CRB&D Spring 2015

Page 1










Photos © Randall Perry Photography




.................Features Winning Saratoga Homes 8

Blending rustic and modern in a Saratoga farmhouse


Country and City meld in a versatile Gansevoort home


Modern New England-style home with spectacular views

..................On the Cover The great room at Skyfall, 2014 Saratoga Showcase of Homes Luxury category People’s and Realtors’ Choice Award Winner, built by Witt Construction. Photo © Randall Perry Photography


...............Every Issue 4

Publishers’ Note


Innovative Products


Design Trends


Building & Design News


In Focus



PUBLISHERS’ NOTES Everyone needs a makeover once in a while. Well this edition of Capital Region Building & Design reflects ours. In this issue we take a close-up look at some of the top award-winning 2014 Saratoga Showcase homes in articles featuring commentary from the builders, designers and suppliers about the style, design and innovative products selected for these homes. We look forward to being back on a regular basis to provide our readers with interesting and informative articles about building and design in the Capital Region. Rita and Craig Stevens, Publishers

VOLUME 19 SPRING 2015 Publisher/Executive Editor R. Craig Stevens Publishier/Managing Editor Rita C. Stevens Layout & Design RCS Publications Ltd. Senior Feature Photographer Randall Perry Interior Design Consultant Denise Palumbo Advertising Sales RCS Publications Ltd. Capital Region Building & Design is published 6 times a year by RCS Publications Ltd., PO Box 9338, Niskayuna, NY 12309. Phone (518) 786-6575. E-mail: Back issues: $5.00 per copy (prepaid). Bulk third class mail paid in Albany, New York. The information published in Capital Region Building & Design is believed to be accurate and authoritative, but is not intended to substitute for legal, accounting, tax or other professional advice. Statements and opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Capital Region Building & Design. © 2015 RCS Publications Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Postmaster: Please send notices on Form 3579 to: PO Box 9338, Niskayuna, NY 12309.








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and if their entry door is locked or unlocked. Insynctive also

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Blending rustic and modern

Photos © Randall Perry Photography

in a Saratoga farmhouse

Designed with move-up empty nesters in mind this farmhouse design features modern amenities and an open floor plan optimized for first floor living.


reating a custom home that blends the charm of a farmhouse yet features many modern amenities was the goal of VanVeghten Construction for a home design selected for the 2014 Saratoga Showcase of Homes. Located at its custom home site in Stillwater, Battle Ridge, the idea was to create a home for move-up empty nesters seeking mainly first floor living. A simple open floor plan was the key. Company president Shawn VanVeghten says: “I love them. I like to


design houses with that in mind. It’s a simple plan – kitchen, living room, dining room – all one big space with different materials in each. Basically that is how we break that up to give each space its own feel. “The home does have a second floor with three bedrooms to accommodate families with children, but the focus is single floor living. The first-floor master suite has a spacious bathroom and walk-in closet. Dual heating systems for the first


and second floors allow the homeowner to keep energy costs down.” The 2,785 sq. ft. house flows nicely. You can move around the house very easily from the living room to the kitchen to the rear screened-in porch. The kitchen, pantry and mudroom are conveniently right inside the garage entrance. One reason for this comfortable flow Shawn notes is that “we tucked the staircase behind the antique brick-finished fireplace, which became the room’s focal


Beautiful Douglas Fir timber framing and reclaimed beechwood flooring highlight the open floor plan. The antique-bricked fireplace is the focal point of the great room. The south-facing rear screened-in porch features Douglas Fir ceiling and skylights to take advantage of the light. point, and also tucked the powder room to the side of the house so it is not in the middle of living area.” Adding to this home’s rustic character are the wood species selected. The beautiful hardwood flooring that immediately gets your attention upon entering the great room is reclaimed from a 100-year-old barn in Stillwater. Shawn says: “We had to pick through a lot to get the pieces that were in the best shape. Beechwood is beautiful, but not readily

available for flooring now. You just don’t see old growth of beechwood any more.” Framing the great room are the impressive Douglas Fir timbers with their 20-foot spans. Douglas Fir was used in several locations in the house, including shelves in the dining room nook and on the walls and ceilings of the front and rear porches. There was some reclaimed Douglas Fir too. According to Shawn, “I try to integrate reclaimed things whenever possible. For example, the mantle piece




