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Home builders honored for best 2013 work in Niantic, Stonington, Mystic

By Lee Howard

Publication: The Day

Published February 23. 2014 4:00AM
Envelope, please. And the HOBI goes to ...

Actors have the Emmys, musicians have the Grammys and builders have the HOBIs - awards that recognize the highest level of achievement among Connecticut contractors.

The statewide Home Building Industry Awards for 2013 were handed out late last year for a variety of projects in the region, including major updates for an architecturally significant house in Stonington, a custom home overlooking the Pattagansett River in Niantic and a condominium requiring extensive renovation at Steamboat Wharf in Mystic.

Here are some of the highlights of the local award winners as determined by the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Connecticut.

All construction was completed last year:

Best New London County residential remodel,
$250,000-$500,000

Builder Nort Wheeler of Mystic River Building Co. in Old Mystic and architect Christopher Arelt of Nautilus Architects in Old Lyme combined to renovate a 2,100-square-foot waterfront condominium at Steamboat Wharf in Mystic.

One of the home's chief puzzles was solved when it was determined that a machine roomless elevator - placed where a chimney had been - could solve the problem of accessibility to the three-story home.

So the condo was gutted, hallways were widened and architectural details were added in keeping with a desired nautical flair.

"We raised the lower level sunken living room to prevent flooding, and the new man cave serves as an ideal retreat during Red Sox season, while providing extra sleeping space for visiting college students," according to a project description.

The second floor was set aside for two sleeping quarters, including a high-ceilinged master bedroom that opens to a sun deck. The top floor includes a new designer kitchen with granite countertops and a dining booth built for six.

Best New London County residential remodel, $100,000-$250,000

For Denise Nott of Nutmeg Building & Remodeling in Ledyard, the challenge of an extensive remodeling on Meadowbrook Lane in Mystic was trying to update the space without neglecting the charming aspects of the original house.

Working with Mystic architect Gwen Cukierski of Home Design Associates, Nott took about four months to remodel the home owned by Karen Walker overlooking Williams Cove and Mystic Harbor. It was the same place where Walker grew up, and she wanted to retain aspects of the home that stirred childhood memories.

"One of the major challenges was blending the old style with the new style," Nott said in a phone interview.

The house also had zoning restrictions that determined how an addition would be placed and the space would be configured. The original 1,064-square-foot house grew by nearly 600 square feet, not including a new one-car garage.

The home's exterior was resided and painted, and new wood floors and an updated kitchen was added.

All of this was accomplished, Nott said, while keeping the home's look from street level as unobtrusive as possible by retaining the original low roof line.

Outstanding New London County custom home, under 3,000 square feet

BROM Builders of Norwich built a special home overlooking a saltwater marsh at on Brainerd Road in Niantic.

"This custom home was designed to maximize wonderful water views of the Pattagansett River and accent and utilize the natural features of the lot itself," according to a project description.

Greg Hanner, project manager, said in a phone interview that this was BROM's second custom home for the same customer. The open-floor-plan home included two outdoor living areas and an in-ground pool cut into an embankment.

"It was built to entertain," Hanner said.

Unobstructed views to the water were paramount, so a security fence around the pool was built with this in mind. Stone from the lot was repurposed to construct an Irish dolman - a natural stone sculpture - in the front.

Best adaptive reuse

The renovation of Chester Savings Bank into an upscale restaurant known as Six Main involved a major reimagining of an 1800s brick and limestone building.

Nick Sapia of Old Lyme-based Sapia Builders Corp. converted the original space into a commercial kitchen for a five-star restaurant while adding a teaching area, server station and, most important, a cathedral-ceilinged dining room with period moldings for an elegant dining experience.

The restaurant also included a seated bar area in the dining room, outdoor patio, walkways and many more challenges behind the scenes.

Best single-family home, $500,000-$600,000

Resembling a Nantucket village, the Residences at Fox Hopyard in East Haddam feature open, easy-living floor plans, Palladian windows, hardwood floors and sites overlooking a top-notch golf course.

The winning house built by Uccello Development of Rocky Hill, on Fox Hopyard Road, is known as the Stonington model and is on the market for $599,900.

"The project is 20 percent built," said Vivian Senft, listing agent for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Old Lyme, in a phone interview. "It's gaining momentum as the market continues to improve."

With geothermal heat and green construction, the homes at Fox Hopyard come with a one-year golf club initiation fees prepaid. Tennis courts are also nearby, and Fox Hopyard is committed to building a pool complex at some point, said Senft, who expects work on phase 2 of the development to start by springtime.

Other winners:

Best not so big custom home, Celebration Contracting (Madison), Saybrook Road, Essex.

Outstanding special-purpose room, Celebration Contracting (Madison) for antique car garage workshop in Essex.

Best detached 55+ community, ASW LLC (Tolland) for North Woods of Colchester.

Best not so big spec home, ASW LLC (Tolland) for the Birch model at North Woods of Colchester.

Best lower level remodel, Sapia Builders Corp. (Old Lyme) for River Road, Essex.

Outstanding New London County Commercial rehab, Mystic River Building Company (Old Mystic) for Sun Seaport RV Resort in Mystic; www.mysticriverbuilding.com.

Outstanding custom home, 5,000-6,000 square feet: Prutting & Co. (New Canaan), for a home in Stonington.

l.howard@theday.com

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For more information

• Residences at Fox Hopyard: www.foxhopyardhomes.com

• Mystic River Building Co.: www.mysticriverbuilding.com

• Nautilus Architects: www.nautilusarchitects.com

• Sapia Builders Corp.: www.sapiacorp.com

• Nutmeg Building & Remodeling: www.nutmegbuildingremodeling.com

• BROM Builders: www.brombuilders.com

• Home Design Associates: www.hdahome.com

• Prutting & Co.: www.prutting.com

• Joeb Moore & Partners: www.joebmoore.com

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