For Ray Berg (at left in photo), it’s part of his dream of building “new old houses.” After they built the Berg home, he and custom-home builder Jeff Proctor started a company called Manchester Victorians that caters to seekers of similar modern retro residential projects.
A retired engineering professor who is president of Manchester’s chamber of commerce, Berg is a history buff as well as an experienced builder. He likes the look of Victorians but not the upkeep and space limitations of a historic home. In his own house, he found ways to replicate the old look with new materials, such as fiber-cement siding instead of wood. “The pitches and proportions still match a Victorian exterior,” he says. “There are just many options and amenities available that let you have the distinctive look and charm of an old house to match modern needs.”
Rather than the dark woods, antique-filled rooms, and narrow hallways of a typical Victorian, the interior of Berg’s 3,500-square-foot home has a light and airy open plan. Where the parlor would be on the first floor is a master bedroom with bath. The turret room upstairs is an office. Extensive windows that look out on flower gardens and a creek are energy efficient. The carriage house is designed for cars, not horses.
The red barn out back was built in 2005 with post-and-beam construction, after Berg made a careful study of historic barns in the region. It closely resembles century-old local barns—except for its ¬climate-controlled workshop.