Connecticut Valley Homes

Connecticut Valley Homes

Monday, November 27, 2017

Consider Modular

Consider Modular Home construction, the popular new trend in home building.

A modular home is simply one that is built in a factory setting to the same building codes as a site-built home. The same traditional wood frame building methods are used, but the indoor location allows for the use of state-of-the-art equipment and climate-controlled working conditions. The efficient and precise factory construction methods elevate the home building process to a higher standard.  Modular construction is also a faster way to build, allowing the owners to move in and enjoy their new home sooner. 
Those looking to build often wonder if a modular home will look boxy or unappealing.  And if the interior finishes will meet their expectations. Dick Wildermuth, president of Connecticut Valley Homes in East Lyme, says, “Come look for yourself; our homes are beautiful inside and out. Standard features include solid surface countertops, kitchen tile backsplashes, cabinets with dovetail drawer construction, and much more.  We design and build beach homes, colonials, single story ranches, homes on piers and everything in between.  Our customers tell us that they saved money or were able to build a better home with more features than expected.”

To decide if modular construction is a good choice for your family home, Wildermuth suggests doing your homework. A good place to start is our website,, which is filled with floor plans, photos, and valuable information about designing and building a new home. 

Connecticut Valley Homes has model homes in East Lyme, plus design centers in Fairfield and Westerly, RI.  Call 860-739-6913 for new home building information.  Connecticut Valley Homes has built over 1550 modular homes and has an A+ BBB rating.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Modular Home Minute® Greenwich FAR Zoning Change

Hi everyone. This is Dave Cooper from Connecticut Valley Homes and this is the Modular Homes Minute. I'm coming to you live from Fairfield, Connecticut at our Fairfield design studio. The reason I am down today is I have been spending the last few days in Greenwich trying to understand the new zoning and FAR rules. I'm going to explain the best I can what the rules are. It's mainly going to apply to several jobs I am currently working on.

What is FAR? 

So with that said, what is FAR? FAR is Floor Area Ratio. What does floor area ratio mean, right? It's a mathematical calculation based on the zone and based on the size of your land that you own. There's a calculation that they use to come up with your floor area ratio, which is basically your allowable living space within the four walls of your house, in layman's terms.

In past times, if I were to maximize my floor area ratio in my living space, first floor if it's a ranch, first and second floor if it's a colonial, I would not be allowed to have any attic space. The town would tell me exactly what type of truss system I had to use in my attic. In other words, all the support would come down to the center of the floor, therefore making the attic uninhabitable or really not good for storage, maybe some small boxes and your mechanicals could go up there.

Now, first week of August, this all changed. The new rule came into effect, so for the zone that I'm in, I have some happy customers, I'm pleased to say. We can now use the attic for habitable space or storage space. The way the zone reads, or the way the rules reads in the new zone, I'm going to read it to you and then try and explain it to you.

What do these new regulations mean for me?

Under these new regulations, you would calculate the attic area for the R6 through RA1 zone at 40%, and the RA2 and RA4 at 50%. You calculate the same method as before the regulation change. All heights seven feet and over and dormer heights five feet and over in the attic are calculated. If the area of those heights are less than the required percentage, that 40 or 50%, you don't have to count any area in the attic and it is considered a half story.

If these areas exceed the maximum percentage allowed, you would then have to count the entire gross floor area of the attic out to the plate. The attic would also count as an entire story, so it would not be a half story, it would be a full story.

In my instance, I'm allowed 40% in my zone so I can have habitable attic space or storage attic space so long as my attic space and the seven foot or higher mark, and I'll try and explain that to you, is less than 40% of my total floor area ratio of the floor underneath. So in this case, the second floor, I'm allowed to have 40% of that second floor, floor area living space to calculate what I can have in the attic.

In my particular instance on one home, I think I'm only at 28% so I'm well within. So, how do you get that number? Your attic ratio number comes from that 40%, right? So if you have a typical gable roof, you would follow from the floor at the top plate, you'd follow that roof rafter from the heel all the way up until you hit seven feet. That seven foot mark on this side and on this side, everything in between that area that is above seven feet, in other words you're not going to bang your head if it's above seven feet unless you're really tall, would count in this 40% range. As long as you are under the total 40% or 50% calculation based on your zone, it doesn't count towards your FAR.

You can use the space however you'd like to use it whether it's seven feet, eight foot, in that area it does not matter. So again, it's different for everybody. There's more to it than this basic explanation. It has a lot to do with grade planes, foundations above grade, under grade, so this is what I've found out that's working for the  jobs that I have going on right now. It's going to help my customers, but you need to look into your own individual situations.

Download a PDF File of the Greenwich FAR Zoning Changes here

Have Questions?

Please, if you have any questions, shoot me an email. Hit me up on YouTube, Facebook. As always, check us out at CT Valley Homes if you're considering building. Modulars are great options. Download the 25 Questions to Ask a Builder and also ask us those questions as well. I'm Dave Cooper and I'll see you next time. Thanks.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Narrow Lot; Broad Potential

As the number of people wanting to live along the shoreline increases so does the need for new homes designed to fit the smaller building lots found in the quaint communities along the Connecticut and Rhode Island coast. 