Photos © Randall Perry Photography

The barn door adds design flair, but serves a practical use too for the mud room and laundrey room. Contrasting wall and island cabinets and countertops in the galley kitchen are popular with buyers now. The spacious master bath features the ever popular double basins and open towel storage over the fireplace is a reclaimed Douglas Fir floor joist from a local church that was dismantled.” Often showhouses display trends in home building and design, and this home is no exception. Shawn pointed out the following: “Reclaimed flooring – any kind of reclaimed wood – is hot right now. A lot of people want to do it, but are hesitant to pull the trigger. When trends change you have to adapt a little bit as far as what you are used to seeing. A majority of people Battle Ridge is VanVeghten had never seen anything like the reclaimed kitchen. The refrigerator was placed on its own wall and actually recessed into Construction’s first community of homes flooring we put in. the wall.” Michelle added: “He had — 5 custom home sites, each with a “Barn doors are trendy too. People these gorgeous tall ceilings, so we took minimum of 2 acres. Shawn says: love them. A lot of times we do it as a advantage of that to display things in the “The houses there are all design/build. design flair, a talking piece. In this case it Whether people bring a plan to me or just made a lot of sense because doing any upper cabinets. Just very simple, nothing we design it, we are essentially a design/ kind of swing door would have been in the too fancy, but nice and delicate details.” [Read more about Michelle’s kitchen build company. As we grow we will way in the mud room and the laundry.” design work on page 11.] be developing more land and offering The contrasting kitchen cabinetry The Showcase was a good portfolio options for clients. I love is another popular trend. Working with experience, according to Shawn. “I like imagination; I love trying to do things kitchen designer Michelle Bucciero to see people’s reactions, what their you don’t see everyday, bringing different of Builders Kitchens, Inc. and interior thoughts are so we can continue to stay ideas to clients. designer Stacy Snell of Design on 20, on top of how people like to live. At the VanVeghten Construction received Shawn’s award winning kitchen featured end of the day when my team and I are the Realtors’ and People’s Choice white alabaster perimeter cabinets and designing these houses, especially if they Awards and the Judges’ Awards for Best a very dark gray island with contrasting are not for anyone in particular, we want Kitchen and Master Bath in the Executive countertops. “We double-stacked the wall to be sure that they incorporate the main category in the 2014 Saratoga Showcase cabinets and added glass upper cabinet things that people are looking for when of Homes. doors and accent lighting to set a different buying a house.” mood. It adds another level of flair to the 10 CAPITAL REGION BUILDING & DESIGN SPRING 2015


Farmhouse kitchen with lots of pop Award-winning designer creates an eyecatching workable galley kitchen for a Saratoga farmhouse-style home


itchens and bathrooms are the most important rooms in any home. Making them not only functional, but pleasing is the designer’s job. So how did the design process start for the award-winning kitchen and master bath in the VanVeghten showhouse? It is a team effort, according to Michelle Bucciero of Builders Kitchens, Inc. “We brainstormed with Shawn, trying to convey the feeling he wanted for the home — in this case that warm, comfortable feeling. That’s how it starts.” When making selections, Michelle often thinks about what she would like for her own home. “Shawn started with this gorgeous beechwood floor and the dark island just pops out of that floor. We also did a nice half wall behind the island to separate the cooking area from the living room and included some nice details and corballs up the back side of that. That gives it its own space, defining each area.” Interior designer Stacy Snell of Design on 20, who worked with Michelle to select the cabinets, the counters and the backsplash, tied the selections altogether. They chose the Entra line of Schrock cabinets with full overlay doors in alabaster for the wall cabinets and a very dark gray for the island with all the nice features including soft close doors and drawers. “Alabaster is a great color to start with and using the dark colored island contrasting against it just makes the island pop,” Michelle says. Granite counters were selected for the island and soapstone for the perimeter. Some people are intimidated by a galley kitchen design Michelle notes, but sometimes they are the most functional. “If you can do them right it really does provide a nice work area where you can cook and use the counters. It’s very functional. The island is a nice clean surface, just deep enough to handle what you need to do. It also is nice because your guests can just sit and relax and enjoy a glass of wine and watch you cook for them!” The Schrock Trademark line in a Havana finish was used in the master bath. “That was really neat to do too because we did some open storage for towels and we made it look like the cabinet was floating a bit by taking the toe kick off to give it a more open feel,” Michelle says. [Ed.: See the photos, opposite page] `CAPITAL REGION BUILDING & DESIGN


