A timber-frame home built facing a large man-made pond, the Kaufmann house blends naturally with its rural Stowe surroundings.
story by Joseph Healy • photos by Carolyn Bates • Vermont Magazine – January 2005
In 2000 when Tom and Sheryl Kaufmann were looking for a rural, outdoor-oriented environment as an alternative to their suburban Philadelphia home, they looked to Vermont—specifically, to Stowe. “We were searching for a community with a small enough population for the intimacy of true small-town environment while not wanting to give up too much in the way of social and cultural sophistication,” Tom says, “and remaining reasonably close to extended family and friends on the East coast.”
With the help of Waterbury-based Sisler Builders (sislerbuilders.com), the Kaufmanns built a custom home that, as Tom says, “combines magnificent views with privacy, intimacy, great neighbors, and a five-minute ride to the center of town. We also border thousands of acres of state forest and conserved land.” The timber-frame structure was designed by the Benson Woodworking Company of New Hampshire, who had recommended Steve Sisler to the Kaufmanns as a Benson-qualified builder. “When we saw the quality of Steve’s work and the personal creativity that he brings to each project we knew we had found the right builder,” Tom, 49 and a semi-retired business consultant, says, he and Sheryl, 44, have two children, ages 6 and 8.
The large pond on the property, made during the house construction, is lined and has fresh groundwater pumped in via a waterfall. By sitting 50 or 60 feet above the pond, the house is often reflected on the water’s surface. “We have stocked the pond with rainbow trout, which we catch and grill over the outdoor firepit,” Tom says. “The pond provides year-round exploration and activities for the children. We swim and kayak daily in the pond in the warmer months and the two golden retrievers love it. If I can get a jump on shoveling the snow we’ll skate on it, as well—nothing like a good old-fashioned game of pond hockey.”
And the views on the property can’t be beat. “One of the elements of the property that spoke to us immediately was the drama of mountain vistas anchored with a foreground of meadows and pond,” Tom says.