With some creative ingenuity, the smaller and narrower building lots can be the best of all worlds combining a desirable location with a beautiful new home designed to perfectly fit the building site.

The expert designers and builders at Connecticut Valley Homes pride themselves on their ability to capitalize on the potential of challenging lot sizes.  Code restrictions and lot limitations are used to advantage by inspiring clever and imaginative solutions to what others may consider insurmountable problems or undesirable nuisances. The design team at Connecticut Valley takes full advantage of a narrow or smaller building site to create a beautiful, functional and fun home designed to maximize space within the overall footprint.

Pre-designed or Custom Narrow Building Lot homes from Connecticut Valley Homes and Rhode Island Modular Homes include a wide variety of space and style options.  

Homes range in size from the cute and cozy single-story Brookfield home, which features two bedrooms and a full bath in 1124 square feet, to the expansive and impressive two-story Jamestown design, which boasts three bedrooms and two and a half baths in 2810 square feet.  The optional wrap-around porch, if selected, offers a possible second-floor deck fully accessible from the spacious loft area.

A variety of home styles are also available.  

For families who love to entertain and have guests, the magnificent McCook Point plan delivers the consummate in charm and craftsmanship.  The 2008 square feet of living space includes six bedrooms, four baths, laundry room, sunroom, and optional decks front and back. Your home will be where friends and family gather and memories are made. This home, like most of our homes, can be built on the piers shown or a foundation.

The Somerton design features the finest in relaxed living. The family chef will appreciate the butler’s pantry and open concept kitchen, which allows for warm hospitality and conversation with others over the raised bar while preparing drinks and hors d’oeuvres or meals.  Its 2096 square feet includes a large master suite, two additional bedrooms, and two and a half baths.

For those who would like to take full advantage of a magnificent view, the Abington plan provides first floor bedrooms and second-floor living space.  The living space on the second floor includes a great room and a den, as well as a beautiful island kitchen and dining room.  The first floor completes this three bedroom, two and a half bath home.

Whatever you need and desire in a narrow lot home, our experienced, award-winning design and build team can help.  

For more information about building a pre-designed or custom modular home in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Block Island or Fishers Island, contact us here.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Cottage Chic: A Custom Designed Cozy Retreat

The classic cottage style home complete with its charming look and warm, comfortable interior continues to be a favorite of those individuals seeking to build a traditional home.

Generally thought of as a small space with rustic character and cozy proportions, today’s cottage combines style with modern design, addressing current demand for things like open floor plans and improved energy efficiency.

Even the exterior finishing touches inspire a calming daydream:  white picket fence or low dry-stack stone wall with an iron gate?  A pea gravel walkway to the front door, welcoming friends and neighbors, or a rocking chair and ice cold lemonade on the front porch?  Pots of wildflowers or a rose trellis defining the elegant entryway?

Inside, the choices are all yours! Well-designed built-in cabinetry to showcase cherished found objects or organize treasured collections?  A vintage inspired claw foot soaking tub or relaxing steam shower complete with teak bench and a tiled shampoo niche?  Hardwood floors or soft plush rugs underfoot?

Your dreams become reality with Cottage style home plans from Connecticut Valley Homes. 

Consider the comfortable “Riverbend” plan featuring two master suites, a galley style kitchen with a raised bar and an optional fireplace in the great room, all within 1257 square feet.

At 1444 square feet the 2-story Little Compton” plan features a welcoming great room, an open kitchen, and a spacious master suite with an optional private veranda.

Or consider the "Niantic," an expansive cottage with vaulted ceilings, spacious kitchen and living room, and a first-floor master suite.  Almost 1800 square feet, this two-story home has three bedrooms upstairs and loft open to below.

A cozy cottage atmosphere replete with classic beauty and elegance awaits you in your cottage style home from Connecticut Valley Homes.  Whether you prefer a cozy retreat with well-designed spaces or a more modern twist on the traditional, the experienced team at Connecticut Valley Homes can create a custom design to suit your way of living. Visit or call 860-739-6913 today for more information.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Connecticut Valley Homes Builds More than Homes with Al’s Angels and LIVFREE

The team at Connecticut Valley Homes is passionate about building.  

We build homes designed to fit our customer’s lifestyle and budget.  We choose to build modular because we believe it is a smarter way to build:  our homes are built efficiently and securely in a weather-controlled environment.  We take pride in our craft and often hear from our homeowners how proud they are of their new home.

Recently, we had the opportunity to experience pride on an entirely different level.  

With many other local businesses in Fairfield, CT, we sponsored the first ever “Skating on Sherman Green.”  Hosted by Al DiGuido of Al’s Angels, a charity providing meals and toys for families in need at the holidays and LIV FREE, a nonprofit that supports children with cancer and rare blood diseases, it was a true Winter Carnival.

Despite the spring-like weather, a synthetic ice skating rink welcomed community members along with the Fairfield Prep hockey team and costumed characters.  Ice skating, music, and food were enjoyed by all, especially the wheel-chair bound skaters.

