When designing their entrant for the Pennsylvania Street of Dreams competition in 2014​, Farinelli Construction, a private home builder based in Mechanicsburg, Pa., wanted to create a home that was welcoming, timeless, and eco-friendly. The end result is a 4,430-square foot house that blends traditional sensibilities with modern materials.

The design was a true collaborative effort between the entire team, says Don Farinelli, owner, Farinelli Construction. “We wanted to show something unique to the area and that we felt passionate about, and in the end result, it really showed.” 

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One key priority for the team was that the 5-bedroom, 4-bathroom family home be sustainable and efficient, reflecting the growing prioritization of healthy homes and clean living, says Farinelli. “We wanted to build a house that was easy to maintain, would have reasonably low utility costs, performed well over time with clean materials, and would not off-gas.” 

To achieve that goal, the team used energy-efficient products such as premium windows and a high-efficiency HVAC system, as well as tubular skylights and almost exclusively​ LED light fixtures. The home also prioritizes green space, with a vegetable garden located outside the entryway, native landscaping in a spacious outdoor living area, and air plants on the interior wall of the house's yoga and exercise​ studio.

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Efficiency and security also gets a boost thanks to the home’s Control4 ​automation system, Farinelli explains, which operates security, HVAC, lighting, window treatment and entertainment systems.

While the house includes many high-tech features​, it also embraces a timeless aesthetic and craftsman-like details. Thanks to the company’s in-house cabinet shop, Farinelli Construction’s houses often feature extensive built-ins and woodwork, as does the Street of Dreams home. “One thing that makes it unique is the level of millwork, detail, and trim,” Farinelli says. “No matter where you look, there’s something interesting to see.”

The detail work is one of Farinelli’s favorite aspects of the house, along with the large open kitchen, which combines rustic details like repurposed cobblestone pavers and exposed beams with updated surfaces like glass cabinets and quartz countertops.

The marriage of classic and contemporary makes the house’s architectural style hard to define, says Farinelli, describing the home as eclectic. “We were proud to create this house, and have it be so well received, and show you can mix different types of finishes and architectural styles and make it work. That is one of my favorite aspects of the house. You walk in and you don’t know why it works, but it does.”

Andy Warren andywarrenphot

Judges of the Street of Dreams competition must have thought so too—from the seven homes commissioned for the showcase, Farinelli Construction’s home won Overall Best in Show, as well as Best in Show awards for the master suite, kitchen, and decorating.

Optimized Personalization

With their own design team and cabinetry shop in-house, Farinelli Construction utilizes an integrated structure to enhance communication and be more operationally agile, Farinelli says. “It allows for a lot of flexibility during the construction process if we need to make a change, and it allows us to really customize a home for the individual and how they live." 

A level of personalization and hand-in-hand work with the client is something the company takes seriously. Farinelli will often send designers to meet with homeowners at the beginning of a project to look at their existing furniture and better establish their personal taste.  

The builder has also made effective use of an often-underutilized resource for builders: Houzz. With an active presence on the site, Farinelli Construction has been rated Best of Houzz in service and design categories. "Houzz is a wonderful tool," Farinelli says. "You can't get a whole lot better than that as a resource."

Conscientiously uploading thorough photos of their portfolio has allowed the company to put their designs in front of millions of viewers, with their images saved in tens of thousands of ideabooks on the site. Interaction between Farinelli and interested homeowners provides another opportunity for the firm to build their brand. 

Not only does the platform provide an opportunity for the company to increase their visibility, it is a valuable way to gain input from a client on what customized home features they're looking for, Farinelli says. 

"We used to show [our clients] photobooks of 100 pictures; now there's 5 million. It's amped up everybody's game, because if you're not taking advantage of all those pictures and ideas, you're really missing out on creating a space for your customer that is exactly what they had in mind."