of the house, so that rain falls between the
layers and flushes out a drain, preventing
harmful moisture from building up.
There are six heating zones in the
house, but only one is usually needed. A
heat pump warms the house in early spring
and late fall, and the family relies on oil
during the New England winters. Passive
solar gain and generous cellulose insulation contribute to keeping things comfortable and energy costs down. In the ceiling,
Gitelman used a soy-based foam insulation, an environmentally conscious choice
that expands 100 times its size to fill in tiny
gaps and make an incredibly tight seal.
Although more expensive than traditional
fiberglass, it is cost-effective in the long
run, says Gitelman.
Surprisingly, her modern methods
were rejected by many contractors. “The
general reaction to my plans was negative,”
says Gitelman. “Many people don’t want
to learn the new techniques.”
Once the right group of people was found, the renovation and addition took a year
to complete. The finished house is more
than double the square footage of the original ranch, yet costs much less to maintain.
For Gitelman, however, the most important
result of the renovation is the ease with
which family time just happens.
a marble-tile floor and tub surround and the
sharp edges of the rectangular wall-mounted sink
contribute to the clean, crisp lines of the master
bathroom, which is warmed by a wall-mounted
Runtal radiator that doubles as a towel bar.