Money raised by Al’s Angels and LIVFREE goes to local families who are battling pediatric cancer.

LIVFREE was created by Daniel and Katrina Vieira after their toddler, Lauren, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia in 2015. Thankfully, two years later, Lauren is now in remission from her cancer! After facing all the hospital stays, chemotherapy, medications, blood transfusions, and obstacles to living a normal life that comes with having a child with cancer, the Vieira family began LIVFREE to support other parents that are now living through what they have endured. 

Al DiGuido created Al’s Angels because his heart was broken the first time he personally had contact with a child with cancer. He asked himself: what if it were my child? Now he works to raise money for families who have exhausted their financial resources helping their child survive cancer or other hardships.

Connecticut Valley Homes would like to thank LIVFREE and Al’s Angels for all they do for children in need. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

How to Build a Coastal Home and Why Modular is a Better Choice

Richard Wildermuth, president of Connecticut Valley Homes, was asked recently what the two most important considerations are when building a coastal home.   

After 35 years building along the shore, he was quickly able to offer advice to those considering making a move to the shore. “Building a home in a shoreline community or directly on the water, is a dream that can come true with assistance from an experienced builder familiar with typical coastal considerations like:

  • Flood Zones (AE, X, and V Zones for example)
  • Wind Zones
  • Building on piers
  • Small or difficult building sites
  • Tearing down an existing house and re-building new

Not only is it important to select an experienced builder who is familiar with complex building codes to construct your new coastal home, it is equally important to consider the way your new home will be built. Many people don’t realize that modular construction is inherently stronger than traditional site-built homes. FEMA documentation after Hurricane Andrew concluded that module-to-module construction provides an inherently rigid system and performed much better than conventional residential framing.  Modular homes like those constructed by Connecticut Valley Homes are not only beautiful but are better able to stand up to the unpredictable weather events experienced when living on the coast.”

The modular homes of today are no longer cookie cutter.  

The coastal homes below show just some of the features and design styles available.  Richard Wildermuth adds, “If you don’t see what you want, just call to see examples of some of the other over 1550 homes we have built.”

The Short Beach has 4 bedrooms, 2 ½ baths and can be built on piers or a foundation.  The spacious, open floor plan features a dramatic kitchen with island open to the dining and living room. The large sliding glass doors open to the outdoor living spaces and bring in lots of natural light.

The Summer Place has room for everyone with 4 bedrooms and 3 baths. The design includes an open concept living/dining/kitchen area, plus a first-floor bedroom/den.

The Bayside I has 1200 square feet, 3 bedrooms, and 2 full bathrooms all on one floor. The open concept living room, dining room, and kitchen give a spacious feel.

For over 35 years, property owners along the Connecticut and Rhode Island coasts, in addition to Block Island and Fishers Island, have come to the experts at Connecticut Valley Homes to build their new coastal home.  Their experienced design/build team is up to the challenge of designing a new home that meets or exceeds your expectations.  For photos, floor plans and additional information go to

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Why Savvy People are Building Two-Family Homes

If you are thinking of having a new modular home built, have you considered a two-family home? There are many reasons why this is a popular option.

Why Two-family homes?

Live in one; rent the other.

This strategy not only gives you a beautifully designed new home but also an opportunity to make money. How much income could you receive from a monthly rental payment? Some homeowners make enough to pay most or all of their mortgage. Since you will be so close to your rental property, you will be able to keep the investment in excellent condition. Depending on the community, your property could be a vacation rental rented out on a week-to-week basis.

A step up from a mother-in-law suite.

If your parents are aging, but aren’t quite ready to share your home, a two-family house allows them to be close, while still maintaining privacy and independence. The same can be true for grown children living at home.

Off-site landlord.

Many families are looking for rental homes since qualifying for a mortgage is more difficult than in years past. If you are happy living in your current home but are looking to build an investment property, a two-family floor plan can give you more opportunity for income than building a single home.

We have many floor plans with two units. This is smart investing.

For savvy people looking for a multi-family property, Connecticut Valley Homes feature many floor plans. As always, Connecticut Valley Homes specializes in custom floor plans. But if you are looking for ideas from a readily available plan, take a peek at one of these:
The Sussex has two units, each with three bedrooms on the second floor. All bedrooms have walk-in closets. The generous-sized living room is open to the spacious kitchen.
The Culpepper: All of our multi-family plans have been designed for both the investor and owner-occupant. Each plan contains the features both renters and owner-occupants are looking for such as low maintenance, sound control, easy to work in kitchens, adequate storage, open floor plans, and most importantly pricing that helps put together a financially viable project. Each plan can be modified based on owner requirements and budget.
Try the Albermarle 1 if you want a plan that looks like a single-family home. Each unit has 820 square feet with two large bedrooms. This floor plan has one shared front door for a traditional look from the outside. Inside the front door, there is a separate entrance for each unit.
Are you in the market for a two-family home? Contact Connecticut Valley Homes today to brainstorm together about what a two-family home can look like for you.