Great Room Company, Portsmouth, NH - Newburyport, MA
Great Room Company, Portsmouth, NH - Newburyport, MA
Great Room Company, Portsmouth, NH - Newburyport, MA

Local Company Featured on HGTV

Fosters Daily Democrat

Foster's Online, Tuesday, August 5, 2003


Local company featured on HGTV



Democrat Staff Writer


North Hampton — A local company was recently featured nationally on cable television and more gigs are coming up.

Three homes, which were designed and custom-built by The Great Room Co. of Portsmouth, are being shown on Home and Garden Television. Two episodes of "Bed & Bath Design" as well as one episode of "Kitchen Design" recently aired, featuring two homes built by The Great Room as well as one of the company’s employees. Additional episodes will be shown Wednesday at 10 p.m. and Aug. 15 at 4:30 p.m.

The filming took place last spring at three homes in Hampton Falls, North Hampton and Moody Beach, Maine.

Mike and Maureen Gnecco own one of the featured homes. "It was fun," Mike said of the filming. The Gneccos wanted the home to look its best, Mike said.

When the couple saw their house on national television, Mike said they were satisfied with what they saw. "The house looked good." But, both added jokingly, they were not happy with themselves and how they appeared. It was the first time for the family of four to see the house and themselves on television. "It’s kind of weird to see yourself," Mike said.

The Gneccos have been living at their home in North Hampton for four years and it took about nine months to build the shingle-style house. It was the couple’s first experience with custom-building a home from scratch.

The design phase took three to four months, Mike said. The construction of the house is high quality and the family is satisfied with what they got, Mike said, praising The Great Room for a wonderful job.

"You don’t know quality until you live in it," Mike said. For their house, which inside is very open with large windows facing conservation land in the back, Maureen said she wanted to avoid what bothered her at prior homes in which the couple lived. There are no formal dining or living rooms since those areas were barely used by the family at their earlier homes.

The house has a more conservative appearance from the front with smaller windows. The living space is the perfect size, Maureen said. A television crew filmed each of the homes for an entire day.

Maureen said the couple was being interviewed for a majority of the morning while the film crew shot around their house most of the afternoon.

Michelle Shields, designer of The Great Room, said the television crew shot the entire houses. "It’s been a real fun, different thing for us," she said.

One of the company’s principals, Olivia Sanderson, said HGTV contacted The Great Room after locating the company on the Internet.

The Great Room designs and custom-builds homes and completes major renovations as well as additions, said Paul Demars, also a principal of The Great Room. The company started in Portsmouth in 1993 and has since built houses primarily in the Seacoast.

Demars said The Great Room representatives spend a lot of time with their clients. Not one of the houses the company designs and builds looks like another, Shields said. They are built exactly how the customer wants them and the process starts with a blank sheet of paper.

It is truly the clients’ touch under the watchful eye of The Great Room that makes each house unique to its owners, Sanderson said.

Pricing comes early on the process and the company makes sure a home fits in the budget. The company helps create a better living environment than the average house, but tries to stay within a reasonable cost, Demars said.

The Gneccos said they see themselves living at their home for many years — or at least until their two sons, ages 8 and 12, leave the house, Maureen said.

The upcoming episode on Wednesday will feature a segment on Shaker design and the Gneccos’ kitchen. Maureen explained that Shaker style means having a functional environment with simplistic and clean lines.