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Mountain Home with Great Views

Breathtaking views of Mount Washington turned Texans into New Hampshirites

Written and produced by Doris Athineos
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  • Jonny Valiant and Jospeh St. Pierre

    Texans don’t scare easily, and that’s a good thing.  Transplanted Houstonites Nancy and Dick Gould faced an uphill battle when they decided to erect a spectacular mountain retreat on a hilltop with sweeping panoramas of the Northeast’s tallest mountains—the Presidential Range of northern New Hampshire’s White Mountains. To take advantage of breathtaking vistas, builders blasted through bedrock, as well as created a three-quarter-mile-long winding driveway.

    Now, the couple’s handsome home looks like the retreat of a colonial gentleman, but it functions like a sky-high weather observatory. “As morning clouds settle in the valley, we’re suddenly transported to what looks like a fjord,” says Dick, a real estate developer. The immensely welcoming, two-story beauty with its postcard views is securely nestled on rugged Beech Hill in Twin Mountain.

    The Goulds enjoy sunsets from every seat (bathtub included) in the house. “The power of outside transforms the interior more than in any other house we’ve lived in,” explains Nancy, a crafty, antiques-loving bibliophile with an engaging smile and gentle Southern manner. “The southern sun in winter throws orange light on all the fabrics and case pieces and makes them bolder—impossible to ignore.” 

    It took three years to build what Nancy affectionately calls the “tree house.” The grand brick facade has Tudor echoes with a porte cochere out front, but the back and side wings are clad in more humble clapboard. A low fieldstone base runs a continuous course and visually pulls the parts together. Out back, a bluestone patio offers an inviting place to stargaze or sip iced tea. “There’s nothing else around—just the animals and birds, like red-tail hawks,” says Nancy. “From up here, you can get a close-up view of what’s real in the world. How a tree blossoms is a story in and of itself.”

    Just as captivating are the man-made architectural details—from the angled roofline that flares at the end like a hat to the copper gutters that grow more beautiful with age.

    Acute observers of the animal kingdom, Nancy and Dick are still in awe of tracks in the snow (whether bear, turkey, or moose), purple mountains wreathed in clouds, and vivid fall foliage. After four years of full-time mountain living, the born-and-bred Texans (with a twang to prove it) ask themselves only one question: “Why did we wait so long?” laughs Dick, only half joking. 

    With the help of architects Rob Turpin and Sonya Misiaszek as well as builder Dale Blackley, the house the Goulds built is both stylish and substantial. Inside are paneled walls painted dark slate green, an entry graced with a hand-forged iron chandelier, and, flowing to either side, hallways lined floor-to-ceiling with books. “To me, the secret to making a house look lived in is lighting fixtures,” says Nancy, who lassoed three matching colonial-style chandeliers in a single lot at a Houston auction.

    The hallways reveal one of Nancy’s most serious collecting passions—modern first-edition books. (John Steinbeck is her favorite author and Travels with Charley her favorite book.)

    She, however, has a roaming eye and is loyal to no one author, collection, or craft. “I dabble in stuff,” says the gifted amateur, who has tried her hand at rug hooking, crocheting, needleworking, felting, scissor-cutting (scherenschnitte), and sewing, among other crafts.

    Of course, she has interior motivation. “I love to collect, and I love to display,” enthuses Nancy, who has accumulated Black Forest carvings, pyrography (designs burned into wood), French ivory, vintage tape measures, porcelain Limoges boxes, turkey platters and plates, theorem paintings, cookbooks (“recipes are a window into how people lived”), copper-luster china, and English enamel Battersea boxes, to name a few. But it’s colonial-style crafts made by skilled artisans that put a gleam in her green eyes.

    In fact, Nancy made a career out of Early American-style crafts in Houston, where she founded the popular shop Gallery Americana. There she sold handmade furniture by American furniture makers Eldred Wheeler, Gregg E. Perry, Jack McGuire, and David T. Smith, among others, as well as folk art—pottery, basketry, metalwork, and textiles. Most of the shop’s top talent lived in New England, which is how the Goulds ended up heading north.

