Lorrie and Sal Minucci never much liked the house they bought in the Albany suburbs in 2003. It was only 10 years old and in great shape, but its ultra-modern, boxy lines did nothing to elevate their souls.
“It was a very contemporary flat-roof home, a Frank Lloyd Wright-type house,” Sal Minucci said. “There were zero roof lines. One of the biggest complaints my wife had was the whole front of the house had no windows in it. It was kind of dark and dingy.”
What it did have was location, location, location. It was at the end of a private road on almost 3 acres in a secluded neighborhood where parcels over a half acre are exceedingly scarce. As the family grew – two boys and a girl – they needed to add another bedroom and bring the home more in line with their personality and tastes.
“We wanted many roof lines, a cupola, a pergola and lots of sunlight,” Sal said. “What we wanted was a Tuscan villa, but we wanted the inside to have a modern Florida concept. It really was a complete overhaul.”
In 2010, the couple hired Brett Balzer of Balzer + Tuck Architecture in Saratoga Springs to figure out what could be done with the home’s layout. Plans were made to add a master bedroom, an extra kid’s bedroom, a theater room, a guest house, a pool, poolhouse, patio, a new cul-de-sac driveway and three-car garage, plus redo the existing bedrooms and baths.
The plan required a high level of technical expertise and workmanship, and an extremely organized builder to keep the many moving parts of the project on schedule. Minucci interviewed several construction companies before he chose Teakwood.
“I really felt really comfortable with Jim Sasko,” Sal said. “I don’t think I could have chosen a better builder. It was probably one of Jim’s most challenging projects, because I’m not the easiest guy to work with. We had our disagreements and went back and forth, but in the end, I felt they were very fair and did an outstanding job.”
Teakwood built the guest house and garage first, before getting started on the main house. The family moved out after Christmas 2011 and were able to move back in in September of 2012
Paula McCormick of PMI Interiors in Loudonville designed the expansive patio. It has a leisurely, gracious feel that includes many man-made creature comforts but seems an organic part of the outdoor landscape. Sunlight is filtered over a spacious granite and stone eating bar by an overhead lattice. The large L-shaped pool is complemented by a sunken hot tub set with hand-cut limestone. A stone reflecting pool adds a gentle natural trickling sound.
Sal’s favorite thing is to sit outside on the patio and look into the great room. Lorrie Minucci’s favorite room is the great room, which is actually on the lower level from the driveway. The front doors lead into a foyer with a marble floor balanced by a barrel-vaulted wood ceiling. First impressions are dominated by plush animal-print chairs, a brightly colored painting by mystical expressionist artist Jamali and the sensation that there is a great deal of light and space at the end of the entry hall.
The hall leads to “Juliet” balcony overlooking a massive, white great room lined with windows and glass doors shining their light upon reflective porcelain tile floors. A catwalk staircase of metal and wood leads to the common rooms.
The palatial sense of space is enhanced by an open floor plan that includes the great room, a living room sitting area, the dining room and an impressive bar and wine storage area.
“It’s definitely a party house,” Minucci laughed. “There’s a bar outside as well. We have parties almost every weekend. We love it, even if sometimes it seems like a little too much because of all of the work.”
Especially cleaning all that white after guests. Sal recounted that after a recent birthday party for one of the children, Lorrie spent two days getting the porcelain tile floors back to their state of gleaming perfection.
But they still love the tiles and the glossy, Miami look they give the house. Thick shag carpets warm the floors in the sitting areas.
“Really, the only thing I might have done differently is to have connected the guest house to the main house to make it more accessible,” Sal said. “And maybe I might have made one more garage stall.”