A request for proposals sent to several leading architects led Robbins to Bartels-Pagliaro Architects in nearby Norwalk and U.K.-based landscape savant Simon Johnson, who together devised a built environment that reflects historic English lake homes in their design and performance and, more importantly, reinforces the project’s extensive Habitat Management Plan.
That plan runs the gamut from installing drought-tolerant plants and removing invasive species to stormwater management, erosion control, and tree preservation. For example, use of chemical pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers is banned within the enclave, and wooden pallets placed in the parcel’s lake and pond provide breeding grounds for newts and salamanders.
Meanwhile, thousands of wetland plants installed in and along the water provide natural stormwater management and erosion control. Van-sized, underground vortex units and biofilters supplement nature’s way by effectively collecting, cleansing, and discharging stormwater runoff into the water features and open spaces. “We’ve created a comprehensive program that enhances the quality of the lake, pond, and the site to promote habitat and biodiversity,” Robbins says.
And to preserve those efforts, the developer granted 25 acres to the Stamford Land Conservation Trust in addition to 25 contiguous acres earmarked as permanent open space on the property. “You can’t just gift something and walk away,” Robbins says of the trust’s charge to manage the gifted land. “Actively maintaining the Habitat Management Plan is the unique aspect of it.”
To date, Robbins and his development team (including in-house construction managers) have completed three homes. The Cumbria, with its distinctive, sloping gable rooflines and shingle siding, is fully furnished to serve as the model home; it’s also LEED-Certified—having earned extra credits to achieve that rating, given its size—and as such, demonstrates several of the options available to buyers who want a boost to that level from an already impressive baseline.