“Hurricane” Sandy hit the East Coast on Monday and devastated many coastal community in New Jersey, New York , Connecticut and beyond. One of our waterfront projects, a 2012 HOBI Award Winner, is located in Harbor View, Norwalk, CT. Jeff and the rest of our team couldn’t help but think about the home as the winds blew on Monday night. What was the home going to look like? While watching the television, we saw people being evacuated from the South Norwalk community and the devastating photos.
On Tuesday morning, some of our crew headed directly to Harbor View while others went to check on the rest of our projects. “It looks like a war zone,” was one coworkers response. “Harbor View Avenue literally looks like a bomb went off,” was another response.
In Connecticut, a Sense That the Storm’s Impact Could Have Been Worse, The New York Times.
“In the waterfront community of Harbor View, a small peninsula with about 100 homes at the southern tip of Norwalk, menacing winds and 12-foot waves shredded the sea wall and ripped facades and decks off homes.
Aaron Smolick, 36, of Fairfield, grew up there and returned to check on his parents’ home, which sits along the sea wall. He found the deck facing the Sound torn away and resting at the side of the house. The sliding glass doors were gone. The floors were coated with sand and debris and high waves had carried all the furniture to a corner of the living room.
‘We knew it was going to be a big storm,” he said, “but nobody was expecting it to be this bad.’
Next door, Tim Rath, 55, was among the few in the community to ride out the storm. He said he knew it was going to be worse than imagined when at 5:30 p.m. Monday, at what was supposed to reaching low tide, waves were crashing over the sea wall and lapping up against his house. By 9:30 he found himself leaning his body against the sliding glass doors trying to keep them from collapsing against waves that reached his second story and washed away his front deck and the support beams holding up his second-floor bedroom.
‘I thought the whole front of my house was going to fall over,’ he said.
The second-story deck of Patrick Wilson’s home pancaked into his living room, demolishing it. Across the street, the owner had painstakingly strapped the barbecue into place on his deck to keep it from blowing away, only to have the entire 30-by-10-foot deck torn away and flung into the backstop of a nearby baseball field.
‘This is the worst we’ve ever seen, and my parents have lived here 35 years,’ said Matthew Keating, 28. ‘It’s like a war zone’.”
When remodeling the SoNo waterfront project we knew we had a couple of constraints to deal with regarding renovating a home in a seaside community:
- Since salt water eats away at typical woods and metals, the home’s waterfront location presented a challenge when planning exterior materials. To address this while establishing the desired aesthetics, classic natural shingles were partnered with PVC synthetic trim.
- Hurricane codes were mandated in an area frequented by significant storms. All windows were built to withstand hurricanes. In the area beneath the first floor designated as flood elevation, required vents were installed to allow water to flow through should flooding occur. Nothing mechanical was allowed below flood elevation.
The home, designed by Titus Built, provided a wall of hurricane windows for protection from strong storms while framing the amazing views in classic Nantucket style the clients’ desired. The exterior was finished in white cedar shingles, approximately 2” thick thin stone veneer on exposed foundation and seawall and Ipe wood decking and stair railing.
Jeff said, “The neighborhood is devastated–looks like Katrina.” When our crew went to see our waterfront project, we were relieved to see the home standing with little destruction compared to the rest of the community. Most of the damage is on the exterior of the home. There is very minimal inside damage; some water and sand seeped through some of the windows as well as through the 3rd floor French doors.
At Titus Built we are dedicated to building and remodeling high quality, structurally sound homes and we are thankful for a team that has a commitment to quality and professionalism.
To view previous posts on the waterfront renovations click here: Titus Built, LLC Wins 2012 HOBI Award from the HBRA of Connecticut
Our hearts go out to all the families affected by hurricane Sandy and we are grateful to all rescue workers and helping hands in the aftermath.