MLS Number 216096
- Listings Residential
- Address 100-102 Elm St
- Bedrooms 7
- Bathroom 5
- Square Feet 3561
Two exceptional properties in one on the Green River. “The River House” built in 2007 with meticulous detail and energy efficient “Green” concepts offers three bedrooms and two and one half baths, plus a private outdoor shower, open living/dining room, office, efficient kitchen, and a mudroom with access to an attached two-car garage. The first floor master suite includes walk-in closets, laundry area and lovely bath with soaking tub. It has sliding doors to a private patio. This home is filled with light and has a view of and access to the Green River. “The Road House” is the second dwelling associated with the property – a 1960’s Ranch in pristine condition. The home includes three to four bedrooms, two baths, dining room with French doors, bright kitchen and wonderful private covered patio overlooking beautifully manicured gardens. There are gleaming oak floors throughout and a wood burning fireplace. This home has an attached two-car garage and also has direct access to the Green River.
BUILDING THE RIVER HOUSE
by Richard Fowle
Virginia & I felt passionately about building our new home, a meticulously-crafted, ecologically responsible, beautiful yet relatively small, house on the water – be it lake, river or ocean. This was the dream we shared.
The opportunity arrived with our move to Williamstown in 2005 that was motivated by my elderly father’s declining health. It was Virginia who spotted the perfect place to build – an acre of land with a 1960’s vintage ranch house but the whole property needed a very large dose of tender-loving-care. The house was situated close to the front of the property thereby leaving plenty of room for a second house on the bluff overlooking the picturesque Green River. Standing on the edge of the bluff, at the future site of our home, and looking east toward the river, there is not, and never will be, a trace of anything man-made other than the seldom-used walking path along the edge of the river.
The old ranch house had been divided to create a legal mother-in-law apartment. Because of this, the planners at Town Hall approved our plan to merge the apartment back into the existing house, abandoning the second kitchen in the process. The Town then agreed that we could build a new “second unit” and this is what became the “River House”.
Filled with excitement about this new adventure, we proceeded to plan our new home:
Foremost, the location would optimize the Green River views to the east, as well as Pine Cobble Mountain to the north. It would be a classic Victorian/Cottage with a steeply pitched roof and a second floor dormer looking out over the river.
We expected the “River House” to be our summer retirement home, right in the center of all that the Berkshires has to offer, so we wanted the master suite, including a full bath, walk-in closet and laundry facilities to be on the ground floor. We also knew we would be swimming all summer in the Green River just out our back doors so we installed a hot/cold private outdoor shower and patio area with direct access to our master suite.
We planned the upstairs to accommodate either two large guest bedrooms or one large guest bedroom and one large family room/studio (augmented with special acoustical wall treatment.) There is a full private bath.
We designed an open living/dinning room so that the dinning area could easily be expanded to accommodate meals for large family gatherings (of which we had many) and the living room would have a dramatic vaulted ceiling, a wood-burning fireplace adjacent a hidden, custom-built entertainment unit so that both could be enjoyed at the same time, and large windows that shows off the beautiful Green River views during all four Berkshire seasons.
And speaking of Berkshire seasons, we created an oversized garage to accommodate not only two vehicles but also a woodpile and a potting room. The garage structure, with automatic door openers, connects to the house by a mudroom with views both north toward Pine Cobble Mountain and south into the professionally-created front gardens, making it bright, welcoming and easy for winter ins-and-outs. Just inside the “River House” proper, entering from the mudroom, is a perfectly positioned half bath.
As cook in our family, I wanted a functional, green kitchen with a open bar area looking into the living room to facilitate both socializing during meal preparation as well as concealing the mess and clutter of said meal preparation. I also wanted to cook with gas and to have all energy-efficient appliances.
We needed approval of local and state environmental agencies. Their initial requirements placed the new house well back from the bluff, which did not satisfy our need for proximity to, and views of, the Green River. We needed a civil engineering firm to take our project to these agencies and get them to sign off on our proposal.
All inquiries led to one firm, Guntlow and Associates. Guntlow not only had the engineering and presentation skills that were needed, they also had the relationships with the town and state that would give us the best chance of success. After initial refusals from both agencies, Guntlow negotiated approvals from both. We did agree to major design changes to assure that the run-off from the roof went to an enormous, infiltration trench where the water would soak into the ground rather than running down the embankment and into the river.
Our success in gaining approval for the desired site for our home came at a substantial cost - $10,000 at least in engineering and permit fees. There was also $30,000 in extra construction expenses. It was worth every penny! The views to the Green River are spectacular and the experience of hearing the water flowing by as you go to sleep on balmy nights is priceless.
