"we are in the business of preserving and improving human lifeall of our actions must be measured by our success in achieving this goal."

- Merck & Company  Whitehouse Station, NJ.   More Quotes Please!


The home building surge of the 1950s has helped to create what has become a huge remodeling market. There are more than 100 million homes that are ideal candidates for updating and retrofitting. As opposed to large energy-draining McMansion houses popular in the 1980s, recent studies indicate that homeowners now crave greener and smaller homes with an open floor plan, and these homes will only continue to grow in popularity as energy costs continue to rise.

The 1,780 sf Beach House Retrofit Project is a working model of the ultimate green retrofit home. The vast majority of the design, techniques, materials, products and approach used in the project can be applied to ANY other homes to achieve the same environmentally sound living space. The Beach House Retrofit Project will stand, not only as an inspiration for current and potential homeowners, but for industry professionals as well.

As with many older homes, the 1932 bungalow structure, which for many years actually did serve as a beach house, was quickly fading away and falling into disrepair. Located at 14 Gilbert Street, the home is situated on the west shore of Truesdale lake in South Salem, a hamlet of Lewisboro, NY.

For a reduced impact on the environment, and because we can all live better in smaller homes, the existing building footprint of this home remained intact, and in fact, was actually reduced by 60 sf. That is not to say that the home does not feel bigger than actually is. There are many ways to make any home feel more spacious, the main one being adequate design.

The retrofitted, modern bungalow home features an open floor plan with the kitchen, dining and lounge areas on the main floor. Here, floor to ceiling glass doors invite the outside in with views of the waterfront and, with a wide welcoming patio, is designed to encourage outdoor living. A two-sided stone fireplace provides warmth and serves as a focal design element. The first level also includes a wet bar that 'spills outside', a mudroom and half bath.

The upper level features an outstanding master suite with a two-sided gas fireplace, a soaking tub, and a state-of-the-art shower. All with sweeping waterfront views as well.  Two additional bedrooms, another bathroom and laundry facilities complete the floor.

The lower level, aka the basement, features yet another fireplace, this one without combustibles, only the electric type; a large flat screen TV sits just above it. On the South side, where you find plenty of natural light, a gym area is inviting you for a periodic visit. But perhaps you will prefer to pay a visit to the custom vintage wine cellar instead, which is just a few steps prior. And finally, two small closets contains the silent mechanical equipment of the house that quietly keeps it humming night and day, all year around.



Below is our comprehensive list of products
we carefully selected for their innovative building materials
and/or for their outstanding services,
featuring the following 6 companies:


DaVinci Roofscapes Polymer Roof Tiles

Innovative Air Solutions, serving Westchester NY

Kleer - Cellular PVC Trim Products

Kohler Plumbing Fixtures

The Unico System - Small Duct HVAC

American Clay - The Original Earth Plaster Wall Products


Alternative Building SystemsDow rigid insulation boards is continuous and installed on both the existing exterior walls and the roof
Appliances: Refrigerator: Liebherr. Range: Capital. Dishwashers: Asko & Bosch. Washer & dryer: Whirlpool. Built-in outdoor gas grill & accessories: Twin Eagles
Building Envelope: Existing structure
 Custom fabricated on site from reclaimed pine & White Oak, which includes kitchen cabinetry & the floating shelving, 3 vanities, the lounge bar & the floating shelving, the mini-office area, the mudroom cabinetry, the laundry room cabinetry, 3 built-in benches, and finally several built-ins, all fabricated with reclaimed wood from both the existing home and a local barn. Cabinetry sliders & hinges by Blum; custom stainless steel bar pulls by Arthur Harris & Co.
Central VacVacuflo, equipped with Hide-A-Hose system
Countertops: Limestone, local reclaimed White Oak
Decks (balcony): Kleer by Tapco Group
Door/Hardware: Interior & exterior doors: Simpson. Hardware: Emtek. Shed doors: reclaimed from the existing home

Exterior Finishes: Siding: James Hardie. Millwork: Kleer
Fireplace: Electric & Gas fireplaces: Napoleon. Wood burning fireplace: custom. Backyard fire table: Restoration Hardware
Flooring: Kitchen, Ĺ bath & hallway bath: limestone. Upper floor, incl master bath: reclaimed Doug Fir from the existing home. Main floor: reclaimed Doug Fir, 2 x10ís, ripped in half, from a NYC brownstone
Furniture: Custom, fabricated on site from reclaimed pine & White Oak, which includes a dining table, a 3-piece sofa, 3 bed platforms, all fabricated with reclaimed wood from both the existing home and a local barn. Backyard dining table, chairs & seating area by Restoration Hardware
Garage Doors:
 Custom, locally fabricated with new Doug Fir wood; Opener by LiftMaster
Home ControlsLutron HomeWorks
HVAC/Ducts: AC: Unico high velocity system, installed by Innovative Air Solutions. Radiant heat: Viega. Boiler/hot water combination unit: HTP Versa-Hydro
InsulationDOW rigid boards; Touch n Seal Two Component close cell spray foam
LightingLutron HomeWorks, misc. LEDís fixtures
Picture & Artwork Hanging System: Arakawa Hanging Systems
Paints and Stains: Paints, ceilings & millwork: Benjamin Moore. Paint, kitchen cabinetry & wainscoting: Modern Masters Decorative Painter's Crackle. Stain, garage doors: Cabot Australian Timber Oil. Wood countertops sealers: various water-base sealers & epoxies
Pavers: Custom concrete patio tiles, fabricated on site
Plumbing FixturesKohler
Renewable Energy System: 3.3 kW PV solar system by Atlantis Energy
Roof: DPV slates: SunSlate5 by Atlantis Energy. Synthetic slates: DaVinci Roofscapes
Specialty ProductsNatural earth plasters by American Clay
Structural: Existing structure; Steel beams over the 4 patio doors by LiteSteel Technologies America
Ventilation: ERV, whole-house HEPA & all remote exhaust fans including kitchen hood liner by Fantech
Water Heating: Boiler/Hot Water Combination unit:
HTP Versa-Hydro
Window CoveringsQMotion Shades
Windows/Skylights/Patio Doors: Windows: Andersen A Series Windows. Patio folding/sliding glass wall/French doors system: NanaWall


The Beach House Photos
There's nothing like 'before & after' pictures.
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Newsletters & Media Coverage
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When Less Is More  
Reclaimed, Recycled, Re-used...
Amazing what you can do with 'trash'.
The Beach House Features
How. What. Who. Why. All the answers right here.


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