What appears to be a cute little ranch-style house as you drive down Jarry Street in New Bedford is actually a 4,832-square foot family entertainment complex that includes four bathrooms, three kitchens and a heated indoor pool that is absolutely amazing.

Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media
Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media

It took the SouthCoast by storm when it was first listed on the market in late 2019 and after luring in a few potential buyers from out of town, it just dropped in price (now down to just under $540,000), prompting us to take a second look at New Bedford's most unique home.

Over the weekend, the home’s listing got an update that included a virtual tour of the home and we spent the next few days virtually going in and out of every room, taking in every last detail. And although you're supposed to look at homes for their potential in the event that you buy it for your own, it was really hard to look at these photos and not have a million questions about what is going on inside of it right now.

Luckily for inquiring minds, realtor Judy Frenette was able to set us up with an interview with the homeowner, John Nicolaci, to learn all about his home, his collection, and what he plans to do with all of his stuff when it's time to move out (you can also visit for yourself during the Open House this Saturday, June 13, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.).

After meeting him and spending time hearing the real story behind the home and all its furnishings, we realized we had to chronicle his story just as much as we wanted to show you inside the house.

Many of the pieces in John's collections were inherited and hold his memories of those people. Others were from antique stores from his many travels. Each time he moved, more things came with him, creating the extensive collection he has today. And even as he gets ready to pack it all up and move, he is still adding pieces to the collection.

“They just find me," he said.

We expected John to say he was going to have a wild estate sale to get rid of some of his possessions, but that is not the case. Because so much of his collection was inherited from loved ones, he plans on taking it all with him when he goes.

“There’s a lot of stuff in boxes that you don’t see. I like to change things out to give the space a new look," he said.

He did say, however, that despite everything there is, there are some designs that never really came together, like having four to six beauty parlor chairs around the dining room table just for the look of it.

After a lifetime of living and collecting at 219 Jarry Street, John said it was only about two years ago he finally made up his mind to move down to Florida full-time, because that's where the audience is his for his career as a cabaret singer. While he's sad to leave his family home behind, he hopes the next family to live in the house will love it as much as his did, and that they will continue to make their own decades of memories within its walls.

“It took me a long time, since about 1998, to finally decide it was time to move on," he said, his eyes tearing up and his voice cracking just a bit. "I can’t think about what the new owners will do but if they like mid-century, I hope they keep it.”

Having John and his collection move to Florida feels like the last little bit of the 20th century is going, too. New owners may come in and make changes, but the memories of the Nicolaci family are forever embedded within its walls.

Jarry Street Museum of Mid-Century Modern Kitsch

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