What a Builder Learned From His Vacation Home Renovation

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Anthony Carrino’s Catskills vacation home includes luxury gas amenities such as a heated pool, a standby generator, an outdoor grill, and a 48-inch gas cooktop in the kitchen.

Welcome Homes plans to revolutionize the way people purchase homes.

Much like how car buyers can shop and customize their vehicle online, Welcome Homes aims to simplify the process of creating a custom home online. Buyers can select land, choose from a carefully curated list of interior and exterior design options, and get a guaranteed all-in price to construct their new home.

“Basically we’re trying to productize the home so that people can make their choices without being overwhelmed,” says Anthony Carrino, vice president of design for Welcome Homes, which operates in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York, with more locations expected this year. “They get really good design and have their home built for them within six months.”

On the Welcome Homes website, clients can select interior and exterior design options from a carefully curated list.
On the Welcome Homes website, clients can select interior and exterior design options from a carefully curated list.

In his role, Carrino is looking to spec building products that will not only stand the test of time for his clients but that also fit functionally and aesthetically. That’s why many of the products he selects are ones he’s used in his own home—after using them day in and day out, he knows he can trust their quality. His experience of him renovating his vacation home in the Catskills region of New York has given him the confidence to specify propane systems for the vast majority of Welcome Homes’ projects.

Energy for Homes on Rural Lots

To give clients a selection of lots to choose from if they don’t own their own land, Welcome Homes uses technology to vet potential lots and display them on the website’s parcel viewer. Most of these land parcels don’t already have services such as sewer, water, and natural gas, so the builder’s designs often include septic, well drilling, and propane tanks.

Carrino, a self-taught designer, builder, and project manager with 25 years of experience in residential and restaurant design, gained plenty of experience with propane while renovating his vacation home. The 1960s stone farmhouse had been gutted but left unfinished by a previous owner. “Where most people see a problem in a house, I see value because of my skill set,” he says. “I basically finished the demolition on my own and then put absolutely everything back together again.”

It was clear that the basement had once contained a heating oil tank, leaving a stain on the concrete and an old, rusted oil furnace. “There was no world where I was going to be burning oil in that house,” Carrino says. “It’s expensive. It’s dirty. And it’s just not as efficient as a propane home. From the moment we closed on the property, I knew I was putting propane in the ground.”

Carrino had a 1,000-gallon propane tank buried in his yard to fuel the new systems and appliances he installed throughout the house. The house is now heated by a hybrid system with an electric heat pump and a propane furnace. “As the temperatures drop and the electric heat becomes more expensive to run, the propane kicks in and does your heavy lifting for you,” he says. “So it really utilizes your utilities at the most efficient time with the most efficient fuel for your needs.”

Visit propane.com to see more of Carrino’s renovation, including a luxury propane cooktop, an outdoor kitchen, a heated pool, and a propane standby generator.

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