May 30, 2011
Nation's Building News

The Official Online Weekly Newspaper of NAHB

Floor Plans: Modular Interpretation Brings Colonial-Era Farmhouse Into 21st Century

In historic Concord, Mass., not too far from where a handful of Minutemen loaded their muskets and fired upon 700 advancing British Army regulars during the opening salvo of the Revolutionary War, there stands a modern interpretation of a colonial-era home styled after a New England farmhouse.

The four-bedroom, 3,800-square-foot modular home — manufactured by Preferred Building Systems and built by Sterling Homes Development Corp. — features a farmer’s front porch with painted balusters, a mudroom, crown molding, chair rails and hand-built cabinets — much like its 18th century predecessors. But that’s where the similarities end.

Kitchen island with seating for three

Modern Conveniences Abound

The home, which earned a 2011 Excellence in Home Design: Modular award in the NAHB Building Systems Councils Excellence in Design & Marketing competition, also boasts many of the conveniences and sustainable amenities a young, environmentally conscious family of four would want in a modern home.

There’s an attached two-car garage — with two mahogany, barn door-style garage doors — cement board pre-painted clapboard siding to endure harsh New England winters, random-length bamboo flooring, energy-efficient appliances, an on-demand water heater, a central vacuum system and all the modern advantages of modular construction, including a tight, energy-efficient building envelope, a shorter on-site construction time and reduced on-site waste.

Custom mahogany barn door-style garage doors

Design Cues From the Past, Built With an Eye to the Future

Although the owners chose to build their home in a style that would blend with its historic surroundings, they specified an open floor plan, with divided living spaces, that will meet their family's needs in the years ahead.

The kitchen, dining room and family room flow together and provide ample room for formal and informal entertaining. The kitchen features an island with seating for three, a floor-to-ceiling custom pantry, a desk, hand-built maple cabinets, stainless steel appliances and a “subway”-style tiled backsplash.

The family room features a gas fireplace with a custom stone surround.

Custom stone surround for fireplace in family room

Completing the first floor is a formal entry with a custom staircase, a study set off from the main entertainment area and, in the rear, a mudroom with stone tiling, custom bench seating, cubby holes and pegs to hang coats.

Master bedroom

Built and Occupied in Less Than Four Months

The master bedroom suite, three additional bedrooms, an additional full bath and the laundry area are on the second floor. The master suite features a dressing area, large walk-in closet with custom cherry cabinets and a spacious shower with a custom glass shower door enclosure.

Bonus room with ping-pong table and full bath

The home also boasts a bonus room and full bath over the garage that can be accessed from the mudroom. The family uses it as a media area and to play ping-pong, a game that originated in England more than a century after the Revolution.

Construction on the home began in late July 2009 and was completed in less than four months, avoiding much of the winter. An occupancy permit was granted in November 2009.


Dining room

A modern kitchen with stainless appliances and bamboo flooring

Custom staircase in the foyer

Master bath

Rear elevation

First floor.
Click for larger image.

Second floor.
Click for larger image.

Features and Specifications

Building Team


  • 3,800-square-foot, New England-style farmhouse single-family home 
  • Four bedrooms 
  • Three full baths, one half-bath 
  • Two-car garage with custom mahogany garage doors
  • Farmer’s front porch with painted mahogany balusters
  • Cement board pre-painted custom color clapboards 


  • Random-length bamboo flooring throughout entire house with the exception of bathrooms
  • High-efficiency furnaces
  • Heat recovery system
  • On-demand water heater
  • Central vacuum system


  • Custom front stairway with box newel posts, square balusters and oak treads


  • Maple custom-made kitchen cabinets
  • Stainless steel appliances
  • “Subway”-style tiling for kitchen backsplash
  • “Caesar Stone” countertops

Living room

  • Custom stone fireplace surround

Owner's Suite

  • Cherry closets
  • Stone tiling in master bath
  • Custom glass shower enclosure


  • Stone tiling
  • Custom bench seating with bead board backing, cubby holes, pegs to hang

Also in This Issue