Waterfront Home in Old Greenwich: Latest KLAFFS-Duffy Lighting Collaboration

By KLAFFStyle Editorial Staff

Duffy Home Solutions and KLAFFS senior lighting designer Monica Cotton design an award-winning beach house.

KLAFFS senior lighting designer Monica Cotton recently shared with us her excitement about her latest collaboration with design/build team Rachel and John Duffy of Greenwich-based Duffy Home Solutions. It’s a water-front home in the coveted Lucas Point Association in Old Greenwich. Designed as a contemporary interpretation of a classic New England shingle-style beach house with sunset views of Greenwich cove and a private dock and sandy beach, it has already won several awards.

Monica has been working with the Duffys for 20 of her 21 years at KLAFFS, a trusted relationship typical of those she has built with many of the top designers, architects and builders in the area. She has great respect for the Duffys’ attention to detail and quality and their specific expertise in waterfront building. She also values their loyalty and trust, and their reliance on the experience and knowledge of partners like her to assure that every aspect of the home reflects up-to-date design and technology standards.

Breakfast Area

A Heritage of Craftsmanship

Not long after emigrating to the US from Galway, Ireland, John Duffy founded the company as Duffy Craftsmen, Inc., in 1986. While he and Rachel still consider their craftsman-like approach to construction as core to their values, they recently re-named and re-branded the business as Duffy Home Solutions to reflect that it has evolved to include new construction, renovation/remodeling and property management/maintenance services.

We spoke with Rachel and John Duffy about this intriguing spec home project and their general approach to designing and building homes. When they purchased it, the property included an existing house. Because of new FEMA regulations, the best plan was to demolish that house and start from scratch.

Master Bedroom

Waterfront Know-How

According to Rachel, waterfront building is a Duffy specialty. “John gets very excited when we find a waterfront property to develop. He knows all of the many ins and outs that must be considered.”

We asked John what attracts him to waterfront opportunities.

He said, “I grew up on the wild Atlantic coast in the West of Ireland and have always had a deep affection for the water. I love to build on the water because it’s so special to go to work every day and have the beautiful views and changing landscapes every couple of hours. You can’t have a bad day at the office when you’re building on the water. It’s always so special for buyers too. I think you get a unique and exciting type of person that wants to live on the water.”

What kinds of issues are specific to building on the water, and how does John address these in the construction and materials selection process?

John explained, “The permitting and regulatory constraints for waterfront properties are very stringent compared to non-waterfront. You are required to have breakaway panels on your foundation and garage to allow for the free flow of flood waters. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Office of Long Island Sound Programs (OLISP) is responsible for coastal management in Connecticut. The Connecticut Coastal Management Act requires “coastal site plan reviews” for plans and applications for projects located within the coastal boundary. Structures such as decks must be detached from the main house structure so they can break-away independently in the case of a storm or flood. These are just some of the key considerations.”


Natural Light to Night Time Drama

Circling back to the lighting in the house, Rachel painted an inviting picture. “The house has the bones of a shingle-style home, but we really opened it up with doors and windows. From a design perspective, I wanted it to be all about maximizing natural light and the indoor/outdoor relationship. In this regard the home is truly dramatic.

“That said, it then became an exciting process to keep the drama going at night. That’s where our close collaboration with Monica came into play. We worked with her on design and specifying the lighting throughout the entire house. She works with us from the planning stage to installation.


“For example, I designed a flowing staircase from the first to the third floor. While it’s stunning, there was not enough room for a center fixture of enough scale. Monica helped us come up with a semi-custom solution. We used a lighting system that allowed us to hang glass ball lights at varying heights. Monica and I directed the electrician so that we got each one hanging at just the right height to create the desired effect!”

Monica’s favorite room from both a design and lighting perspective is the two-story library – which has won a design award of its own. It features light woods and bronze-finish lighting fixtures. She also thinks the master bath and dressing room are out of this world.


Today’s Lighting – New Tech Challenges

Rachel discussed the importance of working with a lighting expert in these days of evolving technology. “With all the new LED lighting, not even the electricians and contractors can keep up with the technical specifications. Monica is truly helpful in this regard.

“She and her colleagues at KLAFFS work directly with the lighting manufacturers, often from the design stage on. It made a world of difference having her expertise to specify not just the right fixtures but the correct transformer loads for what we chose. You just can’t order this stuff online and expect it to work out.”


KLAFFS also provided plumbing items in the kitchen and baths. By the way, you can call this beautiful, meticulously crafted property with stunning water views home. Enjoy sunsets over Greenwich Cove, a private dock, six bedrooms, six-and-a-half baths, five fireplaces, a wine cellar, three garages and every top quality amenity you could desire. It’s available for $7,450,000.

Following is the brand information for the lighting and kitchen-bath items you see in the photos throughout the article.


Entry Foyer
Chandelier – Currey

Chandelier – Artcraft
Upper Level Art Lights – Tech Lighting

Customized Pendant Fixture – LBL Lighting
Wall Sconces – Visual Comfort

Master Bedroom
Chandelier and Sconces – Visual Comfort

Island Pendant – Visual Comfort

Breakfast Area
Chandelier – Arteriors

Master Bath
Fixture Over Tub – Sonneman
Bath Tub – Victoria + Albert
Tub Filler – Newport Brass

John and Rachel Duffy, Duffy Home Solutions

Monica Cotton, KLAFFS Senior Lighting Designer


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Become a KLAFFS Insider today!

Get in the know! Sign-up to receive KLAFFS newsletters and be the first to know about our sales and special events!

• Pre-sales announcements

• Invitations to designer, product introduction and charity events

• Special offers only for KLAFFS Insiders!

You have Successfully Subscribed!