• Windermere on the Lake Stamford, CT Cumbria model home

    Credit: Kenneth Gabrielsen

    Project: Windermere on the Lake, Stamford, Conn. Size: 74 acres; 24 4,000- to 8,000-square-foot homes Price Range: $3.2million–$4.8 million Completed: In progress Certifications: LEED Certified (model) Developer: NRDC Residential, Stamford Architect: Bartels-Pagliaro Architects, Norwalk, Conn. Builder: National Realty & Development Corp., Purchase, N.Y. Interiors: Karen Houghton Interiors, Nyack, Landscape Architect: Simon Johnson Landscape Architect, Bath, U.K. Consultants: Steven Winter Associates (green building), Norwalk; Environmental Planning Services (Habitat Management Plan), North Stonington, Conn.; Hybrid Homes (geothermal contractor), Wilton, Conn.
Don’t call Windermere on the Lake a subdivision. In fact, with its single point of entry and dead-ended main arterial street, it breaks every rule in the traffic management handbook—and its creators wouldn’t have it any other way.

“The site is a natural extension of what already exists in the surrounding community,” says developer Mark Robbins of the historic Long Ridge neighborhood of Stamford, Conn., where the project is located. “We’re not creating a self-contained, insulated community, but an evolution of the area’s existing development.”

But while the 74-acre Windermere on the Lake enclave of 24 luxury homes and four common buildings may simply add a new thread to the tapestry of this New York City bedroom community, it also takes a revolutionary step in habitat management, natural resource conservation, architectural harmony, and comprehensive housing performance.

“We approached the project from a holistic view, from tree preservation to designing and siting each house for shade, views, exposure to the sun, and their relation to each other and the site’s natural features,” says Robbins. “We developed architecture that works within a larger framework.”

They also created a design, development, and construction program that delivers large, expensive, and well-appointed semi-custom homes that far exceed code minimum for energy savings, easily meet Energy Star standards, and can be slightly upgraded to achieve LEED for Homes certification, which the 7,997-square-foot model home did earlier this year.

Despite that achievement, Robbins prefers to focus on the performance of the entire enclave, gently carved out of a privately owned park.