A perfect home for parties
A Bedford home-owner designed his dream home: a light-filled residence endowed with modern flair and ample space for entertaining.
This Bedford home is party-ready, thanks to a free-flowing layout where a sleek Poggenpohl kitchen is integral to the space. The living area is captivating both architecturally and aesthetically.
For many, a note or drawing on a piece of scrap paper is a quick-minded, hurried scribble that is easily disposed of. We think nothing of that sticky note reminding us to go to the dry cleaners once our freshly pressed clothes are hanging back in our closets, or that shopping receipt on which we mindlessly doodled shapes and swirls while waiting on the phone. Rarely do these fleeting jottings have a hold on our lives.
Yet, for one homeowner, an engineer and business owner, a sketch on an airport cocktail napkin did just that. A quick drawing that could have easily been left behind before boarding became a starting point for his dream home: a striking contemporary building that blends an industrial feel with innovative touches.
He describes the conception of his custom-built home in Bedford as an “eclectic journey.”
“I used to travel extensively for business and would spend a lot of time at airports staring out windows as I waited for my flights,” he says. “One airport had beautiful architectural glass that spanned the whole side of the building. There was a symmetry and shape to it that I thought would make a neat roofline for a house. I started sketching the structure on a cocktail napkin.”
The striking kitchen has lacquered red cabinets with brushed aluminum edging, granite countertops, industrial-style hardware and state-of-the-art Miele appliances.
The floor is Brazilian cherry.
Over time, his idea evolved and grew. He presented his drawing to an architect in Rochester, New York (where he was living at the time), and asked for his opinion. “The architect said I pretty much sketched a very large single-room home,” the homeowner says. “It was a unique, modern design that was visually pleasing, yet not particularly easy to build. It took almost a year to get the plans to work.”
After living in upstate New York for twenty-five years, he was ready for a change. Before relocating to New Hampshire, he began collaborating with architect Jack Sigrist of Architectural Innovations, P.C. in Pittsford, New York, and builder R. D. Cooke Company of Bedford to build his “unique home with a geometrically symmetric footprint.”
“One of the things that makes this house unusual is that it is four thousand square feet, but there are only eight rooms,” the homeowner says. A primary goal in building this home was to make it symmetrical from left to right, he explains, as well as to create a space in which the bedrooms would be distinct and separate from the living areas. Constructing open spaces with clean lines was essential, too. “I don’t like small rooms or dividers for the sake of dividers,” he says. The home’s living room, in particular, has only one structure that divides the entire space—a kitchen peninsula. It is a sizable room—striking in design and proportion—that integrates the kitchen, dining area and living room as one harmonious space.
The great room
At just shy of one thousand square feet, the living room is captivating—the closer one looks, the more there is to admire. Several focal points compete for attention: most particularly the sleek and ultra-functional Poggenpohl kitchen, designed by Rosemary Porto, senior designer and sales manager of Poggenpohl Kitchen Design Studio Boston. The kitchen’s gloss-lacquered red cabinets with brushed aluminum edging, granite countertops, industrial-style hardware and state-of-the-art Miele appliances all make a statement. Equally striking are mid-century furniture from B&B Italia and Artemide, Inc. lighting fixtures imported from Italy, as are the soft jersey cream-colored walls and Brazilian cherry flooring, which offset and counterbalance the space’s glass and stainless-steel accents. “The room has an industrial feel, yet it is comfortable and inviting,” the homeowner says.
The room reaches amazing heights with thirty-three-foot ceilings. Large windows wrap around the space, offering sweeping views of nearby woodlands. The windows also allow natural light to flood the space, creating a soft ambiance throughout the interior—very rarely do lights need to be switched on. “I am an engineer, but my heart lies in photography, so my eye is always drawn to natural lighting,” he says. “The interplay of light and shadow throughout the day is wonderful, and watching a thunderstorm or blizzard move across the sky is absolutely arresting.”
Growing into the space
Vertical cedar siding and elongated windows emphasize the home’s height. A weathering stain gives the exterior an aged and natural look.
When he built his house in 2005, the homeowner was single and kept the space clutter-free and minimalistic. Three years ago, he married a freelance writer, who added her own personal touches to the home.
“My degrees are in art history, and I love paintings, sculptures and works on paper,” says the wife, whose colorful and diverse collection—including several works by New Hampshire artists as well as several pieces by some of the New Hampshire Furniture Masters— mingles with her husband’s photographs, including a black-and-white self-portrait shot at age seventeen that anchors a corner of the kitchen.
Beyond their shared interest in art, the couple enjoy entertaining and find the home’s free-flowing layout perfect for get-togethers, both large and small. “We love to have people over and
entertain as often as possible,” the wife says.
The central living area is particularly conducive to entertaining, thanks to its open concept. “I can be in the kitchen and still interact easily with guests in the dining and living room,” the wife says. “My husband and the architect did a fabulous job of creating a space that is expansive and flows well, yet does not feel cavernous.”
A dream design that works
There is a lot about this “cocktail-napkin-conceived house” that the homeowners love. “It’s both a beautiful and functional house,” the husband says, “though some have observed that it’s not kid-friendly. But this house was very personally conceived; it was built for adults who not only want to live in a space that itself is a work of art but also to share with others.”
New Hampshire Furniture Masters Association
Poggenpohl Kitchen Design Studio Boston
R. D. Cooke Company