wine cellar. The high-efficiency wood-fired furnace, with a gas-powered backup system that kicks on when the family is away, is housed in a separate utility room. The
furnace warms the water in a nearby 800-gallon insulated tank that feeds the radiant
system that heats the house.
Upstairs, the living room has floor-to-ceiling windows that take in the long view
of the valley. A Rumford fireplace shares a massive central chimney with a soapstone
heater in the adjacent open kitchen and dining area. From there, a broad stairway
leads to the bedrooms on the second floor, while the main hall continues past the
TV room to Michele’s music-centric office, a half bath, large mudroom with a slate
floor and dog shower, and a guest suite over the garage.
The second floor has three bedrooms — one each for Ian, 7, and Alexia, 13, and
for their parents. The master suite is cantilevered over the hill like the living room
below. Bruce has a small study by the kids’ rooms, and a steep ladder stairway rises
behind his desk to Michele’s rooftop observatory. As much as anything else in this
highly customized home, its retractable glass roof represents the handiwork of building contractor Mike Laframboise Custom Carpentry in New Haven, Vermont.
“The building site was a huge challenge,” says company owner Laframboise. “It
was like working on a precipice, with very little staging area to maneuver our equipment. And I’ll never forget the day the crane arrived to place the observatory roof.
We built it on the ground to very specific measurements. Then you just hold your
breath and hope it fits.” It did.
From start to finish, the house was a project based on energy and shared vision.
“Bruce had already bought the land when I flew out to see it for the first time,”
Michele recalls. “We pulled up at the bottom of the lot and it was swarming with
mosquitoes. There was no road, no hiking trail. And I said, ‘You know what, honey? I
trust you.’ And I flew back to Oregon without ever having seen it. This house required
a lot of imagination. It was a matter of faith.”
guests stay in a cozy
suite housed above the
garage. The master
bathroom (right) is a
great place to relax, with
big Vermont views, a
deep Jacuzzi tub, and a