Case Study

The Rocklage Home

An Entire Interior and Exterior Whole House Renovation Project

Patty and Scott Rocklage walked into the Sudbury Kitchen & Bath showroom, which is now the Sudbury Companies’ Design Center, and experienced the pleasant surprise that many people before them have experienced. They had a number of renovation projects that they needed to have done on their house and they had placed themselves in the role of hiring the various sub-contractors to get the job done. They were unaware of the whole house renovation capability of Ed Freedlender and the accomplished staff at The Sudbury Companies. They did not know about the ability of the Sudbury Companies to look at the entire home and create a single synergistic plan where all the parts are controlled through one source. They did not know about the breadth of knowledge that allows Ed Freedlender to present cost savings ideas while optimizing the renovation objectives of his clients, and they were entirely unaware of the amount of time, energy, resources and money that they were going to save by hiring The Sudbury Companies to complete their whole house renovation.

Patty and Scott did not like how disconnected their kitchen area was from the two family room spaces and the rest of their home. So Ed drew up some design possibilities; the Sudbury Companies could renovate the kitchen in its existing space, move it to another room in the house, or install an addition onto the house for a new kitchen. After receiving a retainer from Scott and Patty, the creative designers at The Sudbury Design Center were able to show Patty and Scott some hand drawings and full color, 3D renderings of all three options, giving them an excellent representation of what the finished product would look like.
In looking at the three options and budgetary numbers for each option Patty and Scott realized that the more pressing issue at hand was the inability of their house guests to locate the front door; many have walked around the property to the back door or even the barn, unsure of where to ring the doorbell. The clients decided that the Sudbury Companies’ should first fix the front façade of the house to have an accessible front door. They could wait on remodeling the kitchen.
Ed drew up design options for the front façade, including a full landscape overview. The idea was to build a wraparound porch and a new three season porch. This would allow the sun to shine through from the east and west, while heating the space in the winter months with inter changeable glass units and ensuring the bugs remained on the outside in the summer with screen units. The three season porch would also be customized to have exposure to sunlight during both sunrise and sunset.
At the same time that Sudbury Construction Company was working on the façade of the house, they concerned themselves with the landscaping and conservation aspects of the project. Together, Ed and the Rocklages wanted to optimize their existing landscaping by developing a creative plan to recycle most of the rock that would be affected by the landscaping project. The town of Sudbury is proud of their conservation policies and is highly engaged in environmental preservation activities. The Rocklage’s home is located in the buffer zone for the wetlands in the area. Therefore, before any landscaping work could begin, the landscaping plan had to be presented to the town’s Conversation Commission for approval. Prior to the plan’s presentation, Ed took the initiative and prepared for negotiation by enlisting the advice of the chairman of the board. The agreement with the commission was that Ed had to make sure the new driveway was made out of crushed stone to allow water to filter through. They also agreed on the importance of recycling whatever they could from the Rocklage’s land (especially trees) and incorporating recycled pieces in the new and improved model.
The landscaping plan called for the relocating and replanting of twelve trees. Timing was everything as the fall is the best time to transplant large trees with hopes for survival. Sudbury Companies’ would also dig up and palletize the pavers for reuse, remove the stones from the original stone wall and re-use them in the new historical wall designed to surround the driveway, utilize a granite slab from the barn to fabricate the front steps, utilize large old existing stones from the property in the new landscape and use the posts from the railings on the side deck to extend the back deck.

As soon he had the conservation committee’s approval and the final design plans for the outside, Ed and his Sudbury Construction Company began the exterior work on the Rocklage home, fighting a cold and unpredictable early winter in the attempt to finish the projects by Christmas. They removed approximately 20 large truckloads of earth in order to bring the new driveway to same level as the house and build a 110 foot historical stone retaining wall to maintain the earth’s height beside the new eco-friendly driveway. The framing crew came in once the structural footings were dug and began work on the farmer’s porch and the three season porch at the same time the landscaping work was being done. In the final design for the farmer’s porch the front foyer was turned around to accommodate the new relocated front door. The front door was now obvious to visitors as the they drove onto the property.
When it came time to structure the new porch’s roof, the Rocklages originally wanted copper panels to blend with the existing wood shingles, but Ed informed them that it would be much more costly than his other options. Knowing that they did not want the typical asphalt shingles, Ed showed them colored steel which was budget friendly and blended well with the wood.
Although the Sudbury Companies were working diligently to finish the exterior work by the deadline of Christmas, they ran into various weather delays that pushed it back. For Christmas week, Ed and his crews gladly moved all of their construction equipment away and completely cleaned up the area so that the Rocklages could have a nice Christmas. They resumed work immediately following the holidays and finished the initial phase of the project by mid-January. Even with the delays and added scope, Sudbury Construction Company managed to give a whole new front façade to the Rocklage home; they added the full farmer’s porch and the three season porch, changed the landscaping in the most sustainable way possible, and turned the front foyer around to include a new and accessible front door.
With the exterior completed, the attention was turned to the interior. It was decided that the interior work should commence in the spring. This gave Ed and the Rocklage family time to revisit the original plans for the interior work. Sudbury Construction Company would remove the wall between the kitchen and the family room, as well as the wall between the kitchen and the back entryway. They would also remove the closet in the back entryway and design new 12’ historical French doors for this space. While they were engaged in completing this part of the project, they encountered some unanticipated and serious roadblocks ranging from matching custom paint, to the flow of electricity in the house, structural beams in the closets, and trying to keep the existing tile floor which was very important to his client.

