ABOVE Ashley Brochu’s father-in-law, who passed away last year, built a bluff using boulders he found on the property. “It was kind of a mess,” she says. “While doing it, he loosened up the trees and a wind storm tore them down.” She laughs about it now.
TEXT BY RACHEL SLADE
PHOTOGRAPHED BY KRISTIN DILLON
Five kids, four dogs, three cats, two adults, and one lake. Ashley Brochu had a lot to think about planning a new custom home for her family on Cold Stream Pond, in Lowell. The Brochus had been living in smaller digs, and a new home offered the space they craved. Laying out floor plans with architect Peter d’Entremont, then of Blue Hill’s Knight Associates, meant making compromises, but one thing Brochu refused to give up was her vision for a wraparound, three-season porch. Seven years later, she says, her tenacity paid off. The big sliding doors onto the porch are perpetually open to catch lake breezes, and the kids are in and out constantly. “We spend so much time on the porch, my husband has threatened to put a recliner and TV out there,” she says.
A big table, surrounded by bright-red chairs from Crate & Barrel, serves multiple functions for the busy family throughout the year. Brochu, who has begun to do interior design work for a growing client base, had the cedar decking painted green on the porch, but left it natural on the deck.
For both kids’ baths, Brochu hired a local cabinetmaker to build slightly shorter vanities than normal. Even her 4-year-old can use the faucet without a stool. The double sink is a “must” for kids, she says, because it’s easy to clean. “That was a jackpot score for that room.”
All the kids have their own bedrooms, but they often double up at night anyway, so each room features a trundle or bunk bed like this one from Bedworks of Maine. Brochu’s husband, Chris, who co-owns Pleasant River Lumber with his brothers and uncles, insisted they use as little Sheetrock as possible in their new home, so she covered the walls and ceilings with pine — some clear coated, some painted.
Brochu spends a lot of time cooking, so she made sure the windows above the sink overlooked the yard and lake. It took her five years to find the perfect backsplash tile — a handmade square ceramic from the Winchester Tile Company, which she bought at Keniston’s Tile, in Bangor. The cabinetry is by Spaulding Cabinetry, of Lincoln; the bright floral runner is from Company C; all lighting fixtures are from Barn Light Electric.
The lake-facing deck is a people and dog pleaser, outfitted with Adirondack chairs made by a neighbor down the road. Brochu had a children’s slide installed off the deck, which quickly became the kids’ preferred means of getting down to the water.
To get lake views from as many rooms as possible, the architects rotated the house about 30 degrees relative to the shoreline. A boardwalk leads to a wooden shed Brochu bought from a neighbor, where the family keeps paddles and other equipment for water fun.