Features > Room for the Whole Family

Betsy and Bud Booth’s new, four-thousand-square-foot waterfront home is more than just a lovely place to retire—it’s a family-friendly retreat with room for four generations.

And that’s exactly what the Booths planned when they replaced the older cottage that had been in the family since 1939 with this new, larger home. This is where the Booths— who owned the Green Dream Dairy Farm in Lee before retiring to Wolfeboro—play gracious hosts to their five children, ten grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and three great-grand-nephews.

“Inside we wanted to preserve the feeling of the old cottage,” says Betsy, who worked closely with interior designer Dawn Heiderer of Design Inspirations on many of the decorative touches.

Accommodations for all generations

The home’s interior has plenty of well-designed spaces for children—storage for toys, a special child-sized refreshment counter in the kitchen, built-in stepping stools so little ones can reach higher cabinets, a child-sized door that leads to a playroom and even a child-level sink in an upstairs guest bathroom. Colorful murals in two of the guest rooms capture the family history—one shows the old dairy farm and the other the older family lakefront cottage with Grandma at the “waving stone,” bidding adieu to visitors.

From the onset, family was the focus of the new home’s design by TMS Architects of Portsmouth, who also oversaw the demolition of the older cottage.

“The goal was to create a home that wasn’t ostentatious, that was very personal in scale, that had a cottage feel and was intimate,” says TMS Principal William H. Soupcoff.

“Betsy was leading the charge on making the home grandchild-friendly,” he adds. “When she saw some space under the eaves, she said, ‘Why don’t we make this a nook for the kids?’”

Soupcoff sees many of his residential clients designing homes that can accommodate larger numbers of overnight guests. “They realize if they have a home that sleeps larger numbers, it can be a way to hold a family together,” he says. “So as the kids go off, get married and have kids of their own, the house can be a home base in the summer and provide a way for families to stay together over time.”

For the adults, there’s a library with a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace and an antique mantle from the original house with the inscription, “Old wood to burn, old books to read, old friends to trust.” The Booths are avid readers, and their library reflects that passion. For a bit of whimsy, the library theme continues through a guest half-bath, with book stacks pictured on the wallpaper and an antique library-style card-catalog case that doubles as the sink vanity. The sink is carved from deep green marble.

“The library bathroom carries the theme of the book-lovers that we are,” Betsy says.

Space-saving touches

There are space-saving, yet beautiful, built-ins throughout the home. The bed in the first floor master bedroom has storage drawers underneath and built-in night stands. Walk-in closets have built-in dressers, and one of the guest rooms has a built-in dresser in a nook that otherwise would have been closed off by Sheetrock™. In the kitchen, there’s a built-in coffee maker and a pull-out toaster drawer, as well as other spaces that keep small appliances off the countertops and out of sight.

Not an inch is wasted.

In designing the kitchen, builder Jon Lovering made certain to orient the cooking and counter space so even the busiest cook can enjoy the views of Lake Winnipesaukee and Mount Major while whipping up a family feast.

Lovering, a Wolfeboro-based general contractor, says the successful project was a collaborative effort between the homeowners, the architect and the interior designer, who he says “were absolutely wonderful” to work with.

Designing the interior

One of the first interior-design decisions Betsy made with Heiderer and Lovering was the type of woods to use. She chose to go with cherry throughout—for the flooring, trim and wainscoting.

For Heiderer, the cherry was easy to work from. Cherry is a hard wood that “has a casual elegance to it,” she says. It also gets richer in color with time.

“They’re on the lake, and their lifestyle is casual,” Heiderer adds about the Booths. “We picked cherry because it’s the best wood and functional.

” When it came to the palette for décor, Betsy says, “We wanted soft, comfortable and warm colors—the soft blues and pale greens of the lake.”

Heiderer says design-wise, the home will continue to evolve. “That’s what’s fun about the house. It gives the Booths a place to start, and over time, they will add things to it,” she says. Heiderer adds that she purchased very little furniture for this project. The Booths incorporated pieces they already owned or inherited from family members, and many of the rooms have custom built-ins, including beds and dressers.

Curb appeal from any angle

The Booth home is unique from an architectural standpoint because it doesn’t fit completely within a design mold—it’s not all Arts and Crafts, not completely cottage style, not mainly Mission.

“It takes elements from a variety of styles,” says Soupcoff. “It’s an eclectic Shingle-style lakefront cottage.” Architecturally interesting elements include the eyebrow window over the front entrance, the low-slung shingled roof and the fieldstone-based pillars that Lovering says helped “ground” the home into the landscape.

Soupcoff says the older home’s most endearing feature was its low roofline and cottage feel. One of the most impressive aspects of the new home is that it looks great whether you’re arriving by boat or driving in from the street. “In my mind, a good design will make the home good-looking from any angle,” he says.

As for the site, there was ample waterfront but the home had to be built, per new state regulation, fifty feet back from the water. One challenge was that the lot was wide but not deep. Another was that the street side was at a higher elevation, which is why particular attention was paid to making the roof as attractive as possible. “The roof became a visually important element in the design since you saw so much of it from above. We were careful in how we created dormers and how they blended in with the roofline,” Soupcoff adds.

Lakeside landscaping

The slopes also presented a challenge when creating a landscape design that would be naturalistic, provide adequate drainage and look good year-round. After consulting with several designers, Betsy chose Ann Morgan of L’Annscapes, based in Union, with whom Betsy worked when she and Bud built a guest cottage across the street. For installation, Morgan turned to her old friend Tom Bryant of Landscapes by Tom in Meredith. Morgan created the naturalistic concept for the property that retained as many trees as possible, including a thicket of pines that became the Booth’s “state park” and picnic area. To deal with water runoff and provide adequate drainage, Bryant installed a fifteen-by-fifteen-foot water feature that looks like a naturalized pond.

Morgan says she worked with Mother Nature and considered the natural flow of the water when determining where to place the pond. “The pond became a perfect place to use two beautiful flat rocks from Betsy and Bud’s farm,” she says. Atop of these sheets of stone is a bronze statue of a little boy holding a sailboat at water’s edge; Betsy had purchased the statue because it reminded her of Bud’s childhood on the lake.

Shade-loving plants—such as hostas, mountain laurels and rhododendron—are used in the woodland area, but Bryant points out the thread-leaf Japanese maple that arches along one side. The sunnier areas of the yard provide for flowering plants such as day lilies, native blue flag iris and other perennials. Morgan even installed a raised bed for vegetables and cut flowers for Besty, who loves to garden.

“Ann’s concept echoed what Betsy wanted—a naturalized landscape that melded the home with its natural surrounding,” adds Bryant.

Since the home’s completion last May, the Booths have made it their full-time residence. “Who would want to be anywhere else?” Betsy asks, looking out over the lake.