From Sea to Shining Sea
An elegant new addition with 270-degree views enhances an already stunning Seabrook home.
When Samantha and Joe Faro first bought a 12,000-square-foot property on New Hampshire’s coastline in 2014, they envisioned their forever home. They had an existing structure removed, and turned to TMS Architects of Portsmouth to create a “modern New England coastal home,” says Joe, founder and CEO of Tuscan Brands. Among the architects assigned to the project was Timothy Giguere.
Early on, Giguere, as lead designer, collaborated closely with William Soupcoff. “Bill really developed the plan layout early on in the process from the clients’ direct input, and soon after was able to develop the exterior massing and work with the clients on the exterior look of the home as well as the development of the interior spaces,” explains Giguere, who saw the project through to its completion when Soupcoff retired.
That home, finished in November of 2016, features 7,180 square feet of heated space with five bedrooms and an additional bunkroom, eight bathrooms, an executive office, game room, wine bar, exercise room, and two exterior decks, one of them covered. The icing on the cake is a three-bay garage that was designed to be retrofitted with a low-profile lift system to stack sports cars on top of each other.
“The owners’ previous home was more inland, and deep in traditional Italianesque detailing with dark woods and metals,” says Giguere. “Although they enjoyed the home, its style did not necessarily fit the beachy feel of their current location.
“You can see, though, with some wrought iron metal work and light dark-wood accents, it becomes a complement of that style against the whitewashed wood, white trim, and cleaner detailing,” he says. “The bracketry and paneling in a bright white to transition between these two styles help meld everything together for a more cohesive design feel when you walk the home and the property.”
The Faros, however, weren’t done. When an adjacent 12,000-square-foot lot came on the market, they expanded their vision, and that meant expanding the views from their home. They bought the parcel, razed the existing building, and in June of 2019 again contacted TMS Architects to “commission a design that would expand their home into this adjacent lot with a conservatory, infinity pool, and various site amenities for outdoor entertaining,” says Giguere, principal architect on the project. He was assisted by project architect Ellie Hayes.
When the Faros originally relocated to the Seacoast, “the design had to prioritize and take advantage of the views to the ocean as well as around the harbor,” explains Giguere. “The home had to maintain a style of living the family was used to, entertaining large groups of extended family and friends.
When the new conservatory project started, continues the architect, “the goals shifted to expand on the original views as well as making the addition feel like it was part of the original design. The view lines from the conservatory also couldn’t be blocked by any site amenities.”
Though relatively simple in theory, those requirements led to an intricate design and creative construction methods. The final product is breathtaking.
Finished in 2022, the expansion is highlighted by a 700-square-foot, glass-enclosed conservatory that provides spectacular views. There is also 1,100 square feet of exercise space below the conservatory with a sauna, 850 square feet of additional deck space, and a 350-square-foot pool cabana with a bathroom and open-glass wall systems. Additional amenities include a separate outdoor kitchen, outdoor dining area for 12, sitting area, hot tub, infinity-edge pool, large outdoor gas fire pit and numerous fire sconces and bowls.
The crown jewel of the renovation is the conservatory, with its 270-degree water views of “the ocean, the Hampton River inlet, and the bay,” says Faro. John-Thomas “J.T.” Nigro, vice president of Sunspace Design of York, Maine, agrees.
“As beautiful as it already was, there was a certain amount of light and view that were missing from the end of the [original] home,” says Nigro. “This conservatory just lets in so much light and panoramic ocean views while matching the existing architecture impeccably.
“[The addition] looks as though it was designed and built at the beginning,” he says. “Not a thing looks out of place. Plus, the new infinity pool and hardscaping and the new cabana make this a superior coastal property.”
“It is a very elegant design that melded well with the syntax of the main home built in 2016, but created complex construction techniques and problem-solving skills to execute the design as it is built today,” says Giguere. “This took a tremendous amount of team effort that no one can take sole credit for.” The project team was extensive, reflecting the complexity of the design and the challenges of the location.
“We had to bring the design intent from the owners, TMS Architects and McBrie, the structural engineers, then turn it into reality,” says Simon Ackerman, owner of Architectural Builders. “The extreme weather conditions, the lot size and lack of storage or extra workspace definitely made this a true collaborative effort for sure.
