Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Where We Live: From the ground up

From the outside, tucked into a peaceful corner of the Fords Colony neighborhood, 129 Blackheath fits right in.

But get to know this 6-bedroom, 4,000 square-foot home and its dedicated builder, and it becomes quickly apparent this home is nothing ordinary.

The structure isn’t a product at the end of an assembly line. It’s the creation of the man who called it his home.

In 2005, Richard Pinard built 129 Blackheath from the ground up.

“Sometimes it’s overwhelming how much work goes into it cause you’re always trying to do a good job,” Pinard said. “In the past, I’ve always been a perfectionist.”

Today, 129 Blackheath is on the market, and Pinard recently finished his sixth complete personal build. He thinks it will be his last.

“I’m thinking about retiring pretty soon,” he said.

From building complete homes, that is. Pinard, who conducts home improvement jobs with his company, Pinard Builders LLC, said he wants to continue working until he is no longer physically able.

For each of his homes, Pinard’s process goes something like this:

Once the house is livable but before it’s actually finished, he moves in immediately and works through the finer details: the trim, the cabinets, and other aesthetic or functionality elements. Each home is a live-in passion project for Pinard, and this is where the true heart of his work shines through—his many trademark features.

For example, a TV fitted snugly into a ceiling recess directly above the master bedroom’s bed.

“When you’re laying down, head on your pillow, you’re looking right at it,” Pinard said.

Or, in the master bathroom, a life-sized medicine cabinet. Shallow shelves to hold the bathroom essentials, but instead of being nested behind a mirror, they are the size of a closet and behind a door. Pinard said the inspiration for this came when closing a doorway while remodeling a kitchen.

“You’d open the door and there was the kitchen cabinets,” he said.

Instead of removing the door and patching the wall, Pinard added the only shelving that would fit, three-and-a-half inches deep. Recognizing how convenient the innovation could prove for the small, everyday items that clutter the typical bathroom drawer, Pinard began re-purposing the design for his bathrooms, and it stuck.

As anyone can imagine, turning an empty plot of land into a finished home is no easy process. Pinard hires help in some stages such as the framing and plumbing, but the building of 129 Blackheath saw long, hot summer weeks where Pinard worked alone.

“Everything you see inside is something I’ve finished myself,” he said.

The front end of the home is its current selling point, the fact that 129 Blackheath is designed to fully accommodate a multi-generational family.

“This is probably what makes this house the most unique,” Pinard said, gesturing around the suite’s living area, separated from the main house by a set of doors, and colloquially known as the “mother-in-law suite.”

The full-size suite incorporates a bedroom, bathroom and living area complete with a fridge, stove and washer-dryer combo. Pinard said he first added the mother-in-law suite to the home’s plans when he decided to welcome his own mother-in-law to move in with his family.

“It really worked out well,” he said, citing how nice it was to have the family member close by.

Like any home, Pinard’s is full of stories. But his case, the stories manifest themselves in different ways across the property. The beautiful chandelier hanging in the foyer was given to him on a job site. A spread of accenting tiles on one of the kitchen counters which he calls “the staging area” exists through his efforts not to waste materials.

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