Building Business: The Meeting House at Redbrook
Historically, the quintessential New England hamlet was rural and would typically broaden from relatively dense residential areas to the wider spaces needed for pastures and fields. Redbrook aims to imitate that progression, as does The Meeting House itself. Says Saltonstall, “The building has three masses, and it mimics the way farm houses expand.” Each section of The Meeting House has its own distinct texture, which serves both to emphasize some of Redbrook’s themes and to showcase its styles. The middle part is shingled, with an inviting front porch. This portion of the building was also designed to require no staffing; it can remain open to the public when the two wings are closed. Residents and visitors are welcome to stop in. To the right of the entrance, the largest wing has clapboard siding and another covered porch. Its interior currently houses the development’s main showroom along with offices for the marketing and sales departments. The final wing of the house features a board-and-batten exterior, the vertical style so prominent in the region’s classic barns.
This wing, painted a deep cranberry red, also hosts Redbrook’s cafe and catering business, appropriately named The Farmer’s Table. The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch all day, and the owner, a teacher at Johnson and Wales University, also prepares take-out orders, offers cooking lessons, caters fundraisers and community events, and serves special dinners such as the Full Moon Dinner held in early November. “The location of The Farmer’s Table right on the green is important to us,” says Linda Burke of the A.D. Makepeace Company.
Elements from The Meeting House appear in a number of offerings available in Redbrook’s inventory of homes, all of which continue to draw from the A.D. Makepeace Company’s history in cranberry farming. To help achieve this continuity, Saltonstall Architects designed four of the original prototype houses and the YMCA building across the Village Green. The Valle Group would build the first two neighborhoods to begin their work at Redbrook, and the company’s signature, “homes that beautifully blend indoor and outdoor living,” would fit Redbrook’s theme to perfection. “The home styles we have built are a microcosm of the architecture and finishes in The Meeting House,” says Christian Valle, president of The Valle Group.
Just as the exterior of The Meeting House offers a preview of Redbrook’s outward appearances, its interior serves a similar function. “The palette of interior finishes throughout The Meeting House is meant to be warm, welcoming, and consistent with locally sourced materials,” Saltonstall notes. “The floors in the two wings are made with antique reclaimed wood that looks like boards from old barns.” In addition, Burke says, “In the public spaces inside, the décor, curated by the NE Collaborative Design Group LLC, reflects the A.D. Makepeace Company logo and its berry red and leafy green colors.” White beadboard cabinetry, shutters designed to look like barn doors, a lit version of Redbrook’s master plan under glass, and the entry room’s flagstone floor are just some of the highlights. Also, “The large, 1,600-square-foot great room for entertaining features a stone fireplace and an enlarged timber mantle along with custom built-ins and woodwork such as sliding doors that cover the TV and reception areas,” Valle says.
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