When Sudbury Construction Company’s professional structural workers and electricians assessed the walls and the closets that the Rocklages wanted removed, they discovered the over complicated electrical work that the previous homeowners contractors had done. There were 38 electrical switches fed through the closets that controlled areas all over the property, and the closets themselves were part of the structural framework of the house. The Rocklages were not sure what many of the switches operated which often led to lights being unattended as members tried to operate useful lighting. Most contractors would not think about tearing down those closets, but the people at Sudbury Construction Company remained undaunted and found a way to work the structural changes around the existing kitchen while keeping the natural tile flooring intact at the owner’s request.
While working with the structural side of the renovation, the design aspect of the kitchen itself needed to be addressed. The Rocklages wanted to keep the cabinets that were already in place and match any new ones to the existing finish. However, that finish was a blend of a custom mixed paint and southern yellow pine. The Sudbury Design Center’s painting specialist was brought in and found a way to match the color perfectly, thereby saving the expense of replacing the existing cabinets. Matching southern yellow pine cabinetry was fabricated and installed to create a welcoming back entrance.
Another color match dilemma emerged when it came time to consider the tile floor. Most of the tiles could remained intact, but the tiles that lined the walls needed to be torn out and replaced. Matching tile color is a very difficult task and Ed began the process by bringing in a board of sample tiles so the Rocklages could hand pick the ones they wanted. The board was sent to the tile providers and, for an extra fee, the handpicked tiles were perfectly matched. They also did not disturb the hot water radiant floor system below the existing floor saving thousands of dollars in additional heating costs had the floor been demolished.
Continuing the renovations, the sitting area in the kitchen needed to be moved away from the back door for more privacy. So, rather than simply placing a table elsewhere, Sudbury Kitchen & Bath used an antique wood reproduction countertop for a bar area. They removed one of the existing countertops, took off the overhang, re-polished it, and put it back in place.
They took the existing wood mantle off in one piece and cut it down. The mason came in to lower the fire box and the mantle in order to make room for the new flat screen TV that would be located above the fireplace for viewing from the bar. The electricians went into the family room and shrunk down an 8 foot space of old and new electronics to a 2 foot space comprising only what the family needed. Cabinetry was re-fabricated to accommodate new additional display space. What used to be a closed off kitchen and separate living room is now a completely open and welcoming living area that is no longer cluttered with unnecessary electronics and walls.
Patty and Scott Rocklage originally sought out Sudbury Kitchen & Bath to renovate their kitchen, but they ended up using all of The Sudbury Companies’ unlimited resources to completely change their home for the better. The project took a total of six months to complete, but was split into a couple of three month phases for the convenience of the Rocklage family. By hiring The Sudbury Companies, the Rocklage family saved a significant amount of time and money. They also found an individual in Ed Freedlender in whom they placed their absolute trust.
The finished product included an entirely new farmer’s porch, a relocated front door, a flipped front foyer, and a three season porch. The exterior landscaping included a new driveway, walk ways and stonewall work which were built in the most eco-friendly and budget-friendly way possible. The final product also included a completely renovated living area with a new bar, flat screen TV, matching cabinet finish and tiles, and open area no longer cluttered with electronics and walls.
There aren’t many companies that can successfully take on a whole house renovation project on a scale of that which The Sudbury Companies completed at the Rocklage home – and do so in such a timely manner while causing minimal disruption in the family’s everyday life.

“My wife and I selected Ed and his team from Sudbury Kitchens and Baths to both design and remodel a number of rooms in our home. They did a terrific job on the kitchen, entry area, built a beautiful farmer’s porch and enclosed an outside deck and made a four season living space out of it! Ed and his team are timely and deliver outstanding quality and most importantly have followed up consistently with any fine tunings need. His team stands behind their work and really goes out of their way to please the customer.” Scott and Patty Rocklage
For any and all of your home renovation needs, whether it is interior or exterior, the only phone call you need to make is to the Sudbury Companies at 978-443-8588. You can also fill out the contact form on this page and email it to The Sudbury companies.