The Shoreland Water Quality Protection Act (RSA 483-B) is an important safeguard for one of New Hampshire’s most precious and valuable natural resources, our Lakes and smaller bodies of water.  Maintaining water quality is essential in protecting our quality of life, the health of the environment, the natural beauty we are so proud of, and NH’s tourism industry and economy.  Earlier this month, “Senate Bill 30” went into effect.  As part of this bill, a few important changes are taking place regarding the SWQPA.

The most noticeable change will be in calculating the vegetative score of waterfront sites.  In the past, sites were divided into 50’x50’ segments along the length of a parcel’s shoreline.  These sections are scored based on the sizes, quantities, and types of vegetation located within.  For example, a 6”-12” caliper tree is worth 10 points, 15 points for a tree greater than 12”, and there are points per square foot of natural groundcover.   The minimum score to be maintained was 50 points.   The new bill has changed this grid to 50’x25’ and has proportionately decreased the minimum score from 50 to 25.

The “Natural Woodland Buffer,” was defined as the area located between 50’ and 150’ of the Reference Line (mean high water elevation).  The definition has been replaced by two new terms.  The “Woodland Buffer” and “Natural Woodland.” The “Woodland Buffer” is now defined as the area between the reference line and 150’, including the 50’ “Waterfront Buffer”. “Natural Woodland” is defined as “a forested area consisting of various species of trees, saplings, shrubs, and ground covers in any combination and at any stage of growth”. Within the Woodland Buffer between 50’ and 150’, 25% needs to be maintained in an unaltered state or improved with additional vegetation as” Natural Woodland.” Other changes apply more to the administrative policies and do not affect the design or management of the shorefront. 

It is important to remember that even though these changes have gone into effect on the state level, most towns (New London, Newbury, Sunapee, for example) have their requirements for their respective zoning ordinances.  These regulations are often more stringent than the state’s and must be followed. These laws, state or local, are designed to protect our water resources, keeping New Hampshire beautiful and clean.


Craftsmanship - "the quality of design and work in something made by hand; artistry." 

Build - "to cause to be constructed."

All houses are built; however, craftsmanship sets a home apart. Quality, durability, thoughtfulness in design, and artistry are attributes found throughout the process of creating a custom home. The design process contains skill and understanding as an architect brings the functional needs and a family’s vision of their home to life. The construction process then integrates many trades, masons, and carpenters, for example, each with their unique experience and knowledge of their craft, further building upon the whole of the design.


For example, as the masons complete work on this chimney, their attention to detail and artistry will be followed and complimented by the carpenter's millwork and finally the cedar shingles on wall and roof. Traditional materials, thoughtful design, and craftsmanship from talented builders result in a unique home to be enjoyed by generations to come.




Many lakefront homes existed before the adoption of zoning regulations. In part, this is both benefit and challenge when building a new home. For these homeowners, it was the impetus for freedom in design focused on family and enjoyment of the Lake.

Striving for creative solutions that were “ any way fun and inventive”, the clients eagerly asked we share all concepts with them during the architectural design process. Unique ideas and existing treasures were consistently explored and incorporated; such as the salvaged porthole windows and the reclaimed chestnut in the recreation room. The narrow lot offered challenges imposed by setbacks from neighbors and Lake Sunapee itself. However, creativity and thoughtful arrangement of rooms allow the design to capture views from all levels of the home. The highlight, a folding glass NanaWall for unobstructed lake views from the main floor.

Thank you, Rick and Cindy, for sharing your adventure with us! It was a pleasure, and we wish you many, many years of enjoyment on the lake with family and friends.



“From the first meeting to the move in date, Bonin Architects was there for us all along the way… extremely professional and their positive demeanor made the project very enjoyable. I would definitely build another house with them!”

- Rick, Newbury, NH


What specifically does an architect do? How does it add value to my project? These are questions you may ask yourself, yet seldom is that question directly asked of us. The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards defines the role of an architect as, “…the primary building professional qualified to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public through the enhancement of the quality of the built environment and the richness of space and form.” We feel this an appropriate definition, pragmatic and poetic, as is our role. The professional caring for the well-being of your family while also attending to the quality of space where your family lives and gathers. 

On several occasions, while interviewed for publication, this question was considered. In one article the value was defined as, “An Architect will enrich the process through integrity, conscientious design, environmental awareness and the application of skills specific to their trade. When you involve an Architect, you are ensuring that your welfare and vision are paramount.”, in a separate article, “Designing and building a home is a new experience for the majority of homeowners, merely defining the scope of the project can be a daunting task. Hiring an architect is one of the best first steps. The architect is the owner’s representative, keeping the owner’s vision, needs, and desires in mind, with the primary goal a successful project.”

We believe a successful project is meeting the client’s vision and budget with as few difficulties as possible. As one periodical summarized, “Any choice that improves the impact that the home will have is an improvement worth pursuing. Hiring an Architect is one such choice.”

For more information, contact us at any time.

Analytics Made Easy - StatCounter