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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Tours To Raise Revenue For Pownal Bell Tower

By Susan Bush
10:35PM / Friday, June 08, 2007

Brookside Construction Co. owner Pauline Guntlow will host a June 23 tour of homes to raise money for a Pownal Community Church bell tower rehabilitation project. [Photo by Sue Bush]
Pownal, Vt. - For those who've never seen an authentic antique copper and tin bathing tub crafted in France and still functional, the opportunity has arrived.

Area contractor Pauline Guntlow is an aficionado of antiques and history, and her talents as an interior space designer are well-known.

As the owner of the Brookside Construction Co., she has designed over 19 homes over a 21-year span; as an author, she's penned a book titled "Be Your Own Home Decorator: Creating the Look You Love Without Spending A Fortune." Her expertise has been showcased on television programs such as HGTV [House and Garden television network] and the Discovery Channel.


This Pownal, Vt. home is part of a scheduled June 23 fundraiser tour. [Photo by Sue Bush]
And her love for authentic items from yesteryear has prompted Guntlow to offer a four-hour three-home June 23 tour of properties she's designed. All tour revenues will bedonated to the Pownal Center Community Church bell tower restoration fund, she said during a morning interview.

The Saturday event will begin at noon and conclude at 4 p.m.. Tour participants must transport themselves to each house.

The Bell Tower

The 11,000-pound bell tower was lifted in one piece from the church roof during a September undertaking that utilized the labors of the Greater Heights Tree and Land Management company and Burgess Brothers Construction Co.. The tower is part of a church that was built in 1843. It was removed after an engineer with the Zaremba-Sopko firm of Troy N.Y, reported that it was in imminent danger of collapse.

The tower sat throughout the winter alongside the church and the hope has always been that the tower and the roof could be repaired and the tower returned to its' perch atop the church. An architectural report about the project is expected to be received next week, Guntlow said.

An effort to raise money for the project has been initiated and fliers seeking donations have been arriving in town resident mailboxes, including Guntlow's, she said.

If A City Can Save Steeples, A Town Should Save A Tower

"The flier came in the mail and I thought 'what can I do that would really help?'" she said. "Then I got the idea for a tour. Tickets for these tours usually go for around $15, $20, I said 'I'll have the tour and let people donate what they want.' That way, maybe more people will come and we can raise some money for the bell tower."

"I love historical things and I honestly believe we need to put the tower back up on the church," she said. "If North Adams can save its' steeples, we should be able to save this bell tower."

An antique copper and tin bathing tub[Photo by Sue Bush]


The homes featured on the tour are at Ridge View Road and Mason Hill Road South in Pownal and Syndicate Road in Williamstown. Ridge View is a left turn off of Mason Hill Road South. The 301 Syndicate Road property may be found by turning onto Syndicate Road from Route 7. The house is the first right once a person has turned onto Syndicate Road.

The Williamsburg Colonial style home is painted green.

The Ridge View property was built with a gambrel roof and the Mason Hill Road South home boasts an Ashfield stone patio and sunken garden, which is in bloom.

Open House Style

Guntlow said she hopes the tour will draw people who enjoy viewing upscale homes and those who may be seeking decorating or renovation ideas for their own homes.

"I welcome people to come and get some inspiration from something I've done," she said. "There will be knowledgeable people at each house and of course I'll be going around from house to house. I will be happy to talk with anyone about their ideas."

Guntlow suggested those interested in the tours begin at Syndicate Road and then travel to Ridge View.

"These are not escorted tours, it's open house style," she said.

Each home has a unique style. One Ridge View home features ceiling-based sun tubes, which Guntlow dubbed "mini skylights," a built-in kitchen countertop steamer, central vacuum system, and stone fireplace. All the homes were built to five-star energy standards and are heat efficient, she said. All the properties offer beautiful mountain and meadow views and are virtual eye-candy for those who appreciate home architecture and interior design.


One of the many bedrooms to be viewed on the tour.[Photo by Sue Bush]
Guntlow recently closed the doors to Village Coiffs, a Williamstown hair salon she operated for over 30 years. She is almost finished with a new book about home decorating, she said.

Local Focus

Guntlow relies on local contractors to build, wire, and plumb her homes and much of that labor comes from Pownal, she said. George Messina Builders worked at all three properties and tackled stone work at the Mason Hill Road South property and the Ridge View property.

vermont-based contractor Herb Stratton and his employees built the fireplaces. Local contractors Nate Martel and John Weeden worked at the sites as well, and Guntlow purchased paint from the Leonard's True Value Store on Route 7 in Pownal, she said.

Another of the original Pauline Guntlow-designed bedrooms included in a three-home June 23 tour to benefit the Pownal Community Church bell tower project.[Photo by Sue Bush]


"I like that the so much work was done by local contractors because this is a local fundraiser for a local church," she said. "I'm excited about this idea. I really hope people come on the tours because I really want to help with bell tower."

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or 413-663-3384 ext. 29.
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