A Bold Stroke in a Beautiful Place….

What would you do if your family owned a 3 story, 7 bedroom home situated on 3 acres, right on the Atlantic ocean ?

You would renovate, of course !

And that is just what the Kelly family did.

Here is a picture of the house, as viewed from standing on the beach.

The Kelly Beach House, Fishers Island, NY

Renovation included:

  • Re-siding the entire house in Western Red Cedar shingles (5000sf)
  • Replacing all the trim (over 2500 linear feet of it) with custom fabricated AZEK composite trim.
  • Renovating  the existing ocean side deck – installing Cumaru decking
  • Remove the existing oil burner, boiler, and associated duct work. Replacing the subfloor.
  • Renovating existing  kitchen, consistent with period details and finishes
  • Refinishing the hardwood floors on the first floor.
  • Designing the renovation plans for the 20×20 garage and bedroom above including 10 new windows, 400 sf of decking, new doors, a new laundry room, and structural reconfigurations

During the Winter of 2012 and Spring of 2013 we will continue to add value by design and implementing improvements and updates to this magnificent home.

Victorian Renewal

Victorian Renewal

Bill and Eugenia did not like the drafty windows, they did not like seeing the curtains move when the wind blew, and they were tired of the old storm windows that never really seemed like they got clean enough.



They loved their house though.

So, they decided to renew it. New windows (30 of them), new siding, and a clean fresh coat of paint. The home was build in 1895 and the majority of the windows and doors were original to the house.  The first step was to decide exactly what improvements would be made, and identify the opportunities to both save energy, and improve the aesthetics of the home.

Planning and Estimating Costs

The most important activity at the outset of any renovation project is to develop a concise plan identifying areas to be renovated, costs for materials, and accurate labor estimates required to achieve the result.  Projects are more successful if there is a clear identification materials, costs, construction process, and estimated timelines. Here is a picture of the South elevation, and the identification of each component in the elevation.

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We produced this by taking a picture of each area to be renovated. These areas were identified for renovation in 6 project ‘phases’.  All materials and labor were entered into a database, and accurate estimates were provided for materials and labor, by phase.

Here is a picture of the South elevation upon completion:

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If you are interested in looking at the entire proposal for this project, please call me at 617-201-4375 and we can meet to review our estimation process. I am more than willing to share the actual numbers in person with any potential client. There is, of course no obligation to do anything. 

The final 12 page powerpoint presentation has pictures of each section of the home, the renovation to be applied, and costs for materials and labor.

Pilot Phase – we started by replacing one window, and 100 sf of siding. This allowed us to verify the window size, trim details, and build confidence in our estimates for materials and labor. As part of the pilot, we added 1.5″ of polyisocyanurate insulation board to the exterior sheeting. This added an R-Value of 10 to the home, and provides an air-tight wall assembly. Although we did not apply the foam board to the entire home, we were able to accurately determine the cost-benefit associated with this improvement.

Windows There were over thirty windows in the home, over 4 levels. Starting in the front (pictured above) there were 11 windows to replace as well as the front door.

Circle tops and Appliques: The windows on the second level have semi-circles on top with appliques featuring morning glories and bows specific to the period in which the home was build. These were plaster casts and could not be repaired. New radius’ were build cut from sheets of AZEK composite board to receive the new appliques which were matched by Jack Meingast at Decorators Supply Corporation  and produced in resin.

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Special order, extra wide windows: The front-most windows have a glass width of 48″ which is exceptionally wide. We selected Marvin brand windows for these two windows and the flanking windows because Marvin was the only manufacturer who could produce a window this wide. These windows also feature a grille pattern containing 17 lites on the top sash. Marvin was able to produce a modern solution for us, while maintaining the look of the original 120 year old presentation.

A Marvin Glider was selected for a kitchen location which opens up onto a beautiful round porch. The existing casement window it replaced opened into the porch area and restricted the traffic flow. The operating side of the two-pane glider slides over the fixed side, allowing maximum air flow without restricting the living space on the porch.

Bill and Genie selected the Andersen 400 series for all other windows (18 units) in the home. This selection was made based on the price and the features of the windows over the Marvin Integrity series windows. All windows ordered from both Andersen and Marvin were new-construction style windows.

Victorian Fireplace Since we were essentially renovating the entire exterior of the home, Bill and Genie decided to add a Victorian style gas fireplace in the front Living Room.  We installed a Valor brand appliance from the Victorian Fireplace Shop in Virginia. Once installed, a custom mantle was added which compliments the proportions, and the style of the room.

