A Seacoast Jewel

Clean lines within a traditional format was the homeowners’ compromise for their new Seacoast home, starting here, at the entry.

He likes traditional. She likes modern. That was the challenge Don and Nicole Foster faced when they began to design a home for a property they bought near the ocean in Rye. Nicole says they finally decided on a style that would satisfy them both — “one with a transitional feeling, clean lines, a little contemporary without being too edgy.”

For the interior, they decided to re-create the sprawling one-floor living they had seen — and liked — in Florida and California, but to combine it with an exterior that had a traditional New England seacoast look.

Their architect, William Soupcoff of TMS Architects in Portsmouth, calls the style “seacoast vernacular” — a hipped roof, stained cedar siding and architectural shingles. On the ocean side, there is a sweep of floor-to-ceiling glass to take advantage of a fabulous “layered” view — over a marsh with a zigzagging creek to a bridge that connects a golf course, past Little Harbor at the Wentworth By the Sea and on to Whaleback lighthouse in the ocean beyond. “The whole back of the house opens up to the view,” Soupcoff says.

Step down and you’re on a fieldstone patio that runs the length of the 5,000-square-foot house. Where the patio combines with a screened porch, there is a double-sided fireplace. “The idea there was to have a big room to feel like you’re living outside, which we like to do,” Nicole says. “It’s also a great place for entertaining.” The fireplace allows use of the space from early spring to late fall.

In the great room, there is another fireplace with a unique mahogany mantel. Above it is a cabinet that contains the plasma television. “My husband wanted the TV over the fireplace, but we were concerned about glare, so the cabinet evolved from that,” Nicole says.

The TV is visible from the kitchen, part of the openness the Fosters wanted. “The kitchen and great room are the heart of the house. We wanted to be able to be in the kitchen but have access to all the rooms. Not only can you see the TV, the porch is steps away and the dining room is right there.”

The dining room table sits in a rounded bay of floor-to-ceiling windows that is part of what Soupcoff calls “the tower.” It’s two stories high, and on the second floor is a portion of the guest room and an exterior porch with the view.

When Don and Nicole first moved in, they used that guest room while their downstairs master bedroom was being finished. “We felt like we were living in a tree house,” says Nicole. “It was a different feeling, with tons of glass around you. When we moved downstairs, people thought we were crazy, but we love it there.” There’s the convenience of one-level living, she says, plus they enjoy the view of the lighthouse from both the bathtub and shower.

Despite the amount of glass on the back side of the house, no window treatments are needed because it’s designed for privacy. The front of the house is, according to Soupcoff, “a very well-defined and inviting courtyard,” where you can go from the driveway to the house under an arbor that can be covered with vegetation.

The Fosters have lived in their four-bedroom, 4 1/2 bath house for more than a year now, and Nicole says it’s hard to leave it, even to go to work: “It has all the advantages and chicness of a posh hotel; it’s much like the boutique hotels that we love. And the views are mesmerizing.” NH

This house is a winner — twice.

In late January, eight projects were honored at the New Hampshire Chapter of the American Institute of Architects 22nd Annual Excellence in Architecture Awards Banquet at the New Hampshire Institute of Art.

DeStefano Architects of Portsmouth (www.destefanoarchitects.com) received both an Honor Award and People’s Choice Award for this residence (below) along the southern Maine coast. The contractor was Solid Rock Builders. High on the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, this residence seemingly originates from the ledge that supports it. Jutting forms and strong lines define the relationship between land, sea and the forces of nature that continuously recreate the craggy shoreline.

Zoning setbacks created an irregular footprint and from these parameters grew a collision of forms flowing away from a tower centerpiece. Minimal use of structure and maximum use of glass, walls rising up on ball bearings and effortlessly rolling away, this home is all about the landscape and becoming one with its surroundings.

Jurors said: “This design handles complex geometries in a sculptural way. It is well thought out, not just a collision of forms. This was not an easy plan. And the detailing is well worked out, despite the fact that there are a lot of varied materials.

Home & Garden Events

Accomplished Gardener Course
March 3-May 5, Hollis. Nurture your interest in gardening, plants and environmentally friendly landscape design and become an Accomplished Gardener with this intensive course at Beaver Brook Association, 117 Ridge Road. Cost is $200, and 20 hours volunteer time for certificate. Fridays, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Preregister. (603) 465-7787, www.beaverbrook.org.