About Michelle… I have been a kitchen designer with Builders Kitchens, Inc. for 18 years working with many builders and remodelers in the area. As part of my job I go out to the job site and measure the spaces during the construction phases before the sheet rock goes up. I also meet with the clients in the showroom and help them design the spaces. Then I report back to the builder to make sure he has all his plans when he needs them before construction begins. I have an AA in Interior Design from Russell Sage. Before coming to BKI I worked at a local lumber yard for three years where I acquired my general knowledge of construction and met the builders. That is where I met Rich Adams, owner and president of BKI. He was looking for a good designer and heard I was doing a good job at the lumber yard, so he hired me.



Country and city life meld in versatile Gansevoort home

A warm and cozy home with a Craftsman feel offers a workable floor plan that appeals to both young families and down-sizers.


hen builder Brian K. Smith of Classic Homes was thinking about what type of home to build for his 2014 Saratoga Showcase entry his primary focus was on building an affordable house aimed at empty nesters. “The trend theses days seems to be downsizing toward a smaller house, but buyers want the extra amenities. I wanted a first floor master, a Craftsman kind of feel and I wanted that just lived well feeling. I also wanted to incorporate a nice screened porch for outdoor living, a kind of retreat.” Brian felt the home, part of his Ridgeview Estates development in Gansevoort, would appeal mainly to empty nesters or those with college-age kids. It is an attractive location with


mountain views and forever wild land, yet has the city conveniences of public water, sewer and natural gas. The emphasis was mainly on first floor living with the downstairs master and a couple of bedrooms upstairs, maybe a guest or bonus room. “As it turns out I do have some customers who are young. They don’t have any kids yet, but are going to be starting families. Originally we thought mainly empty nesters, but you never know.” Working with Karan Hankinson of Karan Hankinson Interiors and certified kitchen designer Jacques Legere of Curtis Lumber contributed to how smoothly Brian’s first Showcase experience went. “Karan is a fantastic designer and I’ve been doing kitchens with Jacques for 25


years. He knows what I like and I can trust him. Karan knew exactly what she wanted and we just melded the two. The nice thing was we all agreed on a lot of things. We all have similar taste. It was easy.” Karan indeed knew what she wanted to do in the house, even before construction began. “Ninety percent of the house is pretty much finished in my head, I just have to find the elements to complete my vision. I wanted to create a home that you could entertain in, you could really be warm and cozy in and take advantage of the surroundings outside with the screened porch and yard.” She used very calming, soft neutral tones throughout most of the house. To make the massive wall in the great room


