by Karen Marley
How long would you wait for love?
Originally from Pittsford, Dan and Laurie Hoffend moved away 18 years ago. From the moment of departure, they knew they wanted to return to the Finger Lakes for summers and holidays in a place of their own. Currently living in Dallas, they spent the last four years searching for a home before finding their dream resting in a woodland canopy above the shores of Canandaigua Lake.
At the time of purchase, the Hoffends’ home was purely visionary. The existing structure was a worn-out fishing camp, but the property was pure magic. An old-growth, mixed hardwood forest cascaded down to a cliff threaded with approximately 80 stairs leading to the lake level.
Exciting topography creates distinct challenges, but when handled correctly, challenges beget unique beauty. Fortunately, New Energy Works, a design build, timber frame and woodworks firm, knew exactly what to do.
“If you can use the site challenges and constraints to the advantage of the home, you get something really special,” says Ty Allen, design build manager at New Energy Works.
New Energy Works built a multigenerational, five-bedroom home with two first-floor master suites. The house is both perched on a hill and modestly tucked into the forest, thus protecting its privacy. A trail meanders from the home to the cliff’s edge where Allen figured out how to reduce the climb to the boathouse docks and water level to about 40 stairs. A natural stone fire pit with seating gives people a destination and place to relax along the way.
The home’s construction is a hybrid of timber and traditional framing in the style of Alpine chic. Inside, heavy timbers are whitewashed; making the interior post and beams pop in graceful arches across the vaulted ceiling. Natural textures and simple colors give the open interior a warm and welcoming energy.
Slate and mixed-wood floors emulate the Finger Lake’s natural elements. Views capture both the grandness of the lake and forest’s upper levels; making the home look and feel like a sophisticated tree house. Trees that were cut to make room for the home were reclaimed for interior built-ins. One particularly beloved old hickory is now the kitchen island.
Thoughtfully-sourced and sustainable materials were paramount. Cabinetry, built-in features and hickory flooring was made of reclaimed wood provided and built by New Energy Works’ sister companies – Pioneer Millworks and NEWwoodworks.
The home is replete with New Energy Works’ insistence on high functionality. A rain garden controls runoff along the steep slope. Cellulose and solar insulation capture and make smart use of renewable sources. In fact, the home outperforms standard code in air tightness.
“From day one I felt like we belonged there,” says homeowner Laurie Hoffend. “It’s where everyone wants to go and come back to. It’s just spectacular.”