Goldberg & Rodler has won another national award (from PLANET) for one of our projects.We’re so pleased that the judges recognized our team’s hard work on the design and the installation of this residence. Read on to discover exactly what we did and to see pictures, before and after, of the project.
When our clients bought this waterfront residence it was virtually un-maintained for several years and needed a complete overhaul. Their wish list included making the steep and narrow driveway easier to navigate, creating inviting entertaining spaces, a putting green, a BBQ, removals of invasive plants, renovating the leaking gunite pool, extensive outdoor lighting, better dock access and storage space for recreation items.
Overgrown, dead and invasive plantings were the first big challenge with the site. Removing hemlocks infested with wooly adelgid, controlling invasive English Ivy, removing Poison Ivy and essential pruning for the property’s shade trees. Most existing retaining walls on site were failing and had to be replaced or repaired. The leaking gunite pool needed extensive renovation. Raccoons had made the dock their personal bathroom. The current drainage pattern was down the driveway (about 20 feet higher than the house at the street), straight to the house.
We re-graded the driveway changing a 17% slope to a 15% slope and built boulder walls at the road and below for guest parking. A custom Belgian Block Cobble culvert, strip drain and surface drains catch runoff coming down the driveway and direct it into 3 new drywells. A shed off the parking stall holds family bikes and there’s space for one-on-one basketball.
A cozy putting green sits below the pool area. A large brick and bluestone patio surrounds the renovated gunite pool, complete with a new bluestone coping. We added a swim out to the deep end and converted the existing pond to a reservoir that spills into the pool, circulating the water. Random bricks break up the sheet of water into tranquil white noise.
A new composite deck with glass paneled railings keeps the view unobstructed. The steps lead to irregular bluestone with lawn joints out to open lawn. A custom railing and gate keeps raccoons from wreaking havoc on the dock. We designed an extensive lighting plan to highlight the landscape and make the property usable all day.
All of the bluff planting was retained to ensure slope stability and we selectively pruned along the bluff to maintain a dramatic view to the water. As part of our philosophy, we try to reuse as much of the existing vegetation and materials as possible. Existing daylilies were transplanted along the top of the slope to help prevent washout erosion and we rehabilitated and transplanted rhododendrons from the pool area to a woodland setting where they could thrive.
The property had many dilapidated boulder structures scattered about, built years ago by a monk, and had sentimental value to our clients. We salvaged and repurposed every boulder for new boulder and gabion walls and also for rip rap in various places to retain slopes.
Difficulties during construction included a massive rainstorm in the middle of the driveway construction. The basement flooded and we discovered the previous owners had concealed a major issue: they had built a false wall in the basement to hide the fact that there was no waterproofing on the foundation. We worked through the night with the family to empty the basement of water and came back the next day to waterproof the foundation. Also, gutters were pitched incorrectly and downspouts were broken or clogged. We replaced all leaders and gutters and calculated drainage capacity for the new drywells. Other discoveries included rotten wood and a leaking roof which were both replaced with high tech, low-maintenance materials (a slate substitute and Azek columns) to maintain the historic look of the house.
Photos by Susan Sotera