Photos © Randall Perry Photography

The 2,520 sq. ft. home offers beautiful country views with city conveniences.The great room, opposite, features an accent wall and a mixture of soft tones and accent colors to give a warm and cozy feeling to this large space. The dining room, below, with its striking coffered ceiling and abundant natural light handles the bolder teal wall color well. The master bath was designed with a generous shower, a warm colored tile and Merillat cabinetry and granite countertop. The raised center section dividing the two sinks adds interest. As does the transom window above the vanity, providing more natural light. cozier, Karan took some flat stock pieces of wood, embossed a pattern on them, painted them white, then antiqued them. “I repainted it three times before I was happy with it.” The surrounding walls were painted in a greenish gray called Contented. She used accent colors of blues and greens to add pop to the beige upholstery. However the dining room, which is a very bright room, could handle something bolder. Karan chose a Caribbean Teal for those walls. The room was very square, so she selected a round table and used the massive artwork as a focal point. To help keep costs down Karan used some repurposed items that were given to her or acquired very inexpensively – from crates to furniture items. They included the candlesticks by the fireplace, which were actually old wallpaper print reels. Among her favorite items were the spoons she got at a garage sale, bending them to hold the kitchen curtains. “A lot of people maybe didn’t recognize these things, but it had a lot of elegant shabby chic. That is how I would describe it.” Jacques had a good feeling about the kitchen right away. “I knew I wanted to put a farm sink in the island. I wanted to do two tones, a darker island and a painted perimeter cabinet using a very simple door with clean lines that is low maintenance. The glass doors that we selected added color to the kitchen. Even though people don’t tend to have a lot of fancy things, especially in a smaller kitchen, just add a `CAPITAL REGION BUILDING & DESIGN



Photos © Randall Perry Photography

bowl or something in say cobalt blue that catches your eye, but don’t overdo it.” Merillat’s Classic cabinet line was selected for the perimeter, but for the island they chose the Masterpiece line to do something a bit different. It also has more accessories and options. “Karan was very instrumental. We sat down and went through my initial design. The end of the island has an open piece and that was her idea. She and Brian chose the granite countertops.” Merillat cabinetry was also used in the master bathroom. Jacque felt that most people building a house could afford that kitchen. “It wasn’t custom, it wasn’t totally loaded with accessories. For example, we just bumped out the drawer base near the cooktop to get you a little bit farther away from the hood so it is not in your face. “A lot of kitchens these days are more open to the rest of the house and you have Top: The kitchen features two-tone Merillat cabinets with some simple accessories, such as the specific areas for specific tasks. A cooking island shelf and a bumped out drawer base to give it an affordable custom feel. The design area, a clean up area, a prep area and features specific task areas that make it very workable for multiple chefs. this house really reflects that. You could easily have two cooks there. ” Above: The screened porch furniture brings all the bright accent colors outside of the house. The builder chose a stamped concrete floor that is very practical and appealing. The ceiling and walls Classic Homes received both were knotty pine with one accent panel made from a weather-resistant manufactured product. Realtors’ and People’s Choice Awards plus 14 CAPITAL REGION BUILDING & DESIGN SPRING 2015

BUILDING & DESIGN NEWS Witt Construction is in the final engineering of a plan for 7 single-family condos on a little brick paver street on the east side of Saratoga Springs called Downton Walk. It is a 150 ft by 230 ft piece of land that will be developed on the site of an old industrial building. “It is a newer concept in land use in an urban area,” says John Witt. “It is very English. I actually went to England to study architecture and design concepts. I think it is the neatest project I have designed.”

Brian K Smith of Classic Homes says his Ridgeview Estate community in Gansevoort will soon be opening Phase 2 with another 20 lots. Located in a country setting between Saratoga and Glens Falls, the site offers city water and gas and mountain views. “We are planning on doing the model for the 2016 Saratoga Showcase.

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Skyfall (Photo: Randall Perry; Builder: Witt Construction; Architect: Balzer+Tuck)


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Creekside (Photo: Paul Warchol; Builder: Hank Starr; Architect: Studio MM)







Lakeside Home (Builder: J. Moeller Construction; Architect: Phinney Design Group)

