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What makes this project different from your average everyday barn-raising—and any other TOH TV project to date—is that this house will be constructed in modular panels in New Hampshire, then trucked to Weston to be assembled and finished in a matter of weeks. Tedd Benson and his company, Bensonwood, have designed the house and, working side by side with the entire TOH team, will prefabricate about three-quarters of it in a factory. Then TOH general contractor Tom Silva and his crew will take over, preparing the site and putting the individual panels together on the property before completing the finishes. The process will cut the building time in half, as most of the wiring, plumbing, windows, and finishes will go into the panels at the factory. (The Favats' old house has been carefully deconstructed and 85 percent of the materials were salvaged for resale and reuse, many in a nearby Habitat for Humanity project.) Meanwhile, TOH landscape contractor Roger Cook will create an integrated natural landscape, eradicating invasive plants in favor of natives, preserving wetlands, and adding hardscaping elements like a boulder wall, a pergola, and bocce court.
Amy and Pete fell in love with the idea of a timber-frame house—essentially large-scale post-and-beam construction with wooden pegs and supports—while on vacation in Idaho. They stayed in a timber-frame cabin and immediately decided it was the kind of house they wanted. "We thought ‘Why can't your everyday house feel like a vacation house?'" says Pete. "Ski houses, beach houses, a house in Italy—vacation houses like these aren't so normal."
They already knew of Tedd Benson and his reputation as the premier builder of timber-frame houses in the country. They even had a couple of his books. But they didn't believe he'd have time for them. He did. And not only that, Benson was incredibly receptive to their ideas, and a collaboration was born. "These people really care about the houses they build," says Pete. "Plus it's called Bensonwood. I mean, his name's on the company." When This Old House signed on, it just meant getting ever closer to the dream with all the right players in place. The couple is excited about the chance to work with "the best of the best" as they put it, and to take advantage of the access the show has to excellent artists and craftsmen. (TOH first worked with Benson nearly 20 years ago on the Concord project, so it was a natural fit.)