The remodeler who owns this waterfront house applied all his skills to expand and personalize it, while also creating an environmentally friendly structure as an example for his clients.

The judges commented that although the existing house is large, it now “lives more spaciously.” One judge also commended the choice to showcase green elements, saying “it shows great commitment. By living in it, [the remodeler] can evaluate how it performs and use it as a real learning tool in his construction projects.”

Sylvain Cote chose to build up, adding a story of 1,250 square feet to the original octagonal footprint of the 1980s house. The extra height, the judges said, provides a better lake view and improves curb appeal.

The house is capped with a cupola that has six operable windows for passive cooling during warm weather. The remodeler also installed trellises over south-facing windows and doors for summer shading, and chose tinted glass to reduce solar heat gain. Four of the roof facets hold photovoltaic panels that provide electricity for approximately 80% of the occupant's consumption needs.

The judges were also impressed by Cote's efforts to use existing and recycled materials, including reclaimed Douglas fir, and the original roof rafters and joists.

Category: Green remodeling, over $250,000

Location: South Salem, N.Y.

Contractor/designer: Sylvain Cote, Absolute Remodeling, South Salem, N.Y.