Photos Š Randall Perry Photography


A modern New England-style home with spectacular views




Photos © Randall Perry Photography


reathtaking might be the best way to describe this modern New England-style home situated on a rolling hillside outside Saratoga Springs. The homeowners, who were melding two very different style households with this project, had a vision of what their new home should be and they put together a team that brought it to fruition. Builder John Witt of Witt Construction led the team. “The homeowners wanted an open concept. We ended up tweaking one of the original sketches I did because they wanted something a little more edgy. That is where Balzer + Tuck Architecture really did a great job, taking it to a whole different level.” Michael Tuck said: “We helped the homeowners connect the dots. They knew that they wanted to take advantage of the views, but weren’t sure how to accomplish that in terms of what was the best way to orient the house. We went on site and helped them locate the spot.” John added: “It fits right in that site and exploits the natural surroundings and views. The house opened up to that whole panoramic vista.” The home’s design came together in an interesting way. Michael describes the process: “They knew they wanted a home that would bridge the gap between modern and traditional homes and they had strong imagery of particularly that great room space. We just built on that, creating the idea of this having been evolved over time from a central home structure that had additional structures built onto it.” There are fantastic views from almost any window in the house. Michael explains the secret to making it work: “When you have a large view like that the easy thing is to just glaze the whole house. The trick is to do it in a way that it doesn’t feel forced or out of character with the home, focusing the glass and where you would expect to see doors, setting up walls of glass to bring in that panoramic view.” Harbrook Fine Windows, Doors & Hardware supplied the windows and doors at Skyfall. They worked closely with the owners and the architect to assure the effectiveness of the window and door specifications. Marvin Clad Ultimate Casement, Awning and Direct Glaze windows and Clad Ultimate in-swing and sliding French

doors were chosen with selective low-e coatings to minimize overheating and degradation of artwork and fabrics. Interior designer Leah Margolis got involved in the process very early on, before the plans were even completed. It was her task to help the homeowners blend their two styles – contemporary and traditional – into a cohesive blend. “It was their opportunity to blend their two homes and create something for themselves.They aimed to do contemporary in a really comfortable fashion. It can get a little too stark and people tend to think contemporary or more modern décor is a little cold. We worked hard on not making it that. It is a spacious home, but incredibly warm.




© Randall Perry Photography

“In the bedroom they wanted to accent the wall that they had custom built along with the bedside tables and that was a theme that was carried throughout. It was used in the front entry as well,” Leah said. “ Again we were really working hard to make the entire home cohesive and we wanted one room to relate to the next. So we started with that. Also the area rug in the bedroom was an existing piece they had, so that was the jumping off point in terms of other furnishings and fabrics chosen. ” Justina Auer, kitchen designer with Columbia CabinetWorks, worked closely with the homeowners at Skyfall. “The sleekness of the interior selections, especially the kitchen cabinetry, has a very metropolitan feel which plays beautifully off the Cape Cod inspired lines of the exterior of the home. The coolness of the natural stone countertops in both the kitchen and pantry is warmed by the soft white pantry cabinets and rich tones of the rift cut oak kitchen cabinets. The result is an inviting sophistication … a perfect synthesis of urban chic situated in bucolic splendor.” [Read all of Justina’s comments on page 21.] Everyone on the team concurred that this collaborative effort was a success. Michael Tuck perhaps said it best about the team effort: “Everybody listened and they respected also when other people had ideas. Nothing was dismissed. Everything was carefully considered, weighed and the best options were selected. That is not to say there was not compromise, but there was always a balance. When everybody listens and everybody pays attention it makes for a striking project.” Skyfall won in all Luxury Home categories and received the Realtors’ and People’s Choice Awards in the 2014 Saratoga Showcase of Homes.





Sleek kitchen with a metropolitan feel


kyfall was a particularly special project in large part because of the collaborative spirit of all involved. The homeowners had a spectacular vision and it was my job to be sure the kitchen was executed flawlessly. There is a mix of aesthetic taste throughout the home. The design flows seamlessly, an organic journey that is magically connected to earth and sky. The central axis solidly anchors the design and it just unfolds from there. The sleekness of the interior selections, especially the kitchen cabinetry, has a very metropolitan feel which plays beautifully off the Cape Cod inspired lines of the exterior of the home. The coolness of the natural stone countertops in both the kitchen and pantry is warmed by the soft white pantry cabinets and rich tones of the rift cut oak kitchen cabinets. The result is an inviting sophistication … a perfect synthesis of urban chic situated in bucolic splendor. What I always like to tell clients when starting a kitchen project is to be very thoughtful about how the space will be used. New construction, in particular, allows homeowners to really prioritize what is important to them. Skyfall’s main kitchen,

