Nice to Meet You

Janice Rohlf

Janice Randall Rohlf

I’m the new kid on the block here at New Hampshire Home and couldn’t be more delighted to join a talented team at a top-notch publication. As a child, I spent many summers with my family at Wheelwright Pond in Lee. We stayed in a cabin my dad built with his father and brother, and while it was extremely rustic (read: no indoor plumbing until my mother put her foot down), fond memories from those long-ago days are still vivid in my mind.

Needless to say, home remodels have come a long way since my father reluctantly ditched the outhouse for a teeny-tiny bathroom squeezed into a corner of our cabin. This issue celebrates houses that have been refreshed, renovated and redesigned. These renovations often come about when homeowners are faced with a decision to move or stay put and invest in updating their house—functionally, esthetically or both—to suit their current lifestyle.

This was the situation for Leah and Jon Cushman. They had simply outgrown their beloved house in the Lakes Region when they added two children to the family. Their tastes had evolved along the way, too. The couple’s requirements for a house that would be comfortable now, and into the future, changed. They tapped builder Jonathan Bennett to spearhead a major renovation that, among other initiatives, added a family room where a screened porch once stood, created better flow in the kitchen and introduced more and better windows to bring much-needed sunlight into the house. A dedicated team of builder, architect, interior designer and landscape professionals worked their magic, and you can admire the results on page 72.

As our kitchens take on an increasingly important and multifaceted role, individuals are casting a critical eye on the heart of the home and asking themselves if the room suitably addresses their needs, not only for meal preparation but also as a main gathering space for family and guests. Johnna Dourdoufis faced this dilemma in her Stratham home. After nearly 20 years with the same kitchen, she finally bit the bullet, hiring Cathy Stathopoulos to help. The B&G Cabinet designer called on her more than 35 years in the business to meet the challenges posed by this project. “Having it come out like this was transformational,” she says. You can see what she’s talking about on page 44.

The requisite nesting that occurred during the pandemic spawned a whole new interest in remaking our home environments—from painting walls to knocking them down and everything in between. Even before this, however, Dr. Joseph Spychalski was working with a team of restoration specialists to shore up a more than 200-year-old house in Andover and outfit it with thoughtfully curated antique furniture and other treasures that respected the Colonial-era home.

Rebuilding historic homes is a very specialized niche in the realm of home remodels, one that requires not only expertise but also patience. Just ask Dr. Spychalski, who spent seven years making habitable a house that, he says, “had never seen a central heating system and only had electricity on a portion of the first floor.” His story, on page 58, is not to be missed.

Just like the meticulous restoration experts who revived the Andover farmhouse’s Colonial spirit, Douglas P. Dimes has a lifelong passion for a lost art: making furniture by hand. Specifically, Dimes, like his father before him, designs and crafts museum-quality Windsor chairs and other pieces using 18th-century standards of quality. Emily Reily interviewed Dimes for this issue (see page 84).

As I write this, I’m about to spend the weekend participating as a judge in the Parade of Homes organized by the Lakes Region Builders & Remodelers Association. In addition to admiring the houses, I look forward to seeing some spectacular fall foliage.

Categories: From the Editor