DESIGN & ARCHITECTURE
Sophisticated Architecture Meets Bucolic Sanctuary
NevelHaus was born in 2020 by co-founders Joshua Gelb and Pelle Hamburger and their architecture partner, award-winning firm INC Architecture and Design. The goal was simple: create a home building platform that offers buyers a stunning product with maximum spatial and finish flexibility to fit their needs and design aesthetic.
The offering has captured the attention of enthusiasts overseas who have commissioned NevelHaus to build homes in Vancouver, Portugal, and beyond. Their newest project in Stone Ridge, New York, comprises eight homes on 44 acres. NevelHaus Stone Ridge is close to cozy historic enclaves, great restaurants, and bucolic surroundings. The team has quickly gained a loyal following who appreciate the rapid turnaround of a custom home in 8-10 months. Interior highlights include 30- ft vaulted ceilings, over 925 square feet of entertainment space, 9-inch wide-plank European white oak flooring, a cozy wood-burning stove, custom oak cabinetry with integrated appliances, bathrooms with heated radiant flooring, a reading nook and office, outdoor terraces, and an outdoor shower.
Optional elements for buyers include the luxury of an in-ground pool, garage/ studio, carport, whole house generator, and solar panels. Each NevelHaus will be strategically sited to optimize exposure for solar. The rustic yet refined aesthetic includes warm cypress wood and a steeply pitched roof, a nod to iconic rural barns, which gives homes a modern silhouette and a gracious vaulted loft inside.
A tête-à-tête with Adam Rolston, Creative & Managing Director, Partner, INC:
NevelHaus, a category-defining home building platform, makes buying a modern luxurious barn home in bucolic settings extremely convenient. What exactly is NevelHaus, and how does the home buying process work?
NevelHaus is a customizable collection of thoughtfully designed new homes created by an architect and developer partnership to disrupt the typically painful new home buying process.
Everyone has heard a horror story about a custom home project gone awry. We also know that there is very little thoughtfully designed new home inventory out there and virtually none upstate where we broke ground. NevelHaus reimagined the new home market by reinventing the sweet spot between the fully custom home and the traditional production built home.
How did this unique collaboration between NY developers Pelle Hamburger and Joshua Gelb and INC Architecture and Design come to be?
We met while working together with one of the nation’s leading home builders specializing in a more cookie-cutter approach to new home construction. NevelHaus is relatively young, but our working relationship is almost a decade long. We shared a deep desire to reinvent the homebuilding industry with more smart, well-designed, sustainable products.
NevelHaus was conceptualized during the pandemic when people wanted the luxury of space, a weekend escape, and a sense of peace. How did you consider these needs when creating the NevelHaus model?
NevelHaus is developed with flexibility in mind. These are three bedroom homes in a compact footprint. The goal was to develop these rooms and two open landings so that they could be used equally for sleep, work and play.
One of INC’s mantras is “context is king.” How was NevelHaus informed by the social, cultural, physical, and historical context in upstate New York?
There is a rural image burned into our collective imagination of the humble purpose-built farm building nestled naturally in the landscape. This idea is the foundation of NevelHaus. It is an ethos of subtle functional beauty that represents the luxury of just enough. We want to honor, preserve, and bring today’s robust and growing Upstate New York farmland and its humble architectural traditions into the future. The metaphor of a barn was a natural.
The interior finishes really stand out like the monolithic wood charred black kitchen wall and warm cypress wood floors. What kind of collective feeling were you seeking when selecting the materials?
We began with research into the architectural traditions of barn construction in the northeast. The first settler barns were sealed and preserved with creosote which lends a rich, warm black luster to wood. Thus the black barn color was selected for the exterior, which we mirrored on the interior with the volume of black stained wood that anchors the kitchen, stair, and utilities in the center of the bright and airy loft. The refined utility of a black barn in the landscape with a rich black volume of interior utilities within a light and airy loft oriented toward that landscape completes that picture.
Tell us more about the latest collection on 45 acres in Stone Ridge, New York.
Nevel Stone Ridge is unique, and we believe it represents the future of rural development. It is a compact and, therefore, more sustainable collection of homes that create a community of folks with shared values within walking distance of the village hamlet and local services. In the context of the traditional 9-5 work week, a second home was seen as a pure escape. Now that we can work, play, and live more fluidly, folks seek a greater connection to a local community. As we have come to know the culture of our buyers better, we are investigating ways to connect with the existing community and catalyze a positive impact. We are building more than a collection of second homes at Stone Ridge. We hope to build a meaningful community
While buyers select an existing NevelHaus design for their new home, there is an opportunity to add swimming pools, solar panels, and more. What kind of customization is most popular right now?
The mission is to deliver new customizable homes with a modest footprint and environmental impact in a frictionless manner. A buyer can select their desired home size and finishes available in the current edition. If needed, they can work with our architects to customize internal configurations for a home tailored to their needs. The most popular customizations are currently the pool and the detached Nevel GarageStudio with a private home office. There is also strong interest in sustainable options like solar panels, geothermal mechanical systems, and walkout basements on the more sloped sites.
You were born and raised in Los Angeles and have lived and worked in Europe and Asia. How has your career informed your global perspective on design?
It takes a village and rich cultural traditions to draw from to create a meaningful design. We are a team of deep collaborators. My INC partners Drew Stuart and Gabriel Benroth hail from Kentucky and Ohio, respectively, and brought all those regional traditions to the table, which one can see in our work. My background and obsessions with 19th-century Japanese residential construction, the California case study homes, and the tradition of the swiss floating black barns (google it!) can also be seen in our work and specifically in NevelHaus. Interestingly using creosote to seal wood is a technique that has been shared by the Asian, European and American cultures for millennia. That’s INC’s happy place.
NevelHaus has a global licensing arm enabling the home designs to be crafted anywhere. What can someone hoping to commission a home in Europe or Asia expect of the process?
The full plans and specifications are licensed. Every detail and material selection is included and managed by NevelHaus. Because INC has a deep bench of experience in work nationally and all over the world, we are well aware of and practiced at collaborating with local partners, professionals, and constructors to adapt our designs to local standards, codes, and processes. Because of this unique architect and developer partnership, part of the service that we can provide above and beyond the licensed product is to support our local partners in the process of adapting NevelHaus to their site, region, and standards.
Ending on an optimistic note. What excites you most about the design world coming out of the last two years?
Schumpeter’s gale, or creative destruction as it has come to be popularly described, is by far the most exciting legacy of the last two years. When all things are up in the air, all things are possible, and while NevelHaus was born in 2019, its development was already responding to the evolution toward remote and untethered work. In the last two years, this has simply accelerated with the new Tuesday through Thursday in-person work week allowing for a burgeoning long weekend rural, remote work lifestyle.