    “At first I wasn’t convinced about reproductions,” admits Nancy, “which shows you how ignorant I was on the subject. Dick got me to look at them 30 years ago, but now I’m absolutely convinced of their worth and usefulness, especially as the antiques we want to live with become less available.” So shoppers wouldn’t be confused, she never mixed period antiques with reproductions.

    But at home, Nancy seamlessly blends old and new. She takes the hard edge off new construction with a sponge-painted fireplace overmantel that duplicates the look of smoke. “Historically, smoke graining was done with the smoke from a lighted candle,” explains Nancy, who adds that no interior is complete without books. “We only use old books in the dining room because it adds softness while we’re eating,” she says. Two heart-and-crown banister-back chairs that sit at the dining room table were made by superstar cabinetmaker Allan Breed of York, Maine.

    The Goulds recently discovered the New Hampshire Furniture Masters Association, a group of talented artisans who band together to offer their expertly crafted original designs. “The craftsmen have an annual auction every September, and we’ve hosted them here,” says Dick, who is obviously pleased to stumble upon a homegrown furniture movement.  “Ninety-five percent of the people who worked on this house live north of the [Franconia] Notch,” he says. “They understand it isn’t how fast one works but how well.” 

    Photography: Jonny Valiant and Jospeh St. Pierre

    Architects: Robert Turpin and Sonya Misiaszek, Misiaszek Turpin Architecture & Planning, One Mill Plaza, Laconia, NH 03246; 603/527-1617, misiazszekturpin.com.
    Builder: Dan Blackey, Twin Oaks Construction, 30 Crescent St., Plymouth, NH 03264; 603/536-1051, twinoaksconstruction.com.
    Drapery and upholstery workroom: Lord’s of Littleton, 603/444-5336.

  • Jonny Valiant and Jospeh St. Pierre

    Foyer

    The paneled entryway is punctuated with a vintage hand-forged chandelier, a tiger-maple corner cupboard by artisan David LeFort, an antique pedestal game table, and a painted octagonal box by Betsy Salm, author of Women’s Painted Furniture.

    Wall paint (“Safari” #SW-7697): Sherwin-Williams, 800/474-3794, sherwin-williams.com.
    Ceiling paint (“Canvas” #267): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667, benjaminmoore.com.
    Table (antique pedestal game table): Sherry Kelly’s Antiques, 713/520-7575.
    Chandelier (antique): Lewis & Maese Auction Co., 713/869-1335, lmauctionco.com.
    Corner cabinet (corner cupboard in Tiger Maple): David LeFort, 781/826-9033, lefortfurnituremakers.com.
    Area rug (antique Heriz Serapi): Matt Camron Rugs & Tapestries, 713/528-2666, mattcamron.com.

  • Jonny Valiant and Jospeh St. Pierre

    Hallway

    The book-lined hallway is set on an east-west axis and provides a strong organizing element for the layout.

    Desk: Terry Moore Fine Furniture, 603/526-7770, terrymoore-furniture.com.
    Desk chair (“Lolling Chair”): Eldred Wheeler Furniture, 800/779-5310, eldredwheeler.com.
    Chair fabric: owner’s collection.
    Lights over bookcase (“Dorchester 18-Inch Picture Light”/Bronze #CHD5137): Circa Lighting, 877/762-2323, circalighting.com.
    Bookshelves (custom): Dan Plante and Brian Lineman, The Wooden Thumb, 603/444-0004.
    Area rug (Antique Persian Serab Runner): Matt Camron Rugs & Tapestries, 713/528-2666, mattcamron.com.

  • Jonny Valiant and Jospeh St. Pierre

    Hallway Desk

    An elegant wooden desk sits in a niche of the sunny hallway.

  • Jonny Valiant and Jospeh St. Pierre

    Sunroom Fireplace

    The sunroom lights up in every season. The fieldstone fireplace was custom-designed by stonemason Chad Sanborn.

