Architect Tom Murdough New Hampshire vacation home



Natural and neutral materials blend into the woods. Murdough topped the home with a copper roof.


The living spaces feature western red cedar paneling and walnut flooring.

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You can see the lake from many of the home’s spaces.

Inside a Boston Architect’s Awesome Vacay Home

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

By Lesley Stanley
Photos by Chuck Choi

This project was personal for architect Tom Murdough. He has been coming to New Hampshire’s Squam Lake since he was a child himself, and now that he has his own children, his parents wanted to expand the summer home that sits on their land. “Given my personal connection to the property—both its history and its future—the project challenged many of my ideas about what architecture should be,” he says. To do that, the architect had to design a new guesthouse that could accommodate a very large Murdough brood, made up of his parents, his wife and children, and three brothers and their wives and kids, too. And he wasn’t about to sacrifice style. “We wanted to push the limits on architectural discourse and embrace the intangible value of the family’s history,” he says.

The result is a modern, streamlined home with warm interiors that integrates the site’s beauty and gives everybody space to spread out. Its 2,800 square feet are able to accommodate 10 guests and sit on an existing path that connects the home to the lake and a tennis court. Taking the large family into consideration, Murdough designed not one but two master suites. He also threw in a bunk room for the kids. But it’s the home’s main living area that really stands out. Large multi-slide window and door units frame the entire room. Screens can pop in to transform the attached deck into an enclosed porch, and when the doors are fully open, the space feels more like a pavilion than a living room.

“The windows and doors enable an ease of movement to the landscape, promoting an active lifestyle,” Murdough says. “On the other hand, they allow a reading of warm interiors from the outside, providing an invitation to a comforting and secure interior.” In the midst of summer when the surrounding trees are thick and lush, the house catches the eye with its rich color palette and open spaces. And for Murdough and his family, it’s the perfect place to relax for years to come. “The point of being there is to be in nature—that’s the whole joy.”


For Rolf Hirschmann of H. Hirschmann Ltd., the greatest aspect of working on this project was the “development of a personal relationship with Tom and his family.” Hirschmann provided the glass expanses that allow “fluent transitions” between home and site. The collaboration was successful and, he says, “the result feels very harmonic.”

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