Dwell-Worthy, Eco-Friendly Design in Rural CT: Must Like Beavers

When architect Lynn Gaffney heard her eco-friendly, modern weekend home in rural Connecticut was going to be featured in Dwell magazine, she probably didn’t imagine it would be so focused on the beavers in her backyard, but there it is.

The article from 2009 says the beavers on the property “generally keep a low profile,” but the enterprising mammals can cause a bit of local havoc once in a while. Now, nine years later, the three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 2,148-square-foot home is on the market, with beavers and all, for only $650,000.

Inspired by the bare, utilitarian aesthetic of barns and sheds, Gaffney designed the home to be green through and through. The home is made of structural insulated panels, or SIPs. These pieces of foam insulation are sandwiched between two layers of engineered wood, and they take the place of traditional stud and frame construction.

SIPs are darlings of sustainable building because they generate less construction waste and allow builders to create airtight structures, reducing the amount of energy required to heat and cool a home.

The house includes other eco-friendly features such as radiant heating, sustainable concrete and bamboo floors, fluorescent lighting, and walls covered in linseed-treated plywood instead of VOC-emitting paint.

The metal-clad exterior of Lynn Gaffney's eco-friendly home
The metal-clad exterior of Lynn Gaffney’s eco-friendly home

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Open plan living spaces
Open plan living spaces

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Cozy fireplace
Cozy fireplace

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Huge walls of windows let in natural light, and an overhang on the roofline helps keep the interior cool in the summer. But the design isn’t just focused on sustainability: The interior is sleek and modern, with a double-height living area, generous kitchen, and fireplace.

The master bedroom has a soaking tub, shower, and double sinks. Each floor has a full bathroom, and there is a one-bedroom unit above the two-car garage. The open kitchen, done in white and stainless steel, has a big island perfect for country dinner parties. The 8-acre property is landscaped with native plants.

Even with the beavers, it’s peaceful to the point of idyllic, especially for Gaffney and her husband, Bill Backus, a financial portfolio manager, who spend their weeknights in a Chelsea walk-up.

“Here, there’s a complete absence of noise. You can stand in our backyard and not hear a thing,” Backus told Dwell in 2009.

If you think that sounds like a steal at $650,000, you’re not alone.

“People really want modern and in Connecticut, we don’t have a lot of modern,” says listing agent Ira Goldspiel. “Certainly not at this price point.”

In fact, there’s currently a bidding war on the property. “It’s a main house and a guesthouse—you’re really getting a lot,” says Goldspiel. Eco-friendly design, a modern aesthetic, and beavers. Lots of beavers.

A white kitchen
A white kitchen

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Master bathroom with soaking tub
Master bathroom with soaking tub

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A roof overhang helps keep the home cool in summer.
A roof overhang helps keep the home cool in summer.

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Guesthouse
Guesthouse

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https://www.realtor.com/news/unique-homes/dwell-worthy-eco-friendly-connecticut/

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