    Lounge chairs; coffee table: Crate & Barrel, 800/996-9960, crateandbarrel.com.
    Area rug (Antique Sultanabad Mahal):Matt Camron Rugs & Tapestries, 713/528-2666, mattcamron.com.
    Fieldstone fireplace (custom): Chad Sanborn, Stone Age Design, 603/267-6600, stoneagedesignnh.com.
    Andirons (antique): owner’s collection.
    Trim paint (“Dash of Pepper” #1554): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667, benjaminmoore.com.

  • Jonny Valiant and Jospeh St. Pierre

    Sunroom

    Vintage and reproduction lighting fixtures—including this six-light iron chandelier with tole shades—spread a warm glow on new construction. The sofa and chairs are from Crate & Barrel.

  • Jonny Valiant and Jospeh St. Pierre

    Secretary

    Doctor-turned-cabinetmaker Gregg E. Perry of Topton, Pennsylvania, crafted this tiger-maple secretary, which sits in the living room. “I love its velvet feel, curls, secret drawers, and hidden compartments,” says Nancy. “It was made here in America with explicit honesty to its original design.” Nancy inherited her love of English copper-luster china from her mother.

    Wall paint (“Enduring Bronze” #SW-7055): Sherwin-Williams, 800/474-3794, sherwin-williams.com.
    Ceiling paint (“Canvas” #267): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667, benjaminmoore.com.
    Secretary (“Bonnet Top Secretary”/Tiger Maple): Gregg Perry, Gregg Perry Conservation, 610/682-4224, perryantiqueconservation.com.

  • Jonny Valiant and Jospeh St. Pierre

    Living Room

    The paneled living room walls, painted in Sherwin-Williams’s “Enduring Bronze,” change color depending on the light. A pair of armchairs beside the window are covered in a burnt orange damask to complement the antique Turkish Oushak rug underfoot.

    See more of this room on the following slides.

    Sofa: owner’s collection.
    Sofa fabric: Sunbrella, 336/221-2211, sunbrella.com.
    Coffee table: Theodore Alexander, 336/885-5005, theodorealexander.com.
    Chandelier (antique): Lewis & Maese Auction Co., 713/869-1335, lmauctionco.com.
    Pair of chairs in toile: owner’s collection.
    Chair fabric (discontinued): Pindler & Pindler, 805/531-9090, pindler.com.
    Round table beside toile chair (antique candlestand); floor lamp: owner’s collection.
    Area rug (antique Turkish Oushak): Matt Camron Rugs & Tapestries, 713/528-2666, mattcamron.com.
    Pair of chairs at window; drop-leaf table between chairs: owner’s collection.
    Chair fabric (“Trevi Damask”/Spice #18397): Kravet, 888/457-2838, kravet.com.

  • Jonny Valiant and Jospeh St. Pierre

    Living Room Detail

    Dick scored the Black Forest shadow box and adjusted the glass shelves to display Nancy’s hand-painted porcelain Limoges boxes.

  • Jonny Valiant and Jospeh St. Pierre

    Living Room Table

    An antique library table creates a quiet space for games and reading in the living room.

    Library table (antique); chairs at library table (antique): owner’s collection.
    Chandelier (antique): Lewis & Maese Auction Co., 713/869-1335, lmauctionco.com.

  • Jonny Valiant and Jospeh St. Pierre

    Living Room Fireplace

    A pair of love seats by Henredon sit before an elegant fireplace with a marble surround. The antique Heriz Serapi area rug reflects the sophisticated blue-and-red palette of the rest of the living room.

    Love seats (by Henredon): owner’s collection.
    Love-seat fabric (“Cozy”/Henna #7673, discontinued): Pindler & Pindler, 805/531-9090, pindler.com.
    Plaid pillows: owner’s collection.
    Round table between love seats (“Tiger Maple Tilt-Top Pedestal Table,” by Dean Gutzwiller); small round tables flanking fireplace (antique candlestands); table lamps; sconces above fireplace (antique): owner’s collection.
    Area rug (antique Heriz Serapi): Matt Camron Rugs & Tapestries, 713/528-2666, mattcamron.com.
    Fireplace surround: Rojo Alicante marble.
    Fireplace fabrication: Dan Plante and Brian Lineman, the Wooden Thumb, 603/444-0004.
    Fireplace installation: Scott and July Ellis, 603/527-0526.

