Peterborough developer Paul LaRoche III wins two Cornerstone Awards

By BILL FONDA

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 02-01-2023 4:41 PM

Starting with the wall of windows that provides people with a view of Mount Monadnock when they walk in the door, Realtor Sadie Halliday of the Halliday Group calls the four-bedroom, four-bathroom house owned by owned by Nathan and Jackie Kono on Cranberry Meadow Drive “a work of art.”

“It faces west, so it’s some of the most-stunning sunsets,” Halliday said.

On Jan. 24 at The Barn at Bull Meadow in Concord, the house’s builder, Paul LaRoche III of LR3 Development, won the two biggest awards -- Home of the Year  and the People's Choice Award – at the NH Home Builders Association Cornerstone Awards event. 

“It was definitely a great feeling to be selected out of a great group of buildings,” said LaRoche, who has 20 years of design and construction experience and started LR3 2 ½ years ago. “I put my heart and soul in this house, and it’s validating for all the hard work I put in. It’s a very special project. It’s not just a house.”

Every year, the association gives out Cornerstone Awards in various categories for design, construction and remodeling. A panel of professional judges chooses the winners from projects that are nominated, and the People’s Choice Award is voted on by everyone at the ceremony from the nominations in all the categories.

Halliday, who represents all of LaRoche’s properties, nominated the Cranberry Meadow home after looking at past recipients, including on Governor’s Island on Lake Winnipesaukee.

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“It was equally as stunning if not more stunning,” Halliday said of LaRoche’s project. “It was important to put Peterborough on the map and put Paul on the map.”

LaRoche described his style as “I grab from things I see that I like, and I put them together,” but developing a custom-made home also involves collaborating with the homeowner. In the Konos’ case, that meant designing a house based on the “vibe” they were seeking.

“He picked everything out and created it,” Jackie said. “I definitely have a preference, but I had trouble articulating it. It was effortless for him.”

Nathan said he and his wife are not experts, so they counted on LaRoche to lead them in the right direction.

“We brought ideas to the table, and we trusted him to tell us whether it was a good idea or not,” he said. “We trusted also that he wasn’t making these calls because it was easier for him.”

The Konos had traveled around the country in an RV during the first half of the pandemic before deciding to put down roots in the Monadnock region, and connected with LaRoche after seeing one of his spec houses. The groundbreaking was in January 2022, and they moved in late last October. Even during last year’s supply-chain and labor issues, Nathan said LaRoche kept the process moving.

“He just lined up the crews really effectively,” he said.

The Konoses have two children, an eight-year-old son and five-year-old daughter. 

“They love it. We have kind of a kids’ wing, entirely symmetrical so everything is fair between them,” Nathan said, although their daughter has the view of Mount Monadnock.

The home is part of the Cranberry Meadow Estates subdivision, which LaRoche is developing. The 12 lots are all 15 to 20 acres, and LaRoche worked with Ryan Owens, director of the Monadnock Conservancy, to ensure that each owns a piece of conservation land. Homeowners cannot build on the conserved area, which includes the Cranberry Meadow Pond trail, and it must be accessible to the public.

Four homes have been built in Cranberry Meadow Estates, and two more are coming. Before he cleared any trees at the Konos’ home, he said he hiked on the land to figure out how to incorporate the views without taking too many trees.

“I didn’t want to go and clear-cut the thing,” he said.

LaRoche said he took the same approach with the driveway, winding it around some of the larger trees on the property.

As an example of his talents, Halliday talked about another project LaRoche is working on in Peterborough where she originally wasn’t sure where the house would go because the lot was so wooded. However, when she went back a few weeks later, she realized he had come up with a solution when he saw where the trees were cleared and the foundation laid out.

“He can take any lot and figure out what is best for the house position. It truly is a gift,” she said.

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