These dormers have a great deal of detail. To reduce the cost and make them so the detail could stand up to Long Island Sound weather, we fabricated and finished them in our shop and then installed them in one day with a crane. This approach ensured the completed work could stand up to the weather but it also ensured that the long term maintenance costs were as low as possible.
The stone for this home was imported directly from Pennsylvania and is called Wissahickon Schist. Quarried in southern Pennsylvania for more than 300 years, E.M. Rose tracked down the last quarry still in operation so we could import the stone directly. By dealing direct with the quarry we saved our Client $150/ton for the stone delivered to the site.
The bid specification we prepared set out a schedule that required a large company to do the work in order to get the work done as fast as possible. By adjusting the schedule and changing some details at the windows and doors we were able to modify the critical path schedule so we were less dependent on the stone veneer to move the project forward. The flexibility this afforded us opened the masonry trade to much smaller subcontractors who were capable of the workmanship but at a much slower pace and more importantly, at a significantly lower cost. By extending the time allowed for the stone veneer and the owner agreeing to add time to the project schedule overall, we saved our Client $700,000 without reducing the scope or quality of the project.
Our stone cutters in France collaborated with the Architect by phone and carved this classical limestone fireplace for half the cost of domestic companies. We maintain many European trade relationships that perform these trades and details routinely for the European market while designs such as these are considered more rare and thus more expensive in the American market.
Reclaimed White Oak
It took months to find two reclaimed white oak timbers long enough and large enough to complete this room. Through diligent research we found the timbers we needed without causing delays or incurring extra costs.
Architect Sean O'Kane's inspiration for this unique stone Georgian is the well known Country House in Scotland called Grey Walls designed by the famed English Architect Edwin Lutyens. For further inspiration, we accompanied the architect on a trip to Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia PA where many great homes were built of a local stone called Wissihickon Schist. We searched out and found the only remaining Wissihickon Schist quarry in Media, PA and arranged to bring the stone direct from the quarry to CT. Working direct with the quarry instead of a local stone retailer in CT saved our client more than $100/ton.
With the help of several skilled Pennsylvania masons, we developed the mortar for this project using natural sands and no artificial colors. It became our responsibility to learn and understand the style of masonry that the architect had chosen so we could teach it as part of selecting the right mason for the project. When we embark on a project of traditional architecture, we believe it is a requirement to use materials and methods consistent with the period and style of the house.
Our challenge is always to make this attention to detail possible, taking great pains to control the cost and make it sensible to pursue. Often we find that the extra effort not only gives better results but we are often surprised that the "hard way" turns out to be the more cost effective way.