Deep Energy Retrofit with Historically Compatible Addition
Ashfield, MA


Stabilize, realign and retrofit a deteriorated historic cape into an energy efficient, cozy home that reflects its 200-year history, while attaching a sunny addition designed to complement the farmstead vernacular. Improve indoor-outdoor connections for four-season enjoyment of this rural homestead.

A late 18th-century cape with a dilapidated addition, flooded dirt basement, extensive mold, rot and insect damage, and a failing stone foundation that sloped nearly 9” from southwest to northeast, nevertheless captured the love of its owner, who lived on the adjacent property.  When the tenant farmers moved out, the owner’s goal was to preserve the old cape as a primary residence, retaining its historic façade, and extend a modern addition to the rear for an eat-in kitchen and great room using the vernacular of New England barns. 

The deep energy retrofit of the old cape was complicated by a number of factors: this building was in the poorest shape of any Quigley Builders has renovated; two centuries of interior renovations made jacking and straightening the original timber frame a challenge. Because the adjacent farm fields continued to be in use for a market farmer, utilities (water and electricity) needed to be accessible. 

Before construction of the addition could begin, we worked to realign, reinforce and repair the original timber frame and foundation. We dug out the shallow crawl space by hand to accommodate insulation, water-proofing, and mechanicals, and redirected site drainage away from the foundation (including a spring-fed well discovered under the proposed addition).  Deconstructed materials were sorted and recycled, a company goal that the client shared. 

Since the site is within 200’ of a river, Quigley Builders worked with the owner, surveyors, Ashfield Conservation Commission, the Ashfield Planning Board and Franklin County Cooperative Inspection Program to insure that the construction would comply with existing regulations.


The result is a fully integrated addition with light, views, and open access to the historic cape, barrier-free living on the first floor, upstairs bedrooms for children, grandchildren and guests, and a roomy and well-insulated basement studio.  Red metal siding on the architect-designed addition, along with its raised light monitor, evoke the farm/sugarhouse vernacular of the region. Meticulous attention to insulation and air sealing provide improved comfort and health for residents, and dramatically reduce energy bills.


Architect | Burr & McCallum, Williamstown, MA
Energy Consultant | ZeroEnergy Design, Boston MA
Energy Certification | Center for EcoTechnology, Northampton MA
Electrician | Poissant Electric, Ashfield MA
Excavation & Concrete |  Harris & Gray, Ashfield MA
HVAC |  George Propane, Goshen MA; Zehnder America, Inc.
Insulation |  James E. Hanrahan & Sons, Northfield MA and Cellu-Spray, Florence MA
Metal Roof | Walker & Co. Roofing & Construction, Brattleboro VT
Plumbing | Arnold C, Purinton Plumbing & Heating, Buckland MA
Property Survey |  Holmberg and Howe, Easthampton MA
Recycling & Waste Management | Austin's, Whately MA; Alternative Recycling, Leeds MA; EcoBuilding, Springfield, MA

Additional information