A House for Today, a Home for a Lifetime

To raise money, some groups offer raffles, hold bake sales and dances. That wouldn’t do for the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of New Hampshire, a non-profit organization for building professionals. The HBRANH needed a fundraiser, and Dick Benson, the group’s president, was doing some thinking. He says he spoke to fellow member Jerry Rouleau and decided, “We build houses. That’s what we do best. So why not build a house for our fundraiser?” That was about May of 2002, he recalls. A committee quickly got to work.

The result is a four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath custom colonial that they’ve named the 2003 Designer Home of the Year. It’s ready for occupancy, and is on the market for $556,900.

From the attic to the basement, the stately gray Designer Home has a full slate of state-of-the-art upgrades. After all, when you decide to call a house the Designer Home of the Year, as beautiful as it may be, you better well mean it. Its 1.5 acre lot at 16 Candlestick Lane looks out onto a peaceful, birch-lined street in Sandown. “We toured the state and thought this would be the best site,” says Benson.

Profits from the sale of the house “go towards replenishing the HBRANH treasury,” says Benson. The treasury was depleted by the economic recession of 1990, which put many in the homebuilding industry out of work.

A lot of the labor and materials for the home were donated, including trucking equipment and the Trex deck from Benson’s own business, Brix & Stix Construction Corp. of Concord. More than 85 companies donated in one form or another, from A & M Irrigation to Wesco International. “It was a wonderful networking opportunity for us,” says Benson. “This home has got products I’ve never seen … I started in this business in 1978. I still learn something new every day.”

Education is a central goal of the HBRANH, whose directors believe the education of members and the public is crucial. Well-educated consumers will recognize a well-educated homebuilder and everyone benefits. (Visit http://www.hbranh.com for the schedule of events.)

“We wanted the latest and greatest to go into that house,” confirms Lisa Dougherty, interior project designer for the Designer Home of the Year.

Dougherty, who works for 3w Design Inc. in Concord, joined dozens of others in the homebuilding trades in donating her time and skills over the better part of a year to build and furnish the home from the ground up. And they all did it while still keeping their “day jobs.”

One of the biggest challenges of the home was for it to be all things to as many people as possible. The committee had no idea who would be moving into the home, since it wouldn’t go on the market until after it was built, so they wanted it to be attractive to all. What resulted from their planning is an ideal home for the New Hampshire resident who wants energy-efficiency, low-maintenance vinyl siding, wireless technology, advanced heating and cooling — as well as perks like Atana Home Systems’ built-in stereo speakers, Galaxie central vacuum and a Gemini home security system. Some of the technology is the first of its kind to be seen in New Hampshire, such as Lennox’s Healthy Climate indoor air purification system. The reverse-osmosis water system is also first-rate.

The plan was to leave no detail overlooked. Even though the home will eventually go to one family, the list of amenities would inspire any homeowner. “Considering we were on a budget, we still managed to maximize our options,” says Dougherty. “It’s the kind of place that most people would want to spend time in; it’s space that I would be comfortable in.”

Benson agrees: “This home could go to anybody, seniors or families with kids.” At the first open house, Benson himself welcomed visitors at the front door. He remarked, “As for seeing the new homeowners move in, I’m looking forward to it.”

If you couldn’t make the open house, you can still take a tour of the Designer Home in the following pages. Admire the work of talented homebuilders and designers, and get some ideas for your own home.

Master Bath

This first floor master bath offers accessibility as well as beauty. “It’s a serene and restful space, a relaxing, secluded getaway,” says Heidi Huddleston, certified kitchen designer for Dovetailed Kitchens of Manchester. Soothing shades of amber, cream and bisque blend harmoniously with the colors in the windows by Stained Glass Overlay of Amherst. The windows give the effect of custom stained glass work and also offer privacy for the Kohler whirlpool tub, donated by Granite Group-Ultimate Bath, Concord. The tub is surrounded with Pecan Tivoli tiles from Daltile. The serpentine Corian countertop in ecru, part of the Dupont Private collection, is as graceful as it is functional. It was custom designed by Huddleston.

“I chose Corian because it is a non-porous, hygienic, smooth and easy-to-care-for finish,” she says. In addition, the double sinks provide individual grooming space; a shower is located behind the door. For wall cabinets, Huddleston chose Kitchen Craft with a Palomino finish and Chatham door style. The stained glass look carries over to the cabinetry with a glass door adding beauty to the functional space. A Tambor cabinet below the stained glass is a convenient place to stow cosmetics or grooming items. All the drawers have dovetailing for durability. The top of the cabinets has crown molding and the bottom of the vanity has feet: “keeping the furniture influence throughout,” says Huddleston. The brushed bronze Kohler fixtures chosen by Granite Group add a rosy glow in this cozy retreat.


