Snapshot: Ben Pilchard

Occupation: I’m the owner of Academy Design and Construction, and Kitchens By Academy, both in Newtown. I started Academy in 1989. It’s a high-end residential design and construction firm. Our Kitchens By Academy provides for a cross section of the market, based on the customer’s price point and aesthetics. I have an architectural degree and my designs have been featured in the Art Institute of Chicago, and I’ve won international design competitions. Right now, our office is located in the old Ruffels homestead on the corner of Mt Pleasant and Saw Mill.

Family: I’ve been married to Kirstin for three and a half years. She’s a physician. My brother, Ted, runs the businesses with me. My mom, Melissa, sold real estate in town and was very active in Newtown politics. She and my dad, Charles, have retired to New Jersey.

Pets: We have a dog, Luna, who is neighbors with The Bee office dog, Tique. She’s 5 years old. Luna is our “child,” but we’re in the process of looking for another puppy.

How long have you lived in Newtown? I grew up in Newtown and graduated from Newtown High School in 1984. I went to school in Philadelphia, and returned to Newtown in 1989.

What do you like to do in your free time? I love to fish, and spend time with my wife, and with my brother. We like to try the local restaurants, and just get out and enjoy Newtown. I play hockey with a men’s league out of Ridgefield/Danbury, about three to five times a week. I love hockey! I do a lot of drawing, reading, and writing.

What have you read recently? For recreational reading, probably the most recent things I’ve read are Dan Brown’s books. Angels and Demons was most interesting to me. The way he melds the historic and fiction, and his descriptions of the architecture are accurate and appealing to me. The research he’s done in writing the books keeps me interested.

Do you have a favorite travel destination? I’d say Europe, Rome and the Greek Isles, especially. I spent six months in Rome, when I was in school. Rome was just magnificent, with its architecture and piazzas and history. The richness of it all changed my perspective on how to blend all of that together.

What is the best thing about Newtown? Newtown has been my whole life. Being able to have friends and family here is fantastic. I also love Main Street, how picturesque it is.

What is the biggest change you have seen in Newtown? The increase in traffic, and the disappearance of farmland. There are so many vistas not there anymore, as farmland turns back into forest.

Who has been the greatest influence in your life? It’s a combination of everyone in my life, and everyone who has ever been in my life, that shapes who I am. I was also greatly influenced by the development of Newtown, as I was growing up.

Do you have a personal philosophy? You only go around once, so it’s best to try to do it right the first time. Have fun and enjoy life, but realize every day is not a bed of roses. I like to say, some days you’re the fly; some days, you’re the windshield.

Do you have a guilty pleasure? Just being able to take some time to sit on the couch and watch some sports. And it sounds silly — I’m very health conscious, so after lunch I love to have just one mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Besides my wife, it’s my one sweet.

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