Fabulous Finish

The craftsmanship that went into this elegant, family-friendly residence in southern Connecticut is reflected in the details that give the classic Colonial its warm, welcoming ambience.

May 01, 2003


This home's neutral, monochromatic palette was enhanced by painted millwork that creates texture on the walls and shows off the millwork without overdoing it, interior designer Linherr Hollingsworth says.


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Built-ins, such as a computer niche and storage cabinets in the playroom, are transformed into part of the home's structure, she says.
The fireplace in the Nantucket-inspired playroom features a wood mantel and French limestone legs, surround and hearth.
The entry serves as an example of the home's understated elegance. Brazilian cherry floors and stair treads are balanced by warm white trim to create a warm, happy feel.

The craftsmanship that went into this elegant, family-friendly residence in southern Connecticut is reflected in the details that give the classic Colonial its warm, welcoming ambience.

"This is a highly customized home where every room is very different from the next," says second-generation builder Marc Shaw, describing the $4.5 million home's handcrafted moldings, distinctive ceiling treatments and one-of-a kind built-ins, all painstakingly reproduced from shop drawings created by his staff.

Bethel, Conn.-based Shaw Builders has more than 40 full-time employees and handles all phases of residential construction, from the excavation and pouring of foundations to framing, finish carpentry, millwork, cabinetry and masonry, for new projects as well as renovations.

"With everyone literally in one place, you can really maintain the highest level of quality control," Shaw says. "It also really speeds up construction because we don't have to work around the schedules of outside contractors. With the level of detail in this home, this project could have taken three years to complete. We did it in half that time."

In creating the millwork and finishes that grace the interior of the 6,700-square-foot home, it was "design as we went along," Shaw says. "Many clients, particularly at this level, really like to build this way. They come up with new ideas for things they want to incorporate into their house as it is being built. We're happy to accommodate them. I think this makes the whole process a much more user-friendly way to build a home."

Shaw says last-minute changes don't faze him. "Because of our computer-aided design capabilities, this does not create a time problem for us," he says. "We have the people right there to make the changes."

Shaw lauds the talents of interior designer Linherr Hollingsworth, who he says contributed mightily to the overall look of this residence. Her full-service interior design firm gets involved with high-end projects such as this from the architectural planning stage right through to the final merchandising.

"We try to demonstrate to the client the importance of the details in their home," Hollingsworth says. "If you execute the details successfully, people will sense the quality in a room without necessarily being able to put their finger on why. I really believe that the details can make or break a project."

Hollingsworth maintains close contact with her clients throughout the building process, helping them interpret the architectural and shop drawings and refine their ideas for the home. "It is very important to help the client fully understand what the end project will be," she says.

For this home, says Hollingsworth, her well-traveled, quality-conscious clients wanted a classic look with subtle details.

Style of Home | Colonial

Location | Fairfield County, Conn.

Total Square Footage | 6,700

Hard Costs | $350 per square foot

Builder | Shaw Builders LLC, Bethel, Conn.

Architect | Russell Guerin Architects PC, Black Rock, Conn.

Interior Designer | Hollingsworth Design Associates, Norwalk, Conn.

Custom residence

Major Products Used | Appliances: Sub-Zero, Viking | Countertops: granite, mahogany | Doors: Select Interior Door (interior doors); Shaw Millworks, Marvin (exterior doors) | Cabinetry: Shaw Millworks | Roof: Western red cedar 18-inch Perfection shingles | Windows/French Doors: Marvin | Exterior: cedar shake

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