Adjacent to the great room is a convenient second stairway to the second level, as well as a half-bath and laundry room, featuring Energy-Star washer and dryer donated by GE and Baron’s Major Brands. Adjacent to the back staircase is the kitchen. The layout makes the most of the large 15’ x 20’ kitchen space by including an eat-in breakfast area.

The maple kitchen cabinets, fabricated by Diamond, were chosen by the HBRANH product selection committee because they “offer the best that was available within budget parameters,” says Don Bealko, committee member and RIVCO vice president of marketing.
Kitchen designer Jeff Wiren of the Nashua RIVCO was able to incorporate Diamond’s own Logix system inside the cabinets to maximize storage and provide easy access with the convenience of pullouts, organizers and racks. The maple cabinets feature a mellow Cider Stain, arched door panel, matte finish and brass hardware.
The countertops are by Ripano Stoneworks of Hudson, and may look like granite, but are actually made of Cambria, a quartz-based product that requires no sealing or special care and resists stains. Gail Fuller of Ripano describes the color chosen, Victoria, as “soft, with grays, soft yellow, and black, very much like a tweed.”

The kitchen has one sink on each side of the room. The smaller of the two is an attractive, deep circular sink complete with faucet that provides filtered drinking water direct from the tap. Rounding out this showplace kitchen are the Energy-Star Frigidaire stainless two-door refrigerator and double-wall convection ovens from Baron’s Major Brands.

332 Amherst Street, Nashua
(603) 889-4174
Other locations in Penacook and Portsmouth

Ripano Stoneworks Ltd.
9 Hampshire Drive, Hudson
(603) 886-6655

Baron’s Major Brands
Locations in Concord, Laconia, Salem and Plaistow
(800) 350-2499

Secondwind Water Systems Inc.
250 Commercial St., Manchester
(603) 641-5767

Designing Women

Designer Lisa Dougherty of 3w Design Inc. was responsible for bringing the interior of the Designer Home of the Year to life with color and style. “I wanted to create a home you could go into five years from now and still think it’s a great home,” she says.
She admits the first-floor master bedroom is her favorite. Close the white, solid-wood custom shutters by Boston Shutter Co., turn on the gas fireplace, and the bedroom becomes a sanctuary. “It’s a soothing space, as if all the cares of the world are gone,” says Dougherty. The bedroom also features low-pile carpet by Waverly, and his-and-her closets complete with handy custom-made organizers.

Outside the master bedroom, the living areas include the great room, a dining room, an eat-in kitchen and a study. Dougherty pictures the man of the house enjoying the study the most. “I think a man should have his own space,” she says. The study has perhaps the boldest color in the home with its wine-colored walls courtesy of Benjamin Moore. “It’s just paint, but I was very happy with the way that came out.” Like the master bedroom, the study has wide “plantation” shutters for the window treatment. These are solid cherry and custom-sized by RIVCO for the large, double-glazed Pella windows.

The wine color ties in with the dining room across the foyer. “The whole place has a little Asian theme that carries from one room to the next. But more subtle than usual, pleasing to the eye,” Dougherty says. Furniture and accessories provided by HomeGoods made the theme possible. “Without that, it wouldn’t look the way it did.”

Dougherty made her flooring choices based on easy care. Long-wearing carpet donated by Dean’s Carpet was used in the upstairs bedrooms. The study was especially stylish with its subtle wine plaid carpeting by Mohawk. Head up either of the two staircases to the second level to see the rest of Dougherty’s interior design work.

There is a guest bedroom and two other bedrooms, currently styled for children’s rooms. The full bath is situated in a corner of the upstairs foyer.

The solid pine floor continues in the upstairs “floating” hall. “The floor gave the home a definite look, yet at the same time I didn’t want to give it a country style. I wanted to take it to the next level to country French. I think I bumped it up a notch,” says Dougherty.

Cheryl Tufts, also of 3w Design, pitched in to help with the massive decorating project. She noticed “every avenue was researched to provide the latest to the consumer. I think this home is very typical of the way people are living now, with a great room and small private den for intimate gatherings, and a great big kitchen for lots of cooks.” NH