jen, “your dream is easy” so when the opportunity came to buy a farm in Plympton in 2015, it was a win-win. Jen had a place for her horses as well as keep her two children in the Silver Lake school system and Mike had a place to ride his motorcycles. Jen said that when they moved to Plympton it felt like “this is where I am meant to be.” They felt that the community is friendly and it’s “a place where you can be yourselves,” said Mike. Their lives were coming full circle once again and the name for their business to buy and renovate antique homes was hatched.
Their passion is evident when they talk about their second house purchase in Plympton. After buying their home on Main Street, which needed work, the property next door came up for sale. The property that had a house on it was listed as land only. To them, the house was not a tear down and was totally salvageable. They took the risk buying the property and have since renovated and sold the home.
According to Mike, each renovation project tells a story about the home, the themes of the family that lived there, and the intersection with the town history. Their process is truly a team effort. Mike said “Jenny designs the home and makes the house a home; I come up with crazy ideas on how to do something. I focus a lot on the history of it. She will let the history inform her design decisions. She has really developed this cool sensibility on how to do it so when you walk into the room you feel like this is how it’s supposed to look.” When they are into a project, Jen said, “Its fun, it’s like a treasure hunt, you figure out the historical significance and then every person on our team has a part of the story.” In one instance the story included Jen’s family history.
Jen and Mike had been interested in 39 Ring Road for years. When they were able to win it at auction they were thrilled. Come to find out Jen’s grandmother’s relatives, the Haywards, built the home in 1800 as part of the Hayward farm. Jen said that while they were renovating the home, they had already decided to keep and she had put her grandmother’s light in the kitchen, “It was totally meant to be.”
Jen and Mike believe that “community is about interconnectedness. It is less about us, but more about what we can contribute to bring people together in the way that can actually give something to the community.” When 41 Crescent Street, owned by the Kiersteads became available, Mike was able to convince Jen to buy it despite the many projects they were completing at the time. “I told Mike, I love this property, but I don’t know how we are going to be able to do that”, said Jen.
Mike believes when “an opportunity comes up, you gotta figure it out, like restoring old houses; people do this, I think we can figure this out.” They were able to buy the home and are in the process of renovating it and they plan to keep it in their family.
Full Circle Homes recently bought the property across the street from 41 Crescent Street that is also part of the Kierstead farm. The land could have been bought by developers, but Full Circle Homes was able to purchase it. The property, as well as the house, were first owned by the Perkins family, then the Keirsteads, who then sold it to Full Circle Homes. At this time, only three families have owned the property for the past 350 years, and that includes Jen and Mike. Mike said “the goal long term is how to figure out how to keep it a farm and how to keep it so it sustains itself but to also figure out how and what that means to the community and community involvement.” He talked about ideas such as community land trusts or public/private partnerships. Jen jokes when she says, “Instead of fixing up our own house, we bought a hayfield instead.”
The Mayflower Mercantile is also a Full Circle Homes venture. The property was in rough shape when they bought it, but has been beautifully renovated. They always wanted to have a store to sell locally made goods so people do not have to be reliant on companies such as Amazon. Mike said, “I always do everything with the mindset of think globally but act locally.” They thought that the community could benefit from a place where residents could see their neighbors and connect. The store sells goods produced in Southeast Massachusetts including Plympton locals Hippy Pilgrim, Plympton Jam, and artwork by Martha Burns. The store also allows them a place to sell some of the antiques they have collected over the years. In terms of community and the Mayflower Mercantile, Jen said, “It is a nice way to bring it all together. We enjoy that.” They hope to someday expand to include a café.
Mike’s dream of being an actor is also coming to fruition. The couple was approached by producers for a show called Houses with History that will be premiering on HGTV on Sept. 29, at 9 p.m. Jen and Mike said that they were filmed for seven months while they renovated six homes. They talked about the history of the homes and how they were renovating them. Although they buy and sell the homes it is not a typical “flip houses” type of show. Mike says, “we do not flip houses we restore them.” Jen is not as comfortable in front of the camera but said “Michael is more comfortable than the rest of us.”
The story of Full Circle Homes continues to be told by the houses they lovingly restore, the expansion of the Mayflower Mercantile and the future of the beautiful land they saved on Crescent Street. There seem to be many more “Full Circle” moments in their future.