Have you ever considered building a custom house? Does the planning and design of new construction fill you with anxiety and trepidation? Let us walk you through a recent build and show you why Lighthouse Contracting Group (LCG) creates homes, not houses.
Last May, we were contacted by Sophie to build a Cape Cod style house on a 94-acre parcel of land. Sophie grew up in a similar style house on this land, owned by her parents since the 1960s. She had a preliminary layout and requested her bedroom be on the second floor where she could look out the windows at the Belknap Mountains to the south and the pond to the west.
The 94 acres is in Gilford, New Hampshire on Belknap Mountain Road. There were two dwellings on the property. One is where Sophie’s mother lives and the second was where her father set up his office. Normally, second dwellings are not allowed without special permission. This one was grandfathered in.
The plan was to demo the second dwelling and build a new house in its place. Sophie would live in this house on the plot of land where her father spent much of his time.
Sophie’s father was a logger and excavation contractor. Most of the landscaping, including the extended pond, were designed and built by him.
Sophie recently said goodbye to her father. Growing up on Belknap Mountain around her father’s excavation machinery, surrounded by the mountains and beauty of nature, she longed to have her own home here. On this family owned land, she could help her mother and see reminders of her father.
Shortly before contacting LCG, Sophie had back surgery. The design of her house was extremely important to her physically. She requested that we make provisions in the house to make life more comfortable for her now and in the future.
The entire custom house build took seven months. We began by tearing down the aging second dwelling. Then we cleared the trees on the knoll behind the house. With further inspection, we found the whole knoll was sand. We removed it and adjusted the plans to build the house slightly higher so it would have better views of the mountains and pond.
By this time, it was August and we could begin site work and pouring the foundation. We started framing at the end of August, continued through late September with siding and completed the roof and exterior by the end of September.
October and November were spent on the interior and we turned the house over to Sophie the day before Thanksgiving.
What Makes a House a Home?
During this entire process, we kept Sophie’s family and physical needs centered around our planning and design.
Window Height & Style: adjusted the design to aid in the ease of opening and closing. Sash lifts were added to all the windows as well.
French Door Wall Oven: installed at a comfortable standing height. No more bending low to remove food and heavy dishes from the oven.
Stackable Washer & Dryer: located on the second floor closest to the bedroom. Reduced the need to walk up and down the stairs for laundry.
Handicap Accessible Bathroom: installed 36″ door meeting the ADA requirements. Blocked for future grab bars, if needed.
Stair Rise Height: A typical rise is 7.5”. For Sophie, a comfortable height was 6.5”. The design of the stairs determined the entire layout of the house. We widened the house by 2′ to make the stairs work.
Custom Wall Art: In the kitchen area, we surprised Sophie with a shadow box. It held items owned by her father and an engraved plate with his personal quotes.
Early Move in: completion date was mid-December. Sophie requested Thanksgiving. The day before, the team unveiled the home to Sophie and her mother.
What Does Sophie Think of Her New Home?
Every day I am amazed at the perfection and beauty of my new home! Lighthouse Contracting Group made the entire experience a joy, and practically stress-free. I had envisioned my dream home for so long, which made many of the design decisions easier. However, when I didn’t know what direction to go in the team knew what my vision was and helped by making every detail true to my style. The thoughtfulness and care the team put into building this home can be seen everywhere – from the custom-built barn door to the perfect staircase, the shadowbox memorial to the built-in bookshelves for my record player and albums. I can’t imagine being any happier with my new home!
If you enjoyed viewing Sophie’s custom cape home, here are a few design details to inspire you.
- Butcher block counter tops
- Black stainless-steel farmers sink
- Eastman Street graystone cabinetry
- The island cart came from Sophie’s mother’s house. We installed wheels on it to bring it to a comfortable working height and to make it mobile.