After its “unfolding” last October, the 2,320-square-foot model home was ready to receive both green prefab admirers and prospective buyers during an open house celebration this past weekend in the scenic, snow-covered upstate New York burg of Copake. (The blink-and-you'll-miss-it town is in Columbia County, about a two-hour drive straight up the Taconic State Parkway for those of you familiar with the region). The folks at Blu Homes were kind enough to host me for the weekend and treat this Breezehouse newbie to a tour.
Although I’ve been familiar with the work of both Kaufmann and Blu Homes for a good while now, my tour of the Hudson Valley Breezehouse was anything but anti-climatic. It was coming home to a dream home that I'd never stepped foot in before. And while renderings, videos, and architectural photography do help to paint quite the pretty picture, they don't quite do justice to this specific home and its idyllic location.
Thanks to its orientation on a woodsy plot overlooking what I'm pretty sure was Massachusetts, the views enjoyed by the Hudson Valley Breezehouse were nothing less than spectacular. The fact that the sun was out and that the entire landscape was covered with a light blanket of shimmering, pristine snow no doubt added to the magic. To tweak a Sarah Palin-ism, this is probably the only Breezehouse where you can see Massachusetts from your backyard (Massachusetts being the last place Ms. Palin would probably ever want a view of). I can only imagine what those spectacular vistas are like during the summer months.
That said, Neil Costa, the developer responsible for bringing the Breezehouse to this remote stretch of paradise near the Berkshire Mountains, worked with a local nature conservancy and was respectful in preserving the unblemished environment surrounding the home. The same goes for Costa's 11 additional home sites spread across 200-acres in the vicinity of the Breezehouse.
While Costa was careful not to disturb the natural beauty in creating his eco-development, he did take great liberties in manipulating and reconfiguring the design of the three-bedroom/three bath Breezehouse. Blu Homes encourages clients to tweak and fully customize their homes and Costa, an older gentleman with a faint British accent and the reluctance to self-identify as a developer, took full advantage of this. It’s part of the beauty of the company and prefab building in general — you can build upon an existing floorplan and truly make it your own with little to no fuss.
Composed of two 49-foot-by-18-foot modules joined by a Breezespace (aka the living room) measuring 25-feet-by-20-feet, the home’s interior is equally lovely — plenty of natural light, soaring ceilings, and a spacious open floor plan arranged with communal shindigs and entertaining in mind. Also, Blu Homes and Costa did a bang-up job appointing the $1.6 million property. While a sleek yet comfortable California modern aesthetic prevails throughout the interiors, the company also took full advantage of nearby Hudson, N.Y., a charming historic town with a treasure trove of art galleries, high-end home design shops, and vintage furniture peddlers. In fact, the work of four Hudson Valley-based artists are prominently on display throughout the home.
Although Costa doesn’t plan on pursuing LEED certification or net-zero energy status (like all Blu Homes, the Breezehouse is LEED Silver certifiable upon leaving the company’s Vallejo, Calif., factory), the home is filled with an impressive laundry list of green technologies and high-performance materials, many of which are standard for Blu designs: Warmboard radiant floor heating, high levels of insulation, recycled steel framing, low-flow fixtures from Kohler, dual-flush toilets from Toto, FSC-certified flooring, EnergyStar-rated Whirlpool appliances, and high-efficiency HVAC systems. On my visit, the home's Heat & Glo fireplace was roaring and the home was comfortable despite the in-the-teens temperatures outside.
Click here to learn more about the Hudson Valley Breezehouse and to view additional (much better) photography. It’s also worth taking a look at this just-as-lovely Breezehouse located in decidedly more temperate climes with an entirely unique layout. And for those of you New Yorkers who are smitten by the Breezehouse but aren't keen on spending so much time in the sticks, a second Breezehouse from Blu Homes will soon be arriving in the Empire State. This one will be located in the decidedly more commuter-friendly Westchester County town of Pound Ridge.
And with that, I think I'll leave you with that stunning view ...