New Hampshire State Home Show
March 10-12, Manchester New Hampshire’s oldest and largest professional home show with more than 325 exhibit booths in 65,000 square feet of exhibit space. The show will be held at the Center of NH-Radisson Hotel. www.hbranh.com/index/homeshow

2006 New England Spring Flower Show
March 11-19, Boston. Theme: “Welcome Home! Celebrating Our Great New England Landscape.” Exhibitors will create gardens that reflect New England’s diversity and traditions. Hours: Saturdays, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sundays, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Bayside Expo Center. (617) 933-4900, www.masshort.org.

Verdant Visions Gardening Seminar
March 18, Francestown. In its 10th year, the seminar features keynote speakers Michael Weishan, from PBS’s “Victory Garden,” herbalist Rosemary Gladstar and landscape designer Frederick Rice. $20 advance registration.
9 a.m.-1 p.m. The Old Meeting House, Main St. (603) 547-6353 or e-mail aine@erols.com.

Victorian Gardens
March 22, Manchester. John Forti, Garden Historian, Herbalist and Curator of the historic landscapes at Strawbery Banke Museum will use period botanicals, prints, catalogs and slides to portray Victorian gardening. 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. Millyard Museum. $8 for members; $10 for general public. (603) 622-7531, www.manchesterhistoric.org.

“Petals and Palettes”
March 24 and 25, Atkinson. Area artists will display their paintings, sculpture and photos, which will be interpreted by Atkinson Garden Club members in floral designs. Friday, 12 p.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Atkinson Country Club, 85 Country Club Drive. (603) 362-5956.

Concord & Lakes Region Home Show
March 25-26, Concord. Browse more than 100 booths. Hours are Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Everett Arena. Adults: $5; Adults over 60: $2; 16 and younger free. Free parking. (978) 534-0587, www.homeshownet.com.

Breath of Spring Flower Show
March 24-26, Swanzey. Cheshire Fairgrounds Ice Arena, Rte. 12. Friday, 12 p.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Special senior and disabled guest hours from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. on Friday. Plant sale Sunday, 5:30 p.m. Adults $6 in advance, $8 at the door. Children $4 in advance, $5 at the door. To benefit Home Healthcare, Hospice and Community Services. (603) 352-2253, hcsservices.org/flowershow.

Seacoast Home, Garden and Flower Show
March 31-April 2, Durham. Find new ideas and everything you need for a season of growing. The show will focus on landscapes and florals as well as the home elements. Whittemore Center Arena, University of New Hampshire. For more information call (800) 359-2033, or visit www.dicksonandmcgonigle.com.

Lakes Region Spring Flower, Arts & Crafts Fair
April 8-9, Laconia. There will be a raffle to benefit the N.H. Humane Society-Laconia. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Winnipesaukee Expo Center, 48 Elm St. Admission is free. (603) 528-4014, www.joycescraftshows.com.

Dinner from a Spring Garden
April 12, Nashua. Liz Barbour of The Creative Feast presents this cooking class, featuring ingredients from early spring gardens.
6 p.m.-9 p.m. Dream Kitchens Showroom, 139 Daniel Webster Highway Highway. $55. (603) 465-6929, www.adreamkitchen.com.

Timeless Tea House Tour
May 13, Hillsborough. Featured homes offer savory and sweet treats from china displays. Presented by the Hillsborough Heritage Museum Fundraising Committee. Tickets are $20 through April 30 and $25 on the tour day. (603) 464-4781, www.timelessteatour.org.

Home, Garden & Flower Show
May 19-May 21, Fryeburg, Maine. Presents contractors, decorators and vendors of fine arts and crafts, as well as an emphasis on gardening. Friday 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Fryeburg Fairgrounds. (800) 359-2033, www.dicksonandmcgonigle.com.

Herb and Garden Day
May 27, Canterbury. Garden tour, mini gardening workshops and demonstrations on herbal crafts with plants, herbal products, pottery, books and honey for sale. Canterbury Shaker Village, 288 Shaker Road. (603) 783-9511, www.shakers.org.

2nd Annual Blue Ribbon Antique Show
June 3, Contoocook. All exhibitors are NHADA members. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Hopkinton Fairgrounds. $5. Free parking. Call (207) 563-1013, www.nhada.org.