A couple leaves their high-pressure city life behind for a laid-back early retirement log home in New Hampshire's Lakes Region.
Story by Debra Grahl | Photos by Roger Wade | Styling by Debra Grahl
Greg and Kym Lagios worked long, hard hours at their corporate careers in the Boston area. Their efforts paid off, though, earning them enough to afford early retirement.
“Kym and I had been searching for property in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region for several years,” Greg says, “and came across this lot through our friend and Realtor, Gerard Constantino. What we love about our site are the views of the water and mountains, along with our very own 106-foot private sand beach.”
An existing house came with the property, but the couple knew they wanted a new log home because they had previously built one.
“Our builder, Ed Dolaher, is terrific, and we work really well together,” Kym says. “He had recently completed a Coventry Log Home when we contracted with him to build for us again, on our new lakefront lot.”
Choosing Coventry for their new home, Greg and Kym designed it with an emphasis on capturing the lake views from every room.
“The floor plan was designed to have the home move left to right with the water,” Greg says, “versus front to back, like many lake homes are. We wanted a lot of windows; we enjoy natural light. Another primary goal was to achieve complete first-floor living that will serve us well for many years.”
As a result of their planning, the lake side of the 2,975-square-foot home faces west, capitalizing on maximum light, as well as solar gain during the winter months. The main living spaces, including the master suite, are on the entry level of the home.
The second floor, designed to accommodate guests, includes bedrooms with comfortable sitting areas, affording privacy for all. A 930-square-foot room above the double-bay garage serves as the couple’s workout gym. The Lagioses spent a couple of months sketching an initial design, then took their drawings to Coventry’s design and drafting department.
“Kym and Greg had done their homework,” Coventry’s designer, Doug Thornton, recalls. “Our biggest challenge was making sure that we created exactly the look they were after. We generated 3-D drawings of their design to make sure we had it just right.”
After Coventry completed the working blueprints, Habitat for Humanity came in and stripped the existing ranch home of everything salvageable. Then the demolition crew dismantled the rest of the house.
“Once we broke ground, it took about 12 months from start to finish, almost to the day,” Greg says. The couple’s detailed planning and prior experience with building a log home streamlined the time frame for the design and construction of their new residence. “We knew exactly what we wanted,” Kym states. “We went with Coventry’s local, kiln-dried eastern white pine for the entire house.”
E. F. Dolaher & Sons Contracting handled the construction.
“It was a wonderful building experience for us,” Kym says. “We were kept informed of the progress on a daily basis. And because we were living close enough, we stopped over nearly every day, by either car or boat, out of sheer excitement.” Because the home is situated right on the water, it required five building permits, between Ossipee Township and the New Hampshire government. “We contracted with White Mountain Survey, a local survey and engineering firm, who were well versed in all of the building applications required,” Greg says. “So it was a very smooth process.”
Greg and Kym hired Janet Hepburn of Ossipee’s Maidenstone Design, for the overall landscape design and hardscaping.
“Greg and I had worked with Janet on our former log home’s landscaping and respect her amazing vision working with stone,” Kym says. “We were her enthusiastic laborers.”
The property’s original home had a two-ton rock in the basement that became essentially part of the home’s foundation. The Lagioses’ construction crew was able to remove it and break it into three pieces, which were then integrated into the landscape.
One of the sections, placed near the driveway entrance, has the street address engraved on it. The homeowners handled most of the rest of the landscaping on their own, carefully preserving walls that the property’s original owner built with stones he collected on walks through nearby woods.
The couple chose the home’s lighting and plumbing fixtures, appliances and furnishings.
“We planned room by room,” Greg explains, “checking out different lighting companies, purchasing fixtures that felt right for each space.”
Collaborating on the project was a positive, albeit painstaking, experience for Greg and Kym.
“We were a part of the entire design and building process, from beginning to end,” says Greg, “selecting everything for our home, right down to the wall switches. Kym and I have similar tastes, so there weren’t any notable disagreements along the way.”
The interior’s open, spacious rooms are free of clutter. The light-flooded great room with its natural bamboo flooring feels akin to a Japanese teahouse, only without tatami mats.
“Our home in the Boston area was largish,” Kym says. “We pared down our possessions substantially when we built our first log home, which was quite a bit smaller than this one. When we built this house, moving towards larger again, I didn’t want to acquire more stuff just to fill it up. I had to ask myself, when deciding on furniture and accessories, is this a want or an actual need. There’s so much you can learn to live without, each space needs only what is sufficient. That’s the attitude I’m trying to maintain in our new home.”
The Lagioses feel their floor plan is perfect for their new lifestyle, which includes running a chain of Shop.com franchises.
“We’re still pretty young,” Greg explains. “It’s exciting for us to run a business, and our home is an ideal location for Kym and I to work from.”
They especially like that their place is rural enough to afford plenty of peace and quiet, but located near the White Mountains, the Atlantic Ocean and Boston.
“The beauty of residing here full time,” Kym explains, “besides the obvious reasons, is that we don’t ever have to fight the seasonal crowds. We have learned when and when not to head out to the grocery store and gas station. We strategically pick and choose the best hours and days of the week to avoid traffic and long lines.”