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Just listed: An energy-efficient Weston antique with a yoga studio for $4.9 million

Buying Luxury Spring House Hunt Weston
346-Highland-Street-Weston-Exterior
346 Highland St. in Weston dates to 1897. Greg Premru

From the outside, this expanded and completely rebuilt 1897 Weston farmhouse looks like many other well-kept antique homes in the area, but a peek under the hood reveals it is better described as an energy-efficient, air-quality obsessed, tastefully modern reimagination of a New England classic.

The 7,640-square-foot house sits on 1.17 acres at 346 Highland St. and offers six bedrooms, 7.5 baths, and a $4,995,000 price tag. This home, with a new design by LDa Architecture & Interiors, showcases the future — there’s a yoga/exercise studio and a three-car attached garage prewired for two electric car chargers — while honoring the past. Builder Essex Restoration restored the front entry to look exactly like the original. Wooden double-glazed windows mimic the originals throughout the home, but the rest of the interior is new.  The foundation was replaced in 2018 and deepened to give the basement a 10-foot ceiling. Most of the rest of the structure remains intact, though reinforced.

In addition to all the amenities you’d expect to find in a restored Weston farmhouse built when William McKinley began his first term as president, this property has 21st-century systems that deliver continuous fresh air, lower indoor CO² levels, regulate humidity, reduce noise, and achieve unusual energy efficiency for a home this size.

The John Schwartz House achieves high performance without seeming like it is striving for it. The systems are small and quiet. Developer Steve Snider of Green Phoenix said every design decision was made to maximize durability, comfort, and energy efficiency. “I’ve lived in four different homes in Massachusetts,” Snider said, “and three of them were older. They’d all been renovated, but I had to do a lot of work on all of them to make them work the way they were intended. In this project, I want to show people that renovations can be done correctly, be cost effective, be durable, be nice, and be healthy places to live and raise a family for the next 100 years.”

The system settings are still being tinkered with and tested for optimal performance, but the 48 rooftop solar panels are expected to provide the home with 40 percent of the energy it uses. Everything in the house is electric, except for the fireplaces and the kitchen cooktop, which use natural gas.

The first line of defense in protecting the indoor air quality was not using any paints of adhesives containing volatile organic compounds, which can off-gas into the interior. Also, there is an exhaust fan in the garage that pulls fumes out when cars enter and exit. The door between the house and garage is self-closing, another step taken to prevent noxious vehicle exhaust from mixing with indoor air.

Three heat-recovery ventilators pull fresh air into the house, using the inside air to heat it before the indoor air is vented outside.

The many systems can be controlled by apps accessed by a small tablet computer that comes with the house. The new owners can monitor the energy output of each individual rooftop solar panel, adjust the lighting, or warm/cool the air anywhere in the house from anywhere in the world, provided they have an Internet connection. Energy geeks rejoice.

Other notable features of the home include shiplap walls in the foyer that carry the home’s historic look; a master suite with a gas fireplace, a 15-by-10-foot closet, a laundry setup, double sinks, a soaking tub, and a separate glass-enclosed shower; and a kitchen with high-end Energy Star-rated appliances, a windowed breakfast nook, a breakfast bar topped with reclaimed rafters from the attic, and an island with a waterfall top.

The home sits on a 1.17-acre lot.

The listing agent, Craig Foley of LAER Realty Partners, will host an open house on Sunday, April 14, from 1 to 4 p.m.

See inside the home:

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