Beautiful new Victorian fireplace and mantle
Beautiful new Victorian fireplace and mantle

New siding and Trim – There was over 2000 square feet of siding to be replaced (Clapboards on the 1st level, Red Cedar Shingles on the other three), all the window trim+ sills, as well as the frieze board detail between the levels of the home. Repairs were made to the soffit and cornice below the roof line where necessary.

Painting – the new siding and trim (pre-primed) was primed (again) and painted with two finish coats of Benjamin Moore brand paint.

Wrapping it all up – There are many details I did not mention in this blog like fixinging sagging interior plaster, installing doors, and many other activities which make the final result spectacular.

We love what we do. We want very much to produce work that is well thought out, accurate to the architecture, and flawlessly executed.   If you have a renovation project in mind, we can give you the benefit of our experience so you know what it takes to make your home into the place you want it to be.

T H AN K S    B I L L   A N D   G E N I E !

Dave Murphy

1860 Authentic Garage reproduction in Winchester, MA

Picture of the gable

Here is another picture

There is so much to talk about on this project…

First of all, the owner of the home is a terrific person, Rosemary and her husband Carl bought this beautiful home in Winchester, MA in 1964. In this home, they raised 7 children – many of whom live close by with their spouses and children. In fact, two of Rosemary’s grandchildren are my son’s college room mates and have been friends since 1st grade. So, we all know each other pretty well.

One thing Rosemary always wanted was a garage she could park her car in.  A garage that could be heated in the winter so the car was not frozen when she walked to it. Rosemary very much wanted a garage, and she had the perfect place for it at the end of the driveway.

Design, faithful the main house

Don is Rosemary’s son and also happens to be a gifted architect.  Don’s vision for this beautiful addition to this home was to make the garage look like it had always been there.  And it does.

A unique roof

The structure is 22 feet square. Those of you with a practiced eye will notice that there is a ridge in the center of the roof. This is because the North and South facets on the roof are a 6 pitch, yet the East and West facets are a 8 pitch. This is referred to as a ‘bastard hip’ roof. If you have ever framed one, you will agree the style is aptly named !  There is a gable on the front, with a radius window set into it.  The roof has copper valleys, and is shingled with ‘cottage red’ architectural shingles to match the main house.

Detailed Cornice

The cornice consists of 14 separate parts. The wood gutter is mounted onto a shelf, buried in the cornice. The front face of the gutter is exposed which provides a  crown detail to the top of the cornice. Transitions between the the vertical and horizontal components of the cornice are provided by scotia and quarter round trim elements.

Custom Corbels

The cornice corbels match the corbels on the main home in proportion. There are three separate styles of corbel – one for the soffit under the 6 pitch, a second for the 8 pitch, and the third for the angled blocks adorning the front gable. These corbels were cut from thick Spanish cedar boards using a custom blade made to match the profile of the main house corbels. Each each was hand finished to bring the final block into exact proportion based on its soffit placement. The corbels were first mounted on plates, pre-routed with the 1/4 round on the edges, with the back edge cut to receive the 1/4 round at the back of the corbel between the soffit the upper frieze board.

Natural Cedar Sidewall

The shingles are 18″ red cedar shingles, installed with a 6″ exposure. The watertable trim element, located at the transition between the sidewall and the foundation, was fashioned from a 5 – 3/4 crown molding with the bead removed and mounted upside-down – again, to match the main house. The shutters are antique, and were mounted using period hardware from House of Antique Hardware.com

Period Foundation

The foundation is a poured concrete stem wall with a fieldstone ‘Boston Blend’ natural stone veneer applied from Stoneyard,com. This gives the appearance of real fieldstone, because it is actual field stone that has been cut to a veneer width.

Modern Amenities

The entire structure is insulated with both closed-cell foam (several inches) and fiberglass batts. The concrete floor was poured over 1-1/2 ” foam insulation, and the garage door is also insulated. The building is heated with a gas heater. set to 45 degrees in the winter.

Surrounded by natural beauty

Landscape Design was envisioned by Jessalyn Jarest (jessalynj@gmail.com) , Landscape Architect. The landscape features a bluestone walkway up to the main house, as well as a bluestone path to the backyard, and granite cobblestone blocks for the garage apron. A new asphalt driveway was also installed. Plantings and ground covers were installed to bring texture and color to the wonderful new , 150 year old space.

Pictures of the garage can be seen here >>CLICK HERE FOR MORE PICTURES

The project is now complete. Every effort was made to bring Don’s vision to fruition. We have build a useful garage that matches in every detail the grandeur of the original.  And most importantly, Rosemary finally gets the garage she always wanted !