How a Forest Hill teardown became an eco-friendly dream home

How a Forest Hill teardown became an eco-friendly dream home

With help from their son, a couple of empty nesters traded their drafty Edwardian for something greener

Great Spaces: Stark Raving Mod (Image: Derek Shapton)
 
Great Spaces: Stark Raving Mod (Illustration: Aleksandar Janicijevic)
 

Jan and Brian Bornstein always dreamed of building their own home—a place that was both beautiful and environmentally sustainable. The couple, who run a management consulting firm, had lived in a drafty Edwardian in Moore Park for eight years, and they craved a change. So in 2013, with their three kids grown and gone, they went for it. They bought a teardown on a large lot in Forest Hill and hired their youngest son, Erik Bornstein of Mazenga Building Group, to handle the construction. Working with architect Luc Bouliane, they drew up plans for a modern duplex with a handful of eco-friendly features. There was only one problem: they’d pictured a place filled with natural light, but the lot fell in the shadow of an apartment building. Then Bouliane had a brainwave. Inspired by the hollow, glittering interior of a geode, he designed a wide-open space equipped with skylights, floating staircases and, running the length of the house, a limestone wall that bounces light into every corner. To keep their carbon footprint in check, the Bornsteins triple-glazed the windows and added two green roofs covered with indigenous shrubs and grasses. They also installed an elevator, a heated driveway and other conveniences they’ll need as they grow older. In the fall, they put the other half of the property up for sale and hosted a giant housewarming party. Now that they’re settled in, they never want to leave.

Great Spaces: Stark Raving Mod (Image: Derek Shapton)
 

The sofa and ottoman, purchased at Studio B on King East, are by Barbara Barry for Henredon.

Great Spaces: Stark Raving Mod (Image: Derek Shapton)
 

The staircase, made of oak, glass and metal, was an engineering challenge. “We call it the stairway of tears,” says Jan.

Great Spaces: Stark Raving Mod (Image: Derek Shapton)
 

The antique clocks were passed down from both Jan’s and Brian’s parents.

Great Spaces: Stark Raving Mod (Image: Derek Shapton)
 

The counter in the master bath echoes the kitchen island.

Great Spaces: Stark Raving Mod (Image: Derek Shapton)
 

The soapstone sculpture was also inherited from Brian’s parents.

Great Spaces: Stark Raving Mod (Image: Derek Shapton)
 

The oil painting, by Nancy De Boni, decorates the hallway. They love the way it looks against the dark wood.

Great Spaces: Stark Raving Mod (Image: Derek Shapton)
 

A camouflaged door leads to the pantry. “Our Miele espresso machine is in there,” says Jan. “We call it the coffee room.”