Settling into Lakeside Living
The early-twentieth-century style of Prentice Sanger inspired architect Jeremy Bonin’s design of this welcoming home on Lake Sunapee.
Timeless design, with a few personal touches, helps a house feel like home. For Lisa and David Andrews, their home on Lake Sunapee is all that and more: warm, welcoming, and just the right size for themselves, their adult daughters, and extended family and friends. “We wanted a house that didn’t feel overwhelming but could accommodate visitors,” Lisa says.
The couple vacationed in Lake Sunapee for many years. When they decided to move to the area permanently, they chose a site in Fernwood Point, overlooking the lake. They already had a builder in mind for the project—Old Hampshire Designs of New London—but didn’t have to look far for an architect. “We literally discovered
Bonin Architects while walking down Main Street (in New London),” Lisa says. Architect Jeremy Bonin already had a good working relationship with Old Hampshire Builders and understood the couple’s goals.
David, Lisa and Bonin have a shared interest in the early-twentieth-century architectural style of Prentice Sanger, a local architect who designed the Lake Sunapee Yacht Club and many original lakefront homes (Sanger also renovated The Fells, a historic estate in nearby Newbury). “The Sunapee Yacht Club is interesting because it combines stone with brickwork,” Bonin says. “Stone and brick convey groundedness and permanency, qualities the Andrews family wanted for their home.”
Echoing the architectural style of Prentice Sanger, architect Jeremy Bonin, of Bonin Architects Associates, LLC in New London, incorporated red cedar, white cedar, stone and bands of brick in the home’s exterior.
Bonin’s original plans featured a main house with a separate in-law apartment; that design was changed to accommodate lot restrictions prohibiting a second building on the property. The changes led to a creative solution: connecting the three-bedroom guest quarters to the main house via a stair tower and hallway. “It’s a great solution,” says builder Jay Tucker, owner of Old Hampshire Designs. “It’s airy and bright.”
The design and building teams had another potential challenge: an enormous cherry tree on the property. Thought to be at least one
The great room’s soaring Douglas fir ceilings and large stone fireplace is complemented by a neutral color palette. The rug is from Stark Carpet and the chairs are from A. Rudin.
hundred years old, the tree was at least three feet in diameter. “It was the biggest cherry tree I’d ever seen, but there was no way to build around it,” Tucker says. After an arborist determined the tree was unhealthy, David and Lisa hired furniture maker and designer Charles Shackelton, of Shackleton Thomas in Bridgewater, Vermont, to create custom furnishings for their new home from the harvested cherry wood. The magnificent pieces he built include a massive dining room table and chairs (enough to seat twenty); the queen-sized bed frame and headboard in the couple’s master bedroom; a powder room vanity; two fireplace mantels; and two small tables.
The 8,800-square-foot, timber-framed home is set back from the lake, looking toward Mount Sunapee and a nearby lighthouse. Bonin sited the two-story home so it doesn’t overpower views from the lake. “We wanted it to feel settled in the landscape,” he says.
With its gabled roof and red-cedar-shingled exterior, accented by stone and brick veneer, the house evokes a New England lake cottage updated for modern living. On approach, the front entry feels like a courtyard, with native flowers and trees, a design mapped out by Bonin Architects’ landscape architect Greg Rusnica. The circular drive is constructed of pervious pavers, allowing water to infiltrate into the ground rather than run off into the lake; water off the roof is collected and piped into a rainwater garden in the back yard.
A beautifully strong interior
Inside, an open-concept layout unites first-floor living spaces. Mary Ann Coffey, of Mary Ann Coffey Interiors, Inc. in Providence, Rhode Island, created a natural palette combining wood and neutral colors. Wall colors, as well as the kitchen cabinets, are by Farrow & Ball. “They provide subtlety and depth, complementing the home’s architecture and materials,” Coffey says. “The colors don’t interfere with the home’s stunning views.”
The home’s ground floor is designed for easy entertaining and single-floor living. A second-floor landing acts as a gathering area for guests or a great place to read, with its floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.
The spacious, light-filled great room has cathedral ceilings as well as exposed beams and trusses, all of Douglas fir. A floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace—with custom-crafted cherry mantel—anchors one side of the room. Three seating areas provide opportunities for intimate socializing and different sized gatherings. A grand piano, played by one of David and Lisa’s daughters, separates the great room from the informal dining space, with its sturdy cherry dining table and chairs.
The kitchen is the hub of the home (and one of the family’s favorite gathering spots). Crown Point Cabinetry, of Claremont, designed and built the maple cabinets and granite-topped center island. The room is perfect for cooking and casual entertaining with ample storage for cookware and accessories as well as an easy-care tile floor. The space includes two full sinks—one in the island, the other under a window facing the lake—as well as two dishwashers and top-of-the-line appliances. In good weather, the couple utilizes the screened porch, right off the kitchen, for meals.
David and Lisa made a conscious decision to have smaller bedrooms in the home. The first-floor master bedroom suite has water views as well as access to the outdoor deck and patio. An adjacent office, lined with bookcases, is also easily accessible. “I love having the bedroom and office on the first floor,” Lisa says. “As we age, we won’t have to walk up and down stairs.”
A second-floor loft space, with built-in bookcases and additional seating areas for gathering or reading, links the three upstairs bedrooms. Family and friends can relax in a large hot tub, accessed through the loft and an exterior hallway. The space also connects to the guest quarters via the stairway tower.
The home is heated by an energy-efficient geothermal heating and cooling system (there is radiant floor heating in the basement, where there’s a media center). High-energy windows and tight insulation help keep the home comfortable year-round.
Behind the house, a series of stone and brick terraces leads down to a small dock and boathouse. Outdoor dining takes place on the flagstone patio, directly off the back of the house, or on a smaller brick patio, connected via a stone walkway. Plantings include a mixture of hearty perennials and native trees as well as a Siberian crabapple tree (transplanted from New Jersey) that David has maintained since childhood.
David and Lisa have enjoyed their Lake Sunapee home for several years. Everyone involved in the project agrees it was a great project. “I feel like the home really reflects the couple’s personality and taste,” Coffey says. “It’s a project that came from the heart.”
The kitchen is all about ease, with comfortable seating at the center island and plenty of granite- topped counter space for food prep. The counter stools are from Century Furniture; the pendant lights are from Simon Pearce; and the tile is by Pratt & Larsen.
The screened porch is the Andrews family’s favorite summer dining spot. The table and chairs are from All Decked Out.
A series of stone and brick terraces, designed by landscape architect Greg Rusnica, creates small gathering spaces on the home’s waterfront side. Plantings include hydrangeas, echinacea, Bar Harbor junipers and perennial geraniums.
The project team included (left to right) general contractor Jay Tucker, of Old Hampshire Homes in New London; landscape architect Greg Rusnica, architect Jeremy Bonin and project manager Christopher Timberlake, all of Bonin Architects and Associates, LLC in New London; and landscape contractor Peter Schiess, of Landforms in Bow.
A dramatic stairway tower connects the main living spaces of the home to the guest quarters. The chandelier is from Hammerton and the wall sconces are by Hubbardton Forge.
The powder room features a custom cherry vanity by furniture maker Charles Shackleton of Shackleton Thomas in Bridgewater, Vermont. The ceramic vessel sink is handcrafted by Shackleton’s wife, potter Miranda Thomas. The stone tile is from Tile Showcase and the sconces are from Hubbardton Forge.
The cozy book-lined office—with its lake view—is on the first floor, part of the Andrewses’ efforts to maintain one-floor living.