Kyle Schadt and Scott Edgett – the founders of North Fork Woodworks – felt that their renovation of a near-century old New Suffolk waterfront really exemplifies the idea that with some creativity, know-how and a good measure of persistence, a lot of charming older houses need not simply be bulldozed. “It’s our thing to really build what we call a North Fork home” says Kyle Schadt. “There’s so much charm and potential — they’re great buildings with a lot of character where you can raise a family — why would you want to knock that down and replace it with a McMansion?”
Scott and Kyle’s enthusiasm was certainly put to the test with their Kimogenor Point project, which they were awarded only weeks before Hurricane Sandy.
Though initially tasked with renovating the home, the age and condition of the house coupled with considerable damage from the storm and a very tricky town code process made keeping the classic home quite challenging.
For starters, North Fork needed to retain at least 25% of the existing structure — which was made more difficult due to the original ‘Balloon Framing’ — essentially an old process by which a two story ‘box’ structure is created, with long single-piece studs running the entire 2-story height of the structure, and separated at 4-foot intervals.
This type of build in particular made retaining the required percentage of the original structure much more challenging.
If that wasn’t enough, due to town code, the house could not be moved off of its existing footprint to install a new piling foundation, which meant that the usually simple process of bringing in a crane and installing 30’ pilings was impossible, as the house simply could not be raised high enough to accommodate that kind of work, or even temporarily moved to a spot adjacent to the build site. Fortunately, North Fork devised a way to install pilings by lifting the house to a reasonable height, and making use of a ‘helical’ piling system, which works much in the way a drill bit does, and enabled them to install the necessary foundation with far less clearance.
The process of saving this home became even more difficult when a Nor’easter swept through the already storm-damaged area, which meant that the now-suspended house needed to essentially be ‘tied down’ to keep is from blowing away. Massive concrete weights were brought in to stabilize the structure, which was, according to Scott, “A little more stressful than usual.”
Once the storms passed, however, due to the need to remain ‘grandfathered’ in to the old code requirements, the remaining second story of the house still could not be moved, which meant that the entire first floor needed to be built underneath the suspended second floor — another harrowing process.
As you can see in the accompanying photos, the process, though challenging, turned out to be extremely rewarding as the company was able to actually retain and reuse even more than the 25% required.
“If you look at the final home,” says Kyle, “we’re really happy that we managed to retain so much of the home’s original character. We were fortunate to be able to work with Samuels & Steelman — they did a great job designing the home to really capture its original look and feel.”
As an added bonus, the new home is tremendously energy efficient.
Says Kyle, “We used spray foam to create a completely draft-free environment, implemented an air recovery system because it’s so tight, and the entire home is on an automated timer system to minimize energy use. It was a tough process, but it was worth it.”
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