Small, Modern, Sustainable, Dream House on Rainbow Lake

One of our new houses is currently going up in Ridgefield! This 2,100 sf , two story, super-efficient, clean, green, brand new home will be the retirement home for a couple from New York City. The very small 1,000 sf 1950's era home that sat on this hill overlooking  Rainbow Lake was just too small and had too many physical problem to keep.  All but the exterior foundation walls were removed, a new sub floor and cantilever structure were put up and now framing is in full gear. (You can see images of what it will look like in the 'On the Boards' Section of our website.)

This house will be fun and different because not only will it be small and very sustainably built, but it will be a modern home. Brio54, a company out of Milford that specializes in Modern Green Homes is our partner builder in this endeavor. Our mutual goals: to build super efficient, modern, smaller homes that are extremely cost effective, beautiful and simple. 


Some of our basics specifications for this model are:


  • Thick, super insulated walls, floors and roofs
  • Taped Zip Sheathing (that serves as an air barrier and has moisture resistant features as well)
  • Air sealing throughout the entire house
  • A rain screen (air space) between sheathing and siding
  • Natural Cedar siding that will never be or have to be treated (will weather naturally)
  • High efficiency window with U values that average approximately.26
  • 2 Minisplit heating and cooling units
  • 2 High efficiency stoves- 1 gas, 1 wood (for back up heating and aesthetic enjoyment)
  • An ERV
  • All LED lighting (and lots of natural light!)
  • A back up generator
  • A water filtration system
  • All natural, healthy, No VOC, sustainable finishes
  • Future elevator ready


This house will be a super comfortable and very low maintenance place to live. This it is not the MOST energy efficient house we have built and it will not be able to take advantage of active solar panels (due to tree coverage), and it has more windows than it truly should for optimum efficiency and passive solar orientation (the smallness of the house, the awesomeness of surrounding views and the desire for lots of natural light overruled.)

Though all of these things are true, it will still be a far better house than most built today. It will be extremely energy efficient and cost very little to operate and maintain and most of all it will be quiet, healthy and comfortable and seamlessly retain an ideal room temperature and humidity. It will be very reasonably priced, coming in at less than $200/ sf.

It will also be an 'off the grid' ready house. The high efficiency wood and gas stoves will be able to keep the house heated throughout a black out and the back up generator can cover lights, water and refrigerator. Down the road if the option of Photo Voltaics open up  (if the highly loved giant tree to the south were to die or fall...) then many of the electrical services could be covered by PV in the case of a black out.

This house, to me is a great example of 'affordable super green'. It will not have every bell and whistle and it will not be Passive House or Net Zero but it will get the clients most of the way there and be a beautiful dream house to live in! 

So excited to watch it going up!