  • Jonny Valiant and Jospeh St. Pierre

    Kitchen

    The Windsor stools are by New Hampshire furnituremaker Bill Morse. “We both cook, and I am terrified I will cut my arm off someday while lost in a sunset out that window,” says Nancy.

    Cabinetry: Twin Oaks Construction, 603/536-1051, twinoaksconstruction.com.
    Cabinetry hardware (#98 CKP Brand Bail Pull): Cool Knobs and Pulls, 800/811-6302, coolknobsandpulls.com.
    Countertop (custom, Tiger Maple): Dan Plante and Brian Lineman, The Wooden Thumb, 603/444-0004.
    Chandeliers (“French Bell Classic”/Old Tin #C15): Classic Lighting Devices, 860/267-8814, classiclightingdevices.net.
    Wall and cabinetry paint (“Safari” #SW-7697, customized); ceiling paint (“Oyster White” #SW-7637): Sherwin-Williams, 800/474-3794, sherwin-williams.com.
    Windsor counter stools (custom): Bill Morse, Dungan-Tingley Chair Works, 603/774-7811, dungan-tingleychairworks.com.
    Cooktop: Viking, 888/845-4641, vikingrange.com.
    Backsplash (cream subway tile, Classique Wall Tiles): owner’s collection.
    Area rug (Antique Persian Serab): Matt Camron Rugs & Tapestries, 713/528-2666, mattcamron.com.

  • Jonny Valiant and Jospeh St. Pierre

    Dining Room

    A great fireplace makes a room look special. The Goulds warmed up the hearth with sponge painting that looks like smoke (on overmantel and crown molding). “We copied the look from a photograph of an old English fireplace,” says Nancy.

    Table (trestle table in Tiger Maple); side chairs (bannister-back side chairs): Jack McGuire, McGuire Family Furniture Makers, 802/928-4190, mcguirefamilyfurnituremakers.com.
    Armchairs (“Heart and Crown Bannister Back Armchairs”): Allan Breed, , 603/749-6231.
    Chandelier (antique): owner’s collection.
    Area rug (Antique Heriz Serapi): Matt Camron Rugs & Tapestries, 713/528-2666, mattcamron.com.
    Mantel and over-mantel (custom, reproduction of an early English fireplace surround): Dan Plante and Brian Lineman, The Wooden Thumb, 603/444-0004.
    Grain painted by Jim Gerhold, Houseworks of Houston, 713/459-2351.
    Candle sconces (antique); drapery (from previous home): owner’s collection.
    Paint (“Safari” #SW-7697): Sherwin-Williams, 800/474-3794, sherwin-williams.com.
    Glazing: Jim Gerhold, Houseworks of Houston, 713/459-2351.
    Ceiling paint (“Canvas” #267): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667, benjaminmoore.com.

  • Jonny Valiant and Jospeh St. Pierre

    Patio

    A quartet of adirondack chairs and a settee from Restoration Hardware make the perfect spot for sunset cocktails on the spacious patio.

    Adirondack chairs: owner’s collection.
    Settee: Restoration Hardware, 800/910-9836, restorationhardware.com.

  • Jonny Valiant and Jospeh St. Pierre

    Portrait

    Homeowners Nancy and Dick Gould, transplants from Houston, kept artisans and contractors fueled on barbecue and homemade pies and cakes.

  • Jonny Valiant and Jospeh St. Pierre

    Shelves

    The Goulds’ collection of unique wooden crafts are displayed throughout the home.

  • Jonny Valiant and Jospeh St. Pierre

    Kid’s Bedroom

    A stylish room encourages the couple’s 14-year old grandson to read after a day of fly-fishing with the family.

