The Joseph R. Ensign house is located on Simsbury’s main thoroughfare and anchors the south end of the Simsbury Center historic district, a National Register district. The building’s eclectic style combines elements of Romanesque Revival (asymmetrical form, fine stonework, round-arches) and the Italian Renaissance (classical elements, deep bracketed roof overhang and terracotta tile roof). The scope of work required minimal alterations to the historic Mansion while incorporating energy efficient and low-carbon initiatives. All original historic fabric was retained in place or reused and the first floor maintains its original floor plan configuration with highly-regarded craftmanship and ornate architectural detailing. Metro Bis, a well-established restaurant rooted in the community, relocated to occupy the first-floor of the Mansion and the majority of the Annex. The second- and third-floors feature five apartments, and the basement of the annex houses Rhenium Salon and Spa, creating a unique and desirable public-private experience program for a landmark building.
Energy efficient and low-carbon measures include energy generation via the on site solar array, avoidance of fossil fuels by converting to electric systems powered by renewable energy, promotion of electric vehicles, and preservation of the “embedded energy” in the Annex. Other sustainable initiatives include pervious brick paving, rain gardens, bicycle parking, planting of grasses that demand less irrigation and mowing, native plants, pollinator gardens and herb gardens.