Energy-efficient designs intended to reflect style of European residences
The first two houses to be built in the New Luxembourg subdivision in Belgium received high praise from the Plan Commission Tuesday.
Mike Speas of Timberlake Development in Port Washington presented plans for two-story houses that are about 1,400 and 1,500 square feet to be built at 136 and 138 Peter Thein Ave.
The three-bedroom, two-bathroom, high-energy-efficient structures will have loft bonus rooms on the top level, basements and attached two-car garages.
“The idea is to build extremely well-tailored homes with metal roof systems and 50-year siding that will last,” Speas said.
“The focus is on quality, durability and longevity — kind of a European model. Our focus has long been on preservation, efficiency and sustainability, but this time we’re tailoring it to a neighborhood.”
The houses, which will have porches and steep-peaked roofs, will have different designs. The 1,500-square-foot house will have a longer front porch entrance and a driveway with a narrow grass strip down the center to a garage in back of the house. The smaller house will have a stepped-back, smaller front porch entrance, a dormer for the loft bonus room and a side garage.
The major living spaces, including the three bedrooms, are on the first floor, Speas said. The houses will have French windows, raised front planters, back patios and courtyards.
Future houses will include ranch and two-story styles, he said. Some will have detached garages with loft rooms. All will have basements, some with egress windows, Speas said.
The colors for the homes will be chosen from a palette developed by Kate Ansay, daughter of Mike Ansay, developer of the mixed-use subdivision that will feature architectural details used in Luxembourg. She also assisted in the house and site plans.
“They’re earthy tones with darker cedar garage doors,” Speas said. “The garages are mostly hidden. If the garage is seen from the road, we will dress it up with windows.”
Commission members praised the plans and voiced no concerns.
“I like the looks of the houses and the front porch effect,” Trustee Clem Gottsacker said. “It seems like houses are getting away from porches. I like them.”
The first two houses, which Speas said will sell for about $200,000 depending upon final construction costs, are being built as models to show people what is available. He expects future houses to be presold.
“Our best marketing will be having people see them. That sells them,” Speas said. “Every time we did that, the houses sold immediately.”
The houses will be part of the Focus on Energy initiative with an energy expert certifying efficiency ratings, Speas said.
Village President Richard Howells said he was impressed when he went through a house Speas built in Port Washington similar to the ones that will be built in Belgium.
“The one I saw had that extra room that I thought would be great for anything you want — a man-cave or a she-cave,” Howells said.
The house Howells toured is the same as the larger one presented to the commission, Speas said.
Kate Ansay, who designed the interior of the Village Hall that will be built in the subdivision’s village square, told the commission, “I’m a fan of the product and I hope everything goes smoothly. The energy piece is huge, very huge.”
Speas said he hopes to start digging this month and have the houses enclosed by the end of the year with completion in April or May.
“We’ll dig as soon as we get permit approval. I have an excavator lined up, and we’re ready to go,” Speas said.
“We want them to be ready in early spring when people are looking to buy.”
Howells said Neil Tiziani, real estate director for Ansay Development Corp., told him Tuesday the deed to the land should be transferred to Speas within two weeks.
The Village Board has approved nine residential lots in the first phase of the 40-acre, mixed-use New Luxembourg subdivision, which includes a village square.
In addition to the Village Hall, the square, which will be built around a central mall, will include the Luxembourg American Cultural Center, a community center, art center and commercial buildings.
Mike Ansay, who donated the lot and $600,000 for the Village Hall, also plans to donate the mall and two streets leading into the square to the village, which will maintain them.
The Village Board is expected to approve an agreement for the mall donation during a 5 p.m. board meeting Thursday, Oct. 24.