    Built-in beds: designed by owner.
    Bed drapery (“Janice”/Linen): Interior Fabrics, 888/442-6277, interiorfabrics.com
    Striped bed linens (“Ticking Stripe Flannel”): L.L. Bean, 800/441-5713, llbean.com.
    Table (antique, Cookie Corner Game Table): owner’s collection.
    Chairs (“1760 Bow Back Side Chair”): Warren Chair Works, 401/247-0426, warrenchairworks.com.
    Area rug (Antique Hamadan): Matt Camron Rugs & Tapestries, 713/528-2666, mattcamron.com.
    Wall paint (“Polar Bear” #SW-7564): Sherwin-Williams, 800/474-3794, sherwin-willims.com.

  • Jonny Valiant and Jospeh St. Pierre

    Guest Bedroom

    The Goulds collect German Black Forest carvings like the vintage table lamp. The upholstered armchair is covered in “Inglebury Silk Check” by Schumacher, and the sepia-toned wallpaper and curtain fabric, “Harwood Toile,” is by Cowtan and Tout.

    Twin beds; table between beds (antique); table lamp; chandelier (antique): owner’s collection.
    Bed cover: discontinued.
    Wallpaper and drapery (“Harwood Toile”/Sepia, discontinued): Cowtan & Tout, 212/646-9000, cowtan.com.
    Ceiling paint (Rattenberg” #AF-70): Benjamin Moore &Co., 888/236-6667, benjaminmoore.com.
    Lounge chair; tole table: owner’s collection.
    Chair fabric (“Inglebury Sil Check”): Schumacher, 800/523-1200, fshumacher.com.

  • Jonny Valiant and Jospeh St. Pierre

    Master Bedroom

    High ceilings add drama to the master bedroom, painted “Raintree Green”—a soothing slate green by Benjamin Moore—which laps up southeast morning light.

    Details on the following slide.

    Bed: David LeFort, LeFort Furnituremakers, 781/826-9033, lefortfurnituremakers.com.
    Drapery and exterior bed drapery (“Slub Dupioni”/Surf): Interior Fabrics, 888/442-6277, interiorfabrics.com.
    Interior bed drapery (#41809-430, discontinued); pillows (#31244-405, discontinued): Duralee, 800/275-3872, duralee.com.
    Bed-skirt fabric (#25775, discontinued): Kravet, 888/457-2838, kravet.com.
    Bed linens (antique): owner’s collection.
    Duvet and quilt (“Pick Stitch”): Pottery Barn, 800/922-5507, potterybarn.com.
    Bedside table (antique, 2-drawer Sheraton nightstand); table lamps; throw on bench (antique paisley shawl): owner’s collection.
    Chandelier (reproduction of an early tin chandelier): David Claggett, 802/824-3194, vermonttinsmith.com.
    Bench (custom): David Lamb, David Lamb Furniture, 603/783-9912, davidlambfurniture.com.
    Wall and trim paint (“Raintree Green” #1496): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667, benjaminmoore.com.
    Ceiling paint (“Ivoire” #SW-6127): Sherwin-Williams, 800/474-3794, sherwin-williams.com.
    Carpet: Couristan, couristan.com.

  • Jonny Valiant and Jospeh St. Pierre

    Master Bedroom Details

    At the foot of the bed is a hand-carved bench by talented New Hampshire furnituremaker David Lamb.

  • Jonny Valiant and Jospeh St. Pierre

    Master Bath

    A pedestal bathtub from Sunrise Specialty Co. offers scenic views of the mountains outside.

    Wall paint (“Victorian Garden” #1531); trim paint (“Tapestry Beige” #975): Benjamin Moore & Co., 888/236-6667, benjaminmoore.com.
    Flooring (“Soho White Hexagon Mosaic”): Walker Zanger, 713/880-9292, walkerzanger.com.
    Bathtub (pedestal bath): Sunrise Specialty Co., 510/729-7277, sunrisespecialty.com. Available through Antique Bath Boutique, 800/892-0136.
    Bath fixtures (“Hand Shower Tub Filler”): Antique Bath Boutique, 800/892-0136.
    Small round table (miniature tray-top candlestand): owner’s collection.

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