It is generally agreed that building ‘green’ will add around 15% to the overall cost of construction. The “River House” could have been built for $525,000 ($250 sq. ft. +/-) using conventional methods. Building‘green’ cost $620,000. There is $95,000 worth of additional value built into this perfectly sited, environmentally responsible and highly efficient home. This $95,000 is being recouped in comfort and in savings on heating costs year-after-year.
Virginia and I interviewed all of the area’s reputable contractors before selecting J. Craig Robertson to build our home. Not only did Craig have a stellar reputation for both the quality of his work and his environmental sensitivities, but he also had Scott and Walt on his payroll. It was these two highly skilled finish carpenters who built the “River House” from framing to finish. Typically, it is majestic, multi-million dollar homes that offer this level of fit and finish but the “River House” is unique. Here is a most unusual, modestly sized home with impeccable detail in fit and finish.
The effectiveness of highly sealed and insulated construction relies on attention to detail. This is where Scott and Walt, under the attentive eye of Craig, achieved the highest of standards. Craig used Structural Insulated Panels instead of conventional exterior framing. These panels have an “R” value of 21, compared to a net “R” value of 11 for a 2x4 fiberglass-insulated wall. Blown-in cellulose insulation for the rafters and attic created a similar benefit, all also executed to the highest standards. The “River House” is so tight in fact that it has a fresh air circulation system, with a heat exchanger, to assure comfort and safety year round.
Craig also used Pella Impervia thermopane all-fiberglass windows and installed a super-efficient Buderus natural gas furnace to complete the high-performance (meaning inexpensive to heat) package. The “River House” is plumbed for hot water solar panels that we elected not to install for aesthetic reasons.
Williamstown, MA, is the home of Williams College and all the renowned Art, Culture & Outdoor Living of the Berkshires and as such is an ideal home, second home or retirement destination. If your dream is to live in the heart of this vivacious academic community, in a beautifully custom-built 'Green' home, in a quiet location overlooking a meandering river then this may be the property you are looking for.
100 Elm, the “River House” and 102 Elm, the “Road House” have a total of 7 bedrooms, including two masters, 4 full baths, 1 half bath, 3583 sq. ft. of living space on a 1 acre in-town, river view lot, with 3000 sq. ft. of basement and 1200 sq. ft. of garage (two oversized 2-car garages.) The property is located on a quiet cul-de-sac surrounded by beautiful mature gardens and with direct private access to the Green River. This unique property is easy walking distance to Williams College, Williamstown Elementary School, downtown Spring Street and Wild Oats Market either by street or by the river path,
The “River House” was constructed by a local 'Green' builder in 2007 using Structural Insulated Panels and High-Efficiency building components, including a Buderus Gas Furnace. It features multiple unobstructed views and direct access to the Green River in its natural wooded setting, a ground floor master with ensuite and walk-in closet, private patio and outdoor shower, ground floor laundry, an office/den/nursery, spacious living room with vaulted ceiling and wood-burning fireplace, distinct formal dining area that can easily be expanded to accommodate large gatherings, a powder room just off the mudroom adjacent the attached two-car garage and potting room, two big second floor bedrooms or one bedroom plus a family room/studio, with a full bath and huge walk-in closet. The “River House” has 2,131 sq. ft. of living space, 1463 sq. ft. of partially finished basement and 628 sq. ft. of garage.
The “Road House” is an updated, well-maintained Ranch built in 1964 that features hardwood floors, wood-burning fireplace, four bedrooms or three bedrooms plus a family room, and two full baths as well as an oversized attached two-car garage. The “Road House” has 1452 sq. ft. of living space, 1452 sq. ft. of partially finished basement and 686 sq. ft. of garage.
Both homes are in the middle of Williamstown yet in the woods. This quiet and unique property has rental income history to reduce overhead regardless of which house is owner-occupied or if it is purchased as an investment. 102 Elm, the “Road House” (the Ranch) has been continuously rented for $1700 per month since 2008 and 100 Elm, the “River House” averages $2,300 per month and has been consistently rented for the past six years. Before that, it was rented during the summers to people like Kate Burton and Nicholas Martin of the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Both homes have large attached two-car garages and wood-burning fireplaces for Berkshire winters. Both have Green River and Pine Cobble Mountain views yet are in a very friendly and desirable neighborhood close to Schools and Services.
This UNIQUE RIVER ACCESS Property is quite simply one-of-a-kind.
Two exceptional properties in one on the Green River. The 'River House' built in 2007 with meticulous detail and energy efficient Green concept offers 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths plus private outdoor shower, open living/dining room filled with natural light, efficient kitchen and private patios. The 'Road House', a 1960's ranch in pristine condition with 3-4 bedrooms, 2 baths, & private covered patio.
Listed by Terry Harron-Lamb and Ann Greenwood of ALTON & WESTALL REAL ESTATE AGENCY, LLC
Listing Sold by Alton & Westall Real Estate Agency