When Donald Billinkoff of Manhattan-based Billinkoff Architecture was looking for his next home renovation project, he searched for a single family mid-century residence in Litchfield County, CT. He didn't quite find mid-century - instead he found a Paradise Lane, a home built in 1968 with good bones and a sensible layout, but some peculiar design features on the interior. Being an architect, he applied his knowledge, some eco-strategies and a well-balanced palette of materials to transform it into a stunning contemporary home. Paradise Lane is an excellent example of a renovation done right, and it shows how a good architect can turn a "tear-down" into something brilliant.
Paradise Lane was custom-built in 1968 by a local New Milford architect for his own family, but by the time Donald Billinkoff got a hold of it, the home had some peculiar features. As one of Billinkoff’s architect friends said, it had the “appearance of a rest station in a public park” and had furnishings and lighting that accentuated the home’s awkwardness. This included a behemoth fireplace made with chocolate brown tiles and beige bricks that terminated at odd angles. Yet, the home had good views, a single story, and good bones that Billinkoff could work with.
His remodel included replacing windows with more efficient and open ones and removing a few walls to open up the space and make it more flexible. The fireplace was torn out and replaced with one made with exposed CMU, and a new elevated porch was built off the dining room to take advantage of the outdoors.
Billinkoff sourced new materials from local or USA-based companies and reused materials whenever possible – oak doors serve as a table and countertops insulation was moved to new locations. The roof features a new white membrane to reflect heat and a solar thermal system for domestic hot water. New windows and overhangs help provide more daylight and minimize overheating in the summer, while new tiles absorb heat during the winter. A high-efficiency zoned heating system and LED lighting reduces energy usage and low-flow fixtures reduce water consumption.
Images ©Donald Billinkoff