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Making Progress at the 2020 Idea House: Farmhouse in Fairfield County

Our Fairfield County, Connecticut Farmhouse is coming to life—here’s a look behind the scenes!

Fairfield Farmhouse, Idea House 2020

The rustic character of our Fairfield Farmhouse emerges with installation of its standing seam metal roof, board-and-batten siding on the bedroom wing, and natural cedar on the barn. But there’s still plenty of work to be done—inside and out—before this house is move-in ready.

Water View

Fairfield Farmhouse, Idea House 2020 Courtesy Greyrock Homes

Sited about 22 feet above the road, the house takes advantage of its unimpeded view of Long Island Sound with a balcony off the second floor and three triple 8-ft. window units on the south wall of the barn-like great room. The center unit contains a patio door.

Entry Courtyard

Fairfield Farmhouse, Idea House 2020

The last of the prefinished Western Red Cedar siding goes up on the barn wing, which projects just enough to form an entry courtyard on the side of the house. Tucking the front door and garage entry on the side gives the house the look of a vintage agricultural building when viewed from the road. Architectural roof shingles on the bedroom wing are engineered to withstand both wind and algae growth, critical in this coastal climate.

Siding: Board-and-batten by LP SmartSide; Western Red Cedar, prefinished by Ring’s End
Roofing: GAF
Skylights: VELUX

Stone Veneer Meets Cedar Siding

Fairfield Farmhouse, Idea House 2020

The use of 1 1/2-inch thick stone veneer over the concrete foundation enabled the builder to create a crisp, clean line where it meets the barn’s cedar siding. A thin strip of copper flashing protects the stone from water infiltration.

Siding: Western Red Cedar, prefinished by Ring’s End

Recessed Lights in a Cathedral Ceiling

Fairfield Farmhouse, Idea House 2020

Mold-resistant drywall goes up on the ceiling of the great room, which has been insulated with closed-cell spray foam. Circles cut in the drywall indicate the location of can lights and audio speakers for the integrated sound system. The structural beams will be dressed up with an oak veneer.

Insulation: (interior walls) ComfortBatt by ROCKWOOL
Gypsum Board: National Gypsum

Sun Tunnels Brighten a Long Hall

Fairfield Farmhouse, Idea House 2020

Sun tunnels admit ample light along the length of a hallway that runs from the entry foyer across the house to a door leading to the plunge pool. Because it abuts the garage foundation, the wall on the left needed to be built out slightly to accommodate some electrical conduit, thus providing an opportunity for two display recesses that add interest to the space.

Sun Tunnel Skylights: VELUX
Gypsum Board: National Gypsum

Toasty Mudroom/Laundry Room

Fairfield Farmhouse, Idea House 2020

A tile floor warmed with electric-radiant heat will make this combination mudroom-laundry room warm as toast. Here, a crew member routes the heating cable through an integrated uncoupling membrane that simplifies installation now and prevents tiles from cracking later.

Floor Warming: Schluter-Systems

An Outdoor Shower after Soaking in the Sun

Fairfield Farmhouse, Idea House 2020

Stone veneer mounted on masonry board creates an outdoor shower with a natural vibe. Planks of the same engineered wood siding used on the house will be used to build a privacy enclosure.

Siding: LP SmartSide
Windows: Marvin

Multi-Unit HVAC

Fairfield Farmhouse, Idea House 2020

The 3,700-square-foot house is heated by three furnaces equipped with variable-speed blowers and filtering technology that removes up to 99.98 percent of airborne particles for healthier indoor air. Two of the units are located in the basement and one is in the second-floor mechanical room, optimizing air flow to each zone of the house.

Furnace: Trane

A Stone Retaining Wall Keeps Everything in Place

Fairfield Farmhouse, Idea House 2020

Masons construct a retaining wall to hold back a slope behind the house. Behind the wall is a propane tank that will fuel the home’s furnaces, cooking appliances, and generator.

Equipment Arriving

Courtesy Greyrock Homes

An excavator and sub-compact tractor arrive to help with a variety of tough tasks around the property.

Equipment: Kubota

Digging a Trench

Courtesy Greyrock Homes

An excavator makes easy work of digging a trench that will eventually house the gas line to the fire pit.

Excavator: KUBOTA

A Spacious Great Room

Fairfield Farmhouse, Idea House 2020

Mold-resistant drywall in the barn’s great room is taped and compounded and ready for priming. The initial framing for the kitchen’s 5-by-10 foot island can be seen in the lower left.

Windows: Marvin
Gypsum Board: National Gypsum

Primed for Paint

Fairfield Farmhouse, Idea House 2020

Primed with a unique paint imported from Ireland, the great room takes on the nostalgic look of a whitewashed country barn. The black frames of the tall casement windows and door unit blend in perfectly with the agricultural vibe.

Windows: Marvin
Primer: Curator Paints, via Ring’s End

Built-in Bunks are a Bonus

Fairfield Farmhouse, Idea House 2020

Four built-in bunks in the center of the second floor provide plenty of extra room for guests. The door on the left leads to a second-floor deck with water views.

Patio Door, Windows: Marvin

Keep up with the action at the Farmhouse: Watch the latest episode of Idea House Build, or follow our progress in real time via 24/7 webcam.