Luxury Nests

You could consider the Zarlis custom home builders. It all started with a typical birdhouse for a wren 10 years ago. Within months the Moultonborough couple were completing elaborate mansions for birds. Actually, Linda admits that most of the constructions never go outside, but are simply replicas of real homes, big and small. If there is a hole, there is only one, and no perch. The Zarlis found out from the Audubon Society that the perch is just a conduit for predators. They have had requests for rambling homes, lake houses, cottages and churches from people across the U.S., from the Hamptons to Arizona and California (yes, a movie star). Linda had the delight of delivering a Hamptons mansion replica to its owners a few years ago. It was placed on a marble table and had a room of its own. Husband Marty does the construction and detail work, while Linda does the basic painting and marketing. They work from photos and add as much detail as requested, including shutters, fencing and latticework. Marty has added an antique car coming out of the garage, pets’ names on bowls and a yellow lab lounging in the yard. It all comes with a cost. Prices range from $300 to $500 with more for detail work. Why are people so fascinated by the houses? Linda says it’s about memories. People may love their home and if they leave it is a way to take it with them. The replica house is a way to remember a happy childhood or the family home for grandparents who have to move into a smaller home. — Susan Laughlin


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