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Martina Berger did not set out to win a dejected award in aftermost year’s Applique Abode antagonism at Discover Portsmouth. Her comestible entry, a activity of love, was a absolute calibration archetypal of the Portsmouth home her 94-year-old grandfathering had advised and built. William E. Gindele, an architect, acted as her consultant.

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“I accept all these memories of actuality in that house,” Martina says. “I consistently advised it array of my additional home. I was activity over best mornings to accept coffee with my grandpa. It was a nice tradition. We had a lot of conversations about philosophy, about architecture, and about activity in general.”

“I had capital to access the claiming for a few years,” she continues. “My grampa and I had talked about it. But I’d never fabricated a applique house. And I absolutely didn’t accept the bandwidth to allot the time I capital to put into it until aftermost year.”

Berger, 26, anecdotal her applique adventure aftermost anniversary in a buzz account from her New York Burghal accommodation area she is a first-year law apprentice at Columbia University. She grew up in the Portsmouth academy arrangement and accelerating from Phillips Exeter Academy and Middlebury College, afore alive three “stressful, animated years” accomplishing acknowledged abstracts assignment and acknowledged analysis in Boston.

“We talked about accomplishing the applique abode together,“ Martina says of her grandfather, “but I knew, in the end, it would aloof be me.”

Gindele provided her with a attic plan from the aboriginal architectonics of his abode and they scaled it bottomward to fit the claiming rules.

“I capital it to be as authentic as possible,” she laughs, “because I knew my grandfathering was a stickler for details. I knew I’d be critiqued.”

Martina absorbed herself in the activity for a anniversary aftermost fall. With its acclaim slanted roof and rooftop balcony, her grandfather’s abode presented a structural challenge. All 20-something windows were created by cloudburst broiled butterscotch candies into cut-out spaces. The clear-cut panes, added by an autogenous ablaze bulb, gave the abode a warm, busy glow, Martina says.

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She experimented with confectionery techniques to actualize the trim and siding, railings, and brick foundation, additional surrounding trees, bushes, a brick walkway, and added details. She placed a bonbon snowman in the backyard and comestible reindeer on the roof.

“I array of Googled about for assertive account and added things I fabricated up depending on what I saw in the grocery store,” she recalls. “I anticipate it’s important to accord the abode character, but additionally it should be amusing and fun to attending at.”

Among her fondest adolescence memories, the beginning advocate recalls, were trips to the abounding Portsmouth celebrated houses with her grandfather. The 1715-era brick Warner Abode on Daniel Street was their favorite. It was a applique archetypal of the Warner Abode at an beforehand contest, in fact, that aggressive Martina to approach her grandfather’s Clinton Street home.

Gindele, who fought in the foxholes of Europe in World War II, was a alum of the Columbia Academy of Architecture. The ancestor of bristles daughters, he retired to Portsmouth to alive abutting aperture to his abandoned two grandchildren, Martina and her brother Cristoph, and congenital his abode nearby.

Gindele admired the architectonics of “the Old Boondocks by the Sea” and congenital his abode with the acceptable appearance that ill-fitted the city, Martina says. He admired the affection of abstracts bodies acclimated about actuality aback in the day, and the time invested in architectonics article both admirable and functional.

“I anticipate he lamented that such anticipation and such address were generally not accomplished anymore,” she says.

As the borderline loomed, Martina spent abundant of the aftermost few canicule decorating her applique access at her grandpa’s home.

“The final black afore I angry it in, I was up appealing backward aggravating to get the roof to break put,” she says. “He was aggravating to accumulate me company, but he fell comatose on the couch. He saw the final artefact the abutting morning.”

Portsmouth is acclaimed for affective absolute houses about town. Stoodley’s Tavern, the Daniel Webster House, the Goodwin Mansion, the Oracle Abode and the Joshua Wentworth House, for example, are no best on their aboriginal foundations, what architects alarm “in situ.” Affective is additionally the best alarming allotment of applique abode construction.

“That allotment was scary,” Martina agrees. Her archetypal house, congenital on a board platform, was cautiously covered in a agenda box. “For the transport, I sat in the aback of my mom’s car captivation assimilate it and she drove, because I was too afraid to let it sit there alone.”

The antagonism amid makers of all ages, as always, was impressive. Martina chock-full by Discover Portsmouth a brace of times during the anniversary division to analysis on her entry.

“I was aggravating to apprehend what bodies said about our house,” she admits, “but eavesdropping is harder than you ability think.”

She was at the exhibition with her mother and aunt the night the winners were announced. Martina won aboriginal award-winning in the developed category, again alternate with her mentor. His joy, she says, was the greatest award-winning of all.

“I got a dejected ribbon, which I gave to my grandpa. He was so happy. We took the applique abode home afterwards and had it as a centerpiece for Christmas dinner,” she says. “He admired to attending at it and he would allure bodies in, like the mail woman, to see it.”

It was the aftermost anniversary the ancestors would absorb with Gindele. He anesthetized abroad in March, aloof shy of his 95th birthday, in the Portsmouth abode he advised and built.

There are attenuate moments, if we’re lucky, back the past, present, and approaching assume to coalesce. This was one of them. Today, Martina talks about her grandfather’s activity and bequest comfortably, happily, and with pride. In retrospect, she says, reconstructing Gindele’s abode out of bonbon and block was the absolute affair to do at absolutely the appropriate time.

Today, Berger is focused on accepting her law degree. Her dream, she says, is accepting a job in the acreage of federal apprenticeship policy, or brainy bloom action or altitude change. She’s still alive out the details.

Does the approaching advocate accept any admonition for this year’s applique abode contestants? She’s still a amateur in that field, Martina says. Her acceptable was abandoned “a fluke,” a blessed accident.

After a anxious pause, she sums up. “I assumption I’d aloof say – aces article you’re amorous about. The added invested you can be in it from a claimed or affecting standpoint, the better. I mean, in hindsight, it seems like such a baby thing.” But it was no baby affair at heart, she knows. Not a baby affair at all.

J. Dennis Robinson is the columnist of a dozen books including his best contempo illustrated history of Portsmouth’s battleground Music Hall. He writes about history every anniversary for the Portsmouth Herald.


The Portsmouth Historical Society is gluttonous entries to its 30th anniversary Applique Abode Contest. The appropriate affair this year is “Home for the Holidays.” Entrants of all ages may accept to charm a bounded celebrated house, their own home, a admired city atom or a bit of different architecture. Several houses will be displayed in the windows of city businesses. Entries charge be registered no after than Nov. 9. Completed applique houses charge be delivered to the Discover Portsmouth Welcome Center Nov. 13 to 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For access guidelines, registration, tips and updates, appointment or alarm (603) 436-8433.

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