The Great Es­cape

The home-build­ing ex­pe­ri­ence has come to an end. But for the Olsens, life at their get­away re­treat is just be­gin­ning.

Timber Home Living - - Contents - PHO­TOS BY SCOTT HEMENWAY

Drive two hours north on the Ta­conic State Park­way, away from the bright lights and fast pace of Man­hat­tan, and you’ll soon find your­self pulling off into the charm­ing ham­let of Hills­dale, New York. It’s here, sur­rounded by rolling hills and coun­try roads paired with up­scale ameni­ties and mil­lion-dol­lar views of the Mas­sachusetts Berk­shires, that city dwellers come to rest, re­lax and get away from it all. And Greg and Dee Olsen are no ex­cep­tion.

“We go up to the house pretty much every other week­end, when­ever the kids have va­ca­tion — all the time,” says Greg, adding that they’ve also been host­ing guests fre­quently,

in­clud­ing his par­ents. “My dad’s an ar­chi­tect, so he re­ally ap­pre­ci­ates the house and how it lives on the land and cap­tures the view.”

It was that view that first cap­tured Greg’s at­ten­tion as well, and served as the fo­cal point for the home’s “one with na­ture” de­sign. “The view and the pond are what we en­joy most. The set­ting is re­ally some­thing you would typ­i­cally go on a hike or a gon­dola ride to set out and see, but we’re so spoiled be­cause we wake up to it every morn­ing,” he says. “The house com­ple­ments the property so nicely, but it’s the lo­ca­tion that re­ally blows us away every sin­gle day.”

The fin­ished home has other stand­out qual­i­ties, in­clud­ing a mix of re­claimed ma­te­ri­als; a walk-out lower level with a rec room and home gym; and a “healthy house” ap­proach that helps with their daugh­ter’s en­vi­ron­men­tal al­ler­gies. The de­sign, with its open kitchen/din­ing/liv- ing space and walk-out lower level, lives larger than its 3,200 square feet, Greg adds. “The great room that leads into the kitchen and the din­ing area — ev­ery­one’s al­ways spend­ing time there. No one is hud­dled up in their rooms. The kids study at the din­ing room ta­ble. If we’re read­ing a book, we’re in the liv­ing room or on the porch. I def­i­nitely think we de­signed the right size house with the per­fect lay­out.”

From start to fin­ish, de­sign to com­ple­tion, the Olsens’ home-build­ing jour­ney has been just that: per­fect. “It might sound a lit­tle un­be­liev­able or corny be­cause you some­times hear horror sto­ries about build­ing a cus­tom home, but we didn’t have any of that,” says Greg. “We’re so happy we de­cided to build this house and we’re so happy we de­cided to work with New En­ergy Works. We couldn’t have built a bet­ter home for our fam­ily and this spec­tac­u­lar piece of property.”

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