Family excited to live in Bangor Habitat home

Posted Oct. 29, 2010, at 10:09 p.m.
From right: Tommy Brangwynne, 13, Courtney Brangwynne, 23, mother Linda Brangwynne, Andrew Brangwynne, 21, Olivia Brangwynne,10, and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Bangor operating manager Amanda Charette gathered in the family's new kitchen while giving the local media a tour of the Brangwynne family's new home Friday afternoon, Oct. 29, 2010. (Bangor Daily News/John Clarke Russ)
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From right: Tommy Brangwynne, 13, Courtney Brangwynne, 23, mother Linda Brangwynne, Andrew Brangwynne, 21, Olivia Brangwynne,10, and Habitat for Humanity of Greater Bangor operating manager Amanda Charette gathered in the family's new kitchen while giving the local media a tour of the Brangwynne family's new home Friday afternoon, Oct. 29, 2010. (Bangor Daily News/John Clarke Russ)
Tom Brangwynne helps wheel his son, Andrew Brangwynne, 21, over the loose gravel of their driveway as the Brangwynne family and officials with  Habitat for Humanity of Greater Bangor showed off the Brangwynne family's new home on Fifth Street in Bangor Friday afternoon, Oct. 29, 2010. Behind them are Andrew's sister, Olivia Brangwynne, 10 and Habitat for Humanity operating manager Amanda Charette (near front door). (Bangor Daily News/John Clarke Russ)
BDN
Tom Brangwynne helps wheel his son, Andrew Brangwynne, 21, over the loose gravel of their driveway as the Brangwynne family and officials with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Bangor showed off the Brangwynne family's new home on Fifth Street in Bangor Friday afternoon, Oct. 29, 2010. Behind them are Andrew's sister, Olivia Brangwynne, 10 and Habitat for Humanity operating manager Amanda Charette (near front door). (Bangor Daily News/John Clarke Russ)

BANGOR, Maine — For Tom and Linda Brangwynne and their children, one of the coolest things about moving into their new four-bedroom home at 180 Fifth St. is being able to pick out the paint colors.

The family has been living in rental apartments since moving from Massachusetts 10 years ago to be closer to relatives in Maine.

“We’ve had eggshell for 20 years,” Tom Brangwynne said Friday while giving a tour of the one-level four-bedroom house the family is moving into on Monday, thanks to help from Habitat for Humanity of Greater Bangor.

To that end, the four bedrooms have been painted in an array of eye-popping hues, including a vivid purple, deep blue and bright turquoise.

The exception is the bedroom earmarked for their oldest child, 21-year-old Andrew, who uses a wheelchair and suffers from seizures because of a chromosome disorder that required the removal of part of his brain. His bedroom is a soothing blue-green, much like the color of lake ice in winter.

The house also will be home to 17-year-old Emily, who is a student at Bangor High School; Tommy, 13, who attends James F. Doughty School; and Olivia, 10, who goes to Fairmount School.

The only sibling not moving in is Courtney, 23, who has a place of her own. She recently graduated from the University of Maine with a degree in elementary education and is substitute teaching at Hampden Academy while waiting for a permanent position to open up.

Clad in moss-green siding, the one-level house is handicapped-accessible, with two bathrooms and a full basement the Brangwynnes would like to convert into a family room where they can play games or watch television together. The house sits on a parcel of land donated to Habitat for Humanity by the city of Bangor five years ago.

The real estate closing is scheduled for Monday but the Brangwynnes hope to start moving their furniture and other belongings the day before because a friend has offered the use of a large truck.

Next week’s move will be family’s 15th in the 25 years the Brangwynnes have been married.

“This is a dream come true. This will be our final move,” Tom Brangwynne said.

Among the project aspects Lufkin takes pride in is the house’s energy efficiency, which he said far surpasses standards for new construction.

Construction began on July 17 and involved 170 people, the vast majority of them volunteers, according to Lin Lufkin, a well-known local construction supervisor who sits on the Habitat chapter’s board and oversaw the construction project.

The Brangwynne family was required as a Habitat for Humanity beneficiary to put at least 350 hours of “sweat equity” into the home.

In addition, several local contractors pitched in, including Lane Construction and its Wardwell Contracting division, Kinney Electric of Brewer and ABM Mechanical Inc., a Bangor company that does plumbing and heating, Lufkin said.

But not all of the helpers were local. A friend of the couple’s from Massachusetts came up to tackle the electrical work. A U.S. Navy group and a retired New York City cop who had always wanted to visit Maine also assisted, Lufkin said. The project also got a boost from a group of teenagers from a New Hampshire summer camp.

Amanda Charette, who became Habitat’s operations manager last fall, already is gearing up for the chapter’s next house, to be built in the spring on a piece of donated land near Mary Snow School.

With her first house project under her belt, Charette is fired up. She said Friday that she has set the ambitious goal of increasing the number of houses the chapter builds from one every other year to two a year.

The community is invited to a dedication and blessing ceremony for the new house, which is set for 2-4 p.m. today at 180 Fifth St.

To see pictures of the house being built and for more information about Habitat for Humanity of Greater Bangor, visit its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hfhgb.

dgagnon@bangordailynews.com

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