Work started in December of 2019, so contractors also had to deal with the vagaries of the subsequent pandemic, when supply chains were routinely disrupted. Furthermore, wild swings in the weather, given the home’s location on the coast, not only presented building challenges but also required exacting construction and quality materials to ensure a water-tight structure that would hold up against the worst nor’easter.
“The amount of detail and clean execution you see in the finish product is only the first layer,” says Giguere. “Between the exterior and interior finishes there are many pieces and components unseen but planned and thought about meticulously.”
Those hidden features were sandwiched with insulation and vapor barrier components to create “a tight thermal envelope,” he says. “The photos show the aesthetics and end result but don’t tell how the space feels comfortable for the occupants inside when its 20 degrees below with 75 mile-
an-hour winds outside.”
According to Giguere, the design development process was “similar to putting together an intricate Swiss watch” in terms of precision and construction, requiring extraordinary coordination of multiple trades and consultants. The design structure, he says, was “very unique.” To make up for the lack of stability in the conservatory walls, designers increased the amount of steel used.
To ensure the conservatory offered uninterrupted views, it was built without any interior columns, says Patrick Cole, project engineer with McBrie. That required an innovative design.
Inside, the Faros turned to Carolyn DesRosiers for both the original home and the conservatory expansion. “Working with Samantha [Faro] was easy, because she knows what she likes and she makes decisions easily,” says the interior designer.
“They wanted a Tuscan feel to their home,” she says. “I wanted to make sure that it captured the essence of a coastal New England home and highlighted the incredible views. The goal was to strike a balance between these aspects.”
DesRosiers could achieve that goal in part because she was able to seamlessly step into the project after architectural plans were completed. The Faros wanted a big kitchen, featuring a hand-carved black soapstone sink that’s “a masterpiece,” says DeRosiers, a dining table that could expand, comfortable seating, and plenty of indoor and outdoor gathering spaces for conversation.
“Everything needed to be durable and timeless,” says DesRosiers. “It was really all about bringing and keeping family close. That was the biggest goal. While the home is large, no space is intimidating or ‘off-limits.’ There is nothing pretentious.”
The designer says she was most proud of the master bath, with a full-slab marble shower, and the conservatory flooring. “This ocean blue limestone has such extreme variations in color,” she says. “Working with Brett Cooper from Portico Fine Tile, we made sure that there was plenty of material.”
“My assistant, Amy Collins, and I laid that entire floor piece by piece to ensure that the atrium floor would be perfect and the color consistency worked throughout the space,” says DesRosiers. “That room has you looking toward the sky, but I know the work that went in to what is underfoot.”
Of course, the most difficult projects are often the most rewarding. “This definitely turned out to be a trophy for everyone involved, a total team effort all the way,” says Ackerman.
“Our goal for this project was to create a simple process to a very complex design making the job look almost effortless,” he says. “People who have seen it are amazed. It’s a blessing to have the owners’ trust and confidence in our abilities to perform under any conditions put in front of us.
“Every area is a special place to just take in the views, whether hanging out at the fire pit or chilling in the cabana, cooking on the grill on the extra-large deck, or admiring the interior of the glass conservatory,” says Ackerman. “Everything is stunning.”
Similarly, Nigro says he takes great pride in knowing Sunspace Design’s contributions to the project are appreciated, and being enjoyed, by the homeowners.
“We got to see a video from Christmas from the Faros,” he says. “The room had a massive tree and there were presents and laughing family members everywhere. We get all sorts of reviews that our conservatory has changed the entire feel of the home, and ‘you wouldn’t believe how much time we spend as a family in here.’ That makes it worth all the effort.”
For the Faros, the finished product is “our dream home,” says Joe. “We love the home.” Giguere says he relished the opportunity to “develop stronger relationships with contractors, consultants, trades, and the clients more by approaching the project with a team mentality.” And he regularly gets to admire the fruits of their labor.
“I often go shore casting in this area, and I can see the building in the background,” says Giguere. “I see this home as a timeless, generational property that will be on the shoreline well after my time and my children’s time.
“It’s humbling to think I was able to be a part of that process and have the memories and stories of working with an excellent team,” he says. “I approach all my projects this way, and I feel the process of getting the design built is the most rewarding.”
Transformations (Carolyn DesRosiers)
AM & AM Masonry
Millwork Masters of New Hampshire
New Era Excavation
Northeast Flooring Solutions
Portico Fine Tile
SL Chasse Steel
Sunspace Design, Inc.
Twin Metals Roofing of Auburn