bookending the magnificent great room, would be an ideal place to entertain long into the evening, necessitating an uber functional, separate chef’s pantry where all the prep work, cooking and clean-up would take place, out of sight. The homeowners and the entire team refused to cut corners and their home is a testament to refined elegance. What was the one indulgence I incorporated into my design? I advise everyone, at least once in their life, to have a built in coffee maker. At the push of a button you can transport yourself to the hills of Tuscany or Provence, enjoying a delicious cappuccino or café au lait right in the comfort of your own home. Justina Auer, CCW Designer Columbia CabinetWorks

ABOUT COLUMBIA CABINETWORKS (CCW) Columbia CabinetWorks was founded by Evan Levey in 2004 and is the Capital Region’s distributor of Wood-Mode and Brookhaven fine custom cabinetry. Wood-Mode/Brookhaven is the oldest continuously operated custom cabinetry company in the United States. Built and finished in Kreamer, PA, these cabinetry lines are built-to-order using hand selected and kiln-dried furniture grade woods.

CCW and Wood-Mode are leaders in the green building movement with an exemplary record of long-standing environmental accountability. In 2007, Wood-Mode received certification in the Environmental Stewardship Program by the Kitchen Manufacturer’s Association, which recognizes and applauds industry manufacturers who engage in the use of environmentally friendly materials and manufacturing processes. CCW has an extremely talented, award-winning kitchen and bath team with tons of experience in residential design. CCW has worked on projects from the Hamptons to Westchester, from NYC to Saratoga, partnering with builders, architects, developers, and home owners. CCW’s main showroom is located in the Capital District and corporate offices are in NYC. CCW’s designs are frequent winners of prestigious awards such as: • Saratoga Showcase of Homes Luxury Home-Best Kitchen • Parade of Homes Pinnacle Home-Best Kitchen • National Kitchen and Bath Association Tri-State Awards • CRBRA (Capital Region Builders and Remodelers Association) Best in Building Awards

National Kitchen and Bath Association Tri-State Award Winner





Making Winning Homes Timeless


lthough it seems like the 2014 Saratoga Showcase is but a mere memory, and families have moved into many of the homes we had the opportunity to tour,

the builders of the 2015 Saratoga Showcase of Homes are all busy at work creating yet another beautiful round of homes for us to tour. I’ve been involved in the Showcase both personally and professionally since its inception. I am a sponsor and also

Skyfall, Witt Construction

photograph many of the homes for the various builders. The images I capture are for the builder’s advertising and marketing needs. They’ve been used to produce local television spots, appeared on billboards, work vehicles, websites, and for sales and marketing promotional materials. I’m proud to represent the work of these talented builders and designers through the use of our professional equipment and lighting techniques acquired in our 30 years in the business. It makes me even happier when these builders win local and national awards and recognition for their homes using the photography we have produced for them. Third party vendors have also profited from our photography Battle Ridge, VanVeghten Construction

taking advantage of us having photographed their product at the same time as the home itself. Landscape companies, lighting suppliers, shower door companies have all contacted us after the fact to purchase usage rights to the images for their marketing use. Even though it was a long cold winter it’s all behind us now. Let’s enjoy spring and get ready for yet another great summer season. The season we wait year round for. Before we know it we will all be touring the 2015 Saratoga Showcase of Homes. I am glad the warmer weather finally is here. Randall Perry

Ridgeview Estates, Classic Homes With studios in New York’s Capital Region, Naples, Florida and on Cape Cod, Mass., noted architectural photographer Randall Perry offers professional photographic services — aerial, stock, custom and waterfront photography. In addition to Capital Region Building & Design, his work has appeared in Builder, Architectural Digest, Cape Cod Life, Hudson Valley and other national and regional magazines. To comment on this column or to inquire about photographic services call 518-664-2821 or 1-800-832-5739.







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