The Day – Innovative, Icelandic-inspired
On a memorable trip to Iceland, Thomas Mitchell had a revelation. Inspired by the innovative construction and architectural leanings of the small nation, he began to think about how to replicate a house like the ones he saw in Iceland – sustainable, efficient, bright, comfortable and perfectly suited to its natural surroundings. .
Acting as his own general contractor, he assembled a team capable of bringing his vision of a contemporary farm to life and set out to find the perfect place to build it. With the help of his real estate agent, Judi Caracausa, broker-owner of Market Realty, he discovered a 7.33 acre parcel in Stonington at 54 Barnes Road and laid the groundwork.
Mitchell’s team of more than 30 people included architect Mark Comeau, HJ O’Keefe Construction, four engineering firms, five building specialists, five systems suppliers and Cedar Ridge Landscaping. As he gave us a tour of the house in early November, Mitchell commented on how well the team worked together.
It’s no exaggeration to say that he has thought of everything here, from large-scale visionary ideas to tiny but important details. He designed the house to take care of its inhabitants more than they need. He did well in a grandiose way, as with the mechanics of the house. It has a SolarEdge system and back-up batteries that help reduce electricity costs. Mitchell produced an electric bill of less than $ 10 for the month. The excess electricity produced by the system is sold back to the public grid.
Geothermal wells that descend 65 feet underground and rise again keep the home at a comfortable room temperature year round. The team also added German-designed heat recovery ventilation (HRV) systems to manage humidity and air quality. Thermomass concrete was chosen for the exterior walls, and all doors and windows are insulated for energy efficiency.
Mitchell also considered how the house was situated on the land. They used mounds of earth – berms – to further insulate the exterior walls. The design also included numerous windows to capture natural light and provide views of the landscape, which was once fertile farmland. Mitchell recently discovered a patch of heirloom cherry tomatoes growing in the meadow behind the house; he testified to their sweetness and their fragrance when they were ripe.
Inside the house, the 3,058 square feet of living space offers a true open concept living space, with a large room including the kitchen, dining room and living areas. It has a cathedral ceiling with exposed beams and a sealed gas fireplace with a fieldstone surround and built-in elements that hug the books on either side.
The interiors of the house really showcase the natural building materials. Mitchell purchased Douglas fir posts and beams from a logging company in southern Vermont. Red oak was chosen for the handcrafted stair railing and white oak for the hardwood floors.
The master bedroom suite is on the first floor, and its bathroom is indulgent, with a deep clawfoot tub and a shower room, with two shower heads, side by side. The bedroom’s glass doors open onto the south-facing patio and it has a fully equipped walk-in closet.
Throughout the house, potential buyers will find plenty of storage space, with custom-fitted cupboards. While the aesthetic looks airy and awe-inspiring, she has a sensibility about it that says space needs to be used efficiently – like laundry, for example. It’s tucked away in a smart closet on the main level, complete with a Whirlpool brand washer and dryer, which doesn’t require any external ventilation; in addition, there is a laundry sink and a folding area, completely hidden from view.
Another closet on the main level has a door that is raised enough off the floor to allow the automated vacuum inside to get in and out at will.
Certain spaces offer a certain flexibility to the buyer. For example, there is a loft overlooking the great room, which could be used for a reading nook or home office. A large storage room on the second floor could be a great playroom for the kids. On the first floor there is an indoor-outdoor space with a glazed garage door. It can be any number of things: a yoga studio, a creative space, a home office, or even a workshop.
There is also plenty of workshop and storage space in the attached oversized garage.
While not part of the property’s original plan, COVID-19 got Mitchell thinking about the outdoor living space here as well, so he added a post and beam pavilion with a bluestone patio and a outdoor fireplace. While there is no permit in place for a swimming pool at the moment, there is plenty of space to add one.
Creating this special home has been a labor of love for Mitchell, but he’s ready to pass it on to someone new who will appreciate the care and consideration he has given to the project. It is listed 54 Barnes Road, Stonington, for sale; Judi Caracausa is the listing agent. At the time of going to press, they had an accepted offer, but were still considering backup offers. Caracausa is also busy looking for more land for Mitchell’s next project. He enjoyed the experience so much that he founded a company based on the realsmarthouse LLC concept.
“Realsmarthouse got its name because I was bored with the terms“ smart home ”and“ smart home. ”These internet-enabled control systems are indeed revolutionary, but they are mostly installed in homes that are basically no more. smart than they were 300 years ago, ”Mitchell explained.“ So we decided to build a smart home from scratch, working with the natural intelligence inherent in the earth, in the atmosphere. and in the sun. “
Property: 54 Barnes Road, Stonington
Area in square feet: 3 058
Asking price: $ 1.549 million
Agent of the seller: Judi Caracausa, Market Realty; Portable: (860) 572-1155; [email protected]