This Old House Announces Grand Opening Block Party for Its 2016 Idea House

Jul 21, 2016

Stamford, CT (July 21, 2016) – This Old House will celebrate the grand opening of its 2016 Idea House, The Farmhouse at Emerson Green, with a fun-for-the-whole-family Block Party on Saturday, July 30, from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. at the intersection of Chance Street and Grant Road in Devens, Massachusetts. With advanced building techniques and eco-friendly materials, the classic farmhouse gets an update, proving that a light footprint is possible with any architectural style. #TOHIdeaHouse2016

This Old House teamed up with NOW Communities; Union Studio Architecture & Community Design; and Denise Enright Interior Design to create a modern twist on a classic design at Emerson Green, an innovative development on a decommissioned army base northwest of Boston. It is one of the first houses built in the mixed-use development with the goal of making net-zero living possible. The 3-bedroom, 1900-square-foot home will average approximately half the energy use for a typical house of its size and will feature low-maintenance materials and an open living concept—ideal for busy family life.

“This home is brimming with ideas for every homeowner,” says Susan Wyland, editor of This Old House Magazine. “The Farmhouse at Emerson Green features our best learning of classic design alongside the latest in contemporary, sustainable building expertise.” 

Standout features include:
• A welcoming front porch to encourage relaxation and community connection
• Modern finishes, strong color, and open layout design
• Advanced framing techniques to minimize thermal bridging and heat loss
• Solar panels that provide approximately half of the home’s energy needs
• Energy-efficient triple-pane windows and a high-performance hybrid hot water heater
• An air-sourced high-efficiency, multi-zone heating and cooling system supplemented with radiant electric heat
• Smart home automation and security
• Durable, long-lasting materials that conserve natural resources and provide lower maintenance, such as fiber cement siding and window trim, PVC decking, vinyl windows, and fiberglass entry doors
• Copper accent roofing coupled with a synthetic slate roof, both of which have expected lifespans exceeding most asphalt shingles

Emerson Green’s nationally recognized team of Union Studio Architecture & Community Design and NOW Communities also created the award-winning Concord Riverwalk in Concord, Massachusetts. “It’s great to see Emerson Green come to life, and have the houses meet so many goals for energy efficiency, modest square footage and a strong sense of community," says Don Powers of Union Studio Architecture & Community Design.

The Farmhouse at Emerson Green will be featured in the October issue of This Old House magazine and showcased online in late September with a style guide, video house tour, online galleries, and tips from the project’s experts on energy efficiency and sustainable design. This Old House television will also air a segment about the Idea House in fall 2016. 

Visitors will be able to tour The Farmhouse at Emerson Green during the Grand Opening Block Party on Saturday, July 30, from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. The Block Party will include house tours, local artisans and merchants, live music, food and wine tastings, children’s activities, raffles and more. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for children (12 and under), and free for children under age 4. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to benefit Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry, Inc. Parking is free. Tickets can be purchased at the entrance to the event at the intersection of Chance Street and Grant Road in Devens, Massachusetts. 

This is the second Idea House for This Old House. The first, The This Old House Cottage at Cloudland Station, opened in northwest Georgia in October 2015, combining old-world workmanship with a flexible, small footprint and modern space-saving solutions:,,20957807,00.html

The This Old House Farmhouse at Emerson Green Project Team:

Developers: Dan Gainsboro, Rob Easton and Don Powers, Devens Village Green, LLC
Builders: Dan Gainsboro and Sean Ford, NOW Communities, LLC
Principal Architect: Don Powers, Union Studio Architecture and Community Design
Project Architect: Christina Carlson, Union Studio Architecture and Community Design
Interior Design: Denise Enright, Denise Enright Interior Design
Landscape Designer: Colleen Moran, Bailey Nurseries
Community Vision/Landowner: Mass Development

Sponsors of The Farmhouse at Emerson Green are: American Standard, AT&T Digital Life, AZEK, Bailey Nurseries, Barn Light Electric, Classic Gutter Systems LLC,, Clopay, Haiku Home, Harvey Building Products,, House of Antique Hardware, James Hardie, Merola Tile, Olympic, Panasonic Ventilation, Rheem, and Simpson Door Company.

Contributors include: The Annie Selke Companies, California Closets, Copper Development Association, EcoStar LLC, Royal Crowne, Smith & Noble, STEP Warmfloor, Stikwood, StoreWALL, SunBug Solar, Walpole Outdoors and Zodiaq by Dupont.

About This Old House
This Old House and Ask This Old House are produced by This Old House Ventures, LLC and are presented on PBS by WGBH Boston. This Old House is the No. 1 multimedia home enthusiast brand, offering trusted information and expert advice through award-winning television, a highly regarded magazine, and an information-driven website. National underwriting for This Old House television is provided by GMC, The Home Depot, State Farm Insurance Company, Lumber Liquidators, and Gorilla Glue. The Executive Producer is Chris Wolfe.

About Emerson Green
Emerson Green is a new, vibrant residential neighborhood located in the village of Devens, Massachusetts. Developed by NOW Communities and Union Studio, the neighborhood’s tree-lined streets, parks and welcoming front porches beckon homeowners outdoors, recalling the era of friendly, cohesive neighborhoods and a simpler, mindful way of living. Emerson Green’s 124 single-family homes, duplexes, and multi-family apartments are sustainably constructed, energy efficient, and intentionally compact. The community’s philosophy combines a traditional perspective on mindfulness with the best aspects of a 21st-century lifestyle. Homes are built using responsibly sourced materials with an eye towards energy efficiency, but they never sacrifice comfort. Quality craftsmanship and solid interior and exterior construction are priorities, resulting in unique, welcoming homes residents will be proud to call their own.

About Now Communities
Under the direction of veteran developer Dan Gainsboro, NOW Communities creates community-focused neighborhoods that emphasize sustainability and energy efficiency. The firm’s first major residential development, Concord Riverwalk, was an immense success—earning acclaim from planners, architects, and environmentalists alike, and generating tremendous demand for its cottage-style units. NOW Communities has been recognized with some of the architecture and urban development industry’s most prestigious awards, including Builder Magazine’s Project of the Year, the National Association of Homebuilder’s Community of the Year, and the American Institute of Architects’ New England Design Honor Award.

About Union Studio Architecture & Community Design
Union Studio was founded in 2001 with the goal of making an impactful civic contribution to communities of all types through exemplary architecture and urban design. The firm served as the architects on the Concord Riverwalk project and received an Honorable Mention from the New England Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) for their work on the project. The Union team embraces a traditional, pedestrian-friendly approach to design featuring vibrant, beautiful spaces that help to enrich our communal and civic life.

About Denise Enright Interior Design
Denise Enright is a Stamford, Connecticut-based interior designer with clients scattered throughout New England. She takes pride in collaborating with her clients to create spaces that reflect their lifestyles, the architecture of their homes, and their budgets. Denise is best known for blending unexpected elements and styles—contemporary and vintage, practical and whimsical, comfortable and chic—that result in one-of-a-kind, thoroughly livable interiors that never fail to bring a smile.

About Devens, Massachusetts
Located in north-central Massachusetts and managed by MassDevelopment, Devens is home to a varied mix of businesses, government organizations, and nonprofits employing nearly 5,000 people. Created by statute in 1993 to support business growth and attract economic development opportunities in the region, the 4,400-acre site features fast-track permitting and other incentives for businesses. The former military installation is recognized today as a national model for military base redevelopment. Along with its business tenants, the Devens community also includes more than 2,100 acres of recreation and open space, private residences, schools, and a network of human and social services providers.




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