During a question and answer session at a recent industry conference, a home builder asked Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi for his thoughts about the labor
It’s no mere sleight of hand that brings the out-doors to life inside this 4,500-square-foot weekend retreat in the Catskill Mountains of New York.
|Builder Steve Dubrovsky characterizes the model home's earthy style as "rustic elegance." Chapin Estate homes are not restricted to the model's "lodge" look, but Dubrovsky says "they must work together. We encourage the use of similar colors and materials."
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It's no mere sleight of hand that brings the out-doors to life inside this 4,500-square-foot weekend retreat in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Rather, it's the combined skills of a host of artisans laboring under the direction of builder Steve Dubrovsky, who has earned a reputation for incorporating unsurpassed quality and unusual details into his custom-built estate homes.
Delightful discoveries within this Adirondack-style home begin in the entryway with two black bears hand-carved into 45-degree braces for the post-and-beam home's structural support columns. In the kitchen, two columns disguised as pine trees with spreading branches rise from the island to rest against ceiling beams.
Dubrovsky designed and built the $1.6 million home to serve as the model for the Chapin Estate. The gated, 5,300-acre community of 35 secondary homes geared toward New York City's most discriminating "campers" is being developed by The Woodstone Cos., for which Dubrovsky is a managing partner.
Located two hours from Midtown Manhattan, the development is on what was once part of a 20,000-acre wildlife preserve and still has an abundance of deer, grouse, pheasant, bears and eagles.
|The open arrangement of the kitchen, breakfast nook and great room reflects the informality that Dubrovsky's clients want in their weekend getaway homes. The great room has proved to be a favorite gathering spot.|
"Our clients live in an urban area and are looking for a weekend retreat in the country," says Dubrovsky. "When they come here and see what we have, they can't believe that this exists so close to the city. Within a couple of hours' drive, you can be in a place that resembles Montana."
For the model home, Dubrovsky deliberately selected what some builders, and many clients, might consider a difficult site a 5-acre, cliffside location adjacent to Toronto Reservoir, one of two recreational lakes on the property. The home is perched on a ledge overlooking the water, with a 40-foot, sheer-rock drop-off on its left side.
"I did not look at this site as difficult, which it was, but as dramatic and full of potential," says Dubrovsky. "I wanted to demonstrate to the buyer, who may otherwise turn away from a site like this, the wonderful possibilities that existed here."
The combined space of the dining and great rooms provides ample space for entertaining large crowds, says Dubrovsky, but so far everyone has seemed to gravitate toward the informal atmosphere of the kitchen and gazebo. "The common theme that seems to run through nearly all of the houses that I'm building these days is for the kitchen and great room to be open and informal," Dubrovsky says. "People want living space that allows them to talk and visit with each other while meals are being prepared."
|A floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace provides a warm welcome in the master bedroom. This comfortable retreat, which includes a separate sitting area, allows the homeowners to have private time away from guests. French doors open out to a deck that overlooks the lake.|
To maximize privacy for everyone, the two-level home features one guest room on each floor. The walk-out lower level also includes space for a home theater and a recreation room. Outside, a stone patio directs adventurous souls toward a path that leads down to the water.
Offering respite from the home's more public areas, the master suite occupies its own wing on the main floor. It includes a sitting area, a walk-in closet/changing room, a luxurious bath and a massive stone fireplace that rises to the peak of the cathedral ceiling in the bedroom. French doors open out to a private deck. "It is almost like having a separate guesthouse within the home," says Dubrovsky.
While other architects and builders are welcome to design and construct homes in the development, Woodstone has been the builder of choice and even has a waiting list of clients. "So far," says Dubrovsky, "it seems that people are buying the project because of our reputation."
The Chapin Estate held its grand opening in November 2001, and 23 of the 35 available lots have been sold, says Dubrovsky. Nine homes are completed or under construction, and five are in the design phase. Each home site ranges from 4 to 8 acres.
Style of Home - Adirondack post-and-beam
Location - Bethel, N.Y.
Total Square Footage - 4,500
Market Value - $1.6 million
Architect/Builder/Interior Designer - The Woodstone Cos., Bethel
Spec-Built - Model for an exclusive development of secondary homes
Major Products Used - Appliances: Viking (stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, wine cooler, warming tray) - Cabinetry: Omega - Countertops: Ubatuba granite - Plumbing Fixtures: Elkay, Newport, American Standard, Jacuzzi, Porcher - Exterior Stain: Cabot - Fireplace: fieldstone - Lighting: Thomas, Lightolier, custom - Roofing: Prestique Elk - Windows: Crestline - Doors: custom white pine