MINIMALIST HIGH-PERFORMANCE RETREAT
With their kids now grown and ‘out of the nest’, this New York City couple (the husband is originally from the Lehigh Valley and the wife was born and raised in Sweden) was looking to build their vacation home (and their eventual ‘forever’ home) inspired by a Scandinavian modern aesthetic here in the Valley far away from the hustle and bustle of the big city’s concrete jungle – a place where they could retreat restfully among the surrounding flora and fauna. In searching for their builder, our client was seeking an accomplished firm that not only understood how to execute modern minimalist details, but also how to deliver genuine energy-efficient and healthy home performance. Thankfully, our firm was chosen for this exciting and challenging project!
Perched on the side of the hill among a tall and dense tree canopy rests our client’s beautiful and private building lot. In addition to the notable tree and stump removal around the site, the largest challenges emerged from the nearly impenetrable glacier rock outcroppings; which demanded hours and hours of rock work to finally create a suitable building pad. Once cleared, we were able to craft a truly unique home that is nestled perfectly into the hillside.
With the exception of the tranquil Master Suite and functional Mud Room, the main level boasts a generally open floor plan. And on the lower level, three bedrooms, shared bathroom, expansive screened-in porch, and spacious Family Room help create a warm and cozy environment perfect for their kids’ families during visits.
On the exterior, clean-line facades with distinctive metal siding, low-slope roofs, and cantilevered floors help create an intriguing masterpiece for the modern eye. A few of the home’s prominent green features are shared below:
- Ultra-tight building envelope to minimize air infiltration/exfiltration.
- Highly insulated (formaldehyde-free) thermal envelope – R-52 ceiling, R-26 framed walls, R-21 basement walls, R-10 underslab.
- Energy-efficient doors and windows – 0.21 – 0.29 U-factor.
- Advanced, ultra-efficient geothermal HVAC system – EER 29.6, HSPF 5.0 COP ground-source heat pump with an efficient Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) and well-sealed, insulated ducts.
- Whole-house, industry-leading air cleaner integrated with the HVAC system.
- LED lighting throughout – 9.5 watts (compared to 75 watts) each & dimmable down to 10%.
- Energy Star Qualified exhaust fans & appliances – refrigerator, dishwasher, clothes washer.
- Zero-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints throughout.
- Hard surfaces throughout including regionally-harvested oak flooring and eco-conscious tile.
With the turning of the seasons upon us, our client is anxious once again to plunge into their restful getaway from the Big Apple. It has been a genuine pleasure working with our client, and we’re excited to deliver them a modern, yet still very comfortable vacation home that they, after retirement, will eventually call their ‘forever’ home!