A New York Home receives a driveway facelift that is far more than skin deep.
Words by Jackson Finds. Photography by Halstead Media Group.
“We started with a blank slate as far as the landscape and hardscape goes,” explain homeowners Pete and Nora Mecelli. Pete and his family built their house back in 2001 and have undertaken regular outdoor projects every year since. Over the years, the property has served as an amazing backdrop for their lives. Pete confesses, “watching our son and daughter grow up playing on the property—all those memories—that’s really what makes the property a home.
And a beautiful home it is indeed. The landscape has a great sense of belonging—one that is often elusive with a home built less than 20 years ago. Having spent much of their early focus on developing the backyard swimming pool area, the Mecelli’s looked to the driveway for 2014’s endeavor “I originally wanted to use old bluestone that I salvaged from a jobsite in downtown Brooklyn,” explains Pete, “but Nora wasn’t a big fan of it.”
Choosing materials can sometimes be the most challenging aspect of any home project. Anyone who has ever completed major renovations, either inside or out, can certainly attest to these decisions being a bit overwhelming—ok, very overwhelming. But just like other industries have done for years— think kitchen, bath and flooring showrooms—the landscape industry has also begun to evolve the concept of “outdoor living showrooms.” Pete and Nora decided to go pay a visit to their friend Chris Fitch at Devitt’s Nursery located in New Windsor, NY. There, as well as at the Unilock plant in Chester, NY, the couple looked at many different pavers choices. “I liked the build quality and strength of the Unilock Pavers—they make a great product—and Nora liked the look,” recalls Pete.
The final decision was a product called Richcliff for the main area of the driveway and walkway, with a running border using Courtstone—both pavers from Unilock’s Select line. The color and texture combination is somehow contemporary and classic all at once.
With materials decided, the Mecelli’s needed to break ground in a hurry to be ready for a quickly approaching graduation party for their daughter. This timeline would certainly be tight, even if this were an average paver driveway project.
But this was no average driveway. The pavers for this driveway—along with the front walkway and entrance stoop—were to be laid with radiant heating beneath the finished surface. Electrically powered, the heating system keeps the pavers just above freezing, allowing snow and ice to melt on contact. Equipped with moisture and temperature sensors, the system turns on automatically when the weather conditions are right for winter precipitation. These systems, particularly when combined with pavers, have been gaining popularity over the last few years, allowing folks to enjoy the snowfall and cold without the hassle of expensive and time-consuming snow maintenance.
The Mecelli’s hired their friend Ray Czumak of RCP Electric to handle the installation of the radiant heating system, while Total Home Experience of New Windsor, NY handled the installation of the driveway pavers, front walkway, and front entrance landing. The two companies worked closely together to complete a state-of-the-art project that is as beautiful on the outside as it is underneath.