"Smart" Bulb under $10--A Bright Idea by peter podlas

Dusk to Dawn, ColorChoice, Switch to Dim and Motion Activated: these four smart and simple bulbs give you control over brightness, color temperature and other settings without the need for WiFi, a smartphone app or a hub. Unlike other high-end competitors, the IntelliBulb's intelligence in located in the bulb itself. 

Each bulb offers a unique feature. Varying features include a built-in light sensor which automatically turns on the bulb at night and turns off the bulb during the day, and a motion activation feature triggers the bulb from up to 19 feet away. A three-level dimming that adjusts brightness without a dimmer switch and three color temperatures (Warm White, Cool White and Daylight) controlled by a wall switch or switch on the bulb. 

Feit Electric LEB IntelliBulb is truly an amazing bulb, and at such an affordable price it is worth a try! 




Are New Septic Systems Required Now? by peter podlas

We wish there was a simple answer but there isn’t. However, we’ve created a cheat sheet for you based on each town’s newly adopted code.

septic 1.jpg

Town of East Hampton

East Hampton has adopted the strictest requirements of any community in Suffolk County.

Effective January 1, 2018, ALL new construction and substantial expansion of existing residential and commercial buildings will be required to install a new septic system.

Town of Southampton

As of September 1, 2017, projects located within the Priority Area that fall into the following categories require a new septic system:

  • All new residential construction
  • Any improvement greater than 25% to a building
  • Whenever major system upgrades are required by the County (Suffolk County Department of Health Services, Conservation Board and/or Environmental Division)

Town of Brookhaven

As of June 2016, projects located within the Priority Area that fall into the following categories require a new septic system:

  • Any new residential construction
  • Any improvement greater than 10% to a building
  • Any project requiring a wetlands permit


If you have any questions on needing help with a new septic system, feel free to contact our office. We'd be more than happy to help!


As of November 1, this is the most up-to-date information but because of the ever changing nature of building code, always double check with the local building department for the most up-to-date information.

Water Changes Everything by peter podlas

Clean water is one of the greatest gifts. Thank you for making moments like this possible. 

A portion of our profits will be donated to charity: water, but we wanted to also invite you to help so we started a fundraising campaign.

100% of the money will be used to build clean water projects, and when they’re complete, charity: water will send us photos and GPS coordinates so we can see the exact community we helped. We can't wait!

Click the link below to view our campaign and donate--anything helps!




The Most Popular Outdoor Living Amenities: What’s Your Vote? by peter podlas


According to Professional Builder 2017 Outdoor Living Survey, homeowners selected their most requested feature in an outdoor living space. Let’s see if your response aligns with the nationwide survey.


As a homeowner, what would be your top pick for a necessary must-have feature?

Fenced backyard

Professional landscaping

Fully sodded lawn



What would be your top pick for an upgraded feature?

Sunroom/screened porch

Fire pit/fireplace

Audio/video systems (outdoor, TV, stereo)

Built-in seating





Standard Necessary Outdoor Living Features



Upgraded Outdoor Living Features

Trend Watch: The Top Kitchen and Bath Trends of 2017 by peter podlas


During this year’s Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, top trends in the kitchen and bath industry for 2017 were discussed. This year, rapidly emerging smart technology and appliances have  made clients demand nontraditional features in their kitchen and bath. Contemporary clean lines, simple door styles and built-ins are what’s trending, putting traditional features elsewhere in the house.


Here are the top 10 trends of 2017:

1. Two-tone kitchens: Mix wood and metal surfaces

2. Metal cabinetry

3. Barn doors and pocket doors

4. Quartz has taken the place of granite in countertops

5. Bathroom storage: Floating vanities and open shelving, linen storage cabinets and wooden vanities.

6. Undermount bathroom sinks and trough sinks: Vessel sinks and pedestal sinks are a trend of the past.

7. Vinyl flooring! This isn’t the same vinyl flooring of our grandmothers, this high-quality vinyl flooring is a nod to technology.

8. White fixtures: Bone and bisque colored fixtures are no longer the top choice for designers.

9. Brushed brass and gold finishes and designer faucet colors

10. Eliminating the bathtub: Clients are opting to do without the tub to save space for a bigger shower.


To see numerous examples of the trends, click here. 

Why Cabinets Are So Expensive by peter podlas

An extension of the interior architecture, cabinetry is a large and important component of a custom home. With Pinterest, Houzz and other design idea websites, clients bring their hopes and dreams in picture form to a meeting with their kitchen designer. Many of the cabinets seen in photographs are costlier to install and build. Depending on the client’s design goals, cabinets can be one of the costliest items in a custom project.

Beautiful high-end cabinets like Siematic and Poggenpohl can be budget busters. Many clients do not realize that those upper-end cabinets can run upwards of $100,000.

Here’s why, three simple reasons: color, material and features. Currently, a big design trend is cabinetry in a custom color. This can greatly add to the expense because of the need to purchase custom paint rather than a stock color. Similarly, the expensive material upper-end cabinets are made with adds to the expense. Usually these high-end cabinets are made with great, stable hardwoods which are not cheap. The final reason for high-priced cabinets, are the costly features many clients desire. Clients are more and more interested in self-closing drawer and door hardware and rollout shelving. This adds to the cost.

To avoid breaking the bank, get creative. Secondary areas of the home such as the laundry room, secondary bathrooms, mudroom, etc. can be chosen from semi-custom lines. This will help to keep costs down. Using value engineering, you can find places in the home where the special details are not necessary or redundant to the overall design. Once you’ve pinpointed those areas, you can scale back.

To see more pictures click here.

Ceiling That Wirelessly Charges Devices by peter podlas

Imagine your home where everything charges automatically. The Tile, a ceiling fixture using Cota technology, provides just that—power everywhere. 

Without going into too much technical detail, the wireless pioneers Ossia, a tech startup company based out of Washington, have designed these ceiling fixtures to send power over radio waves to devices—think Wi-Fi. The Tile allows for charging to be done safely, at a distance and to multiple devices without plugging devices into a cord!

Our daily life would be revolutionized by this technology. A visit to the neighborhood coffeeshop or local supermarket, with a device in hand or in a purse would charge automatically. Ossia’s technology powers our life while we are living our lives, in motion. 

Think of all of the devices we rely on everyday: smartwatch, smartphone, smoke alarm, electric toothbrush, medical devices. Now imagine we never have to think about charging them again–revolutionary.

GO LINEAR! by peter podlas

Linear Shower Floor Drain

Linear Shower Floor Drain

For the most part, shower drains haven’t changed all that much over the years. Not until recently.  First designed to be in the center of the shower, drains were underfoot and very visible. However, the new trend in shower drains is a linear design. A linear drain is tucked against the rear or side wall of the shower and creates a smoother, uniform look to the floor. According to Jonathan Brill, president of Infinity Drain, cleaner-looking shower areas that aren’t busy are on trend.   

Linear drains allow for more flexibility in the selection of floor tile whether you choose a larger format tile or a small mosaic pattern. Simply placed off to the side, a linear drain takes the focal point from the traditional center floor drain. And, depending if the shower is large enough, they can allow for a barrier free design. Which, in some cases, can eliminate the shower curb altogether.  Using a linear drain is helpful for those who don’t wish to, or, are unable to step over a threshold.

For your next bathroom project, consider a linear drain.  They come in various lengths and can be coupled together to achieve longer lengths. 


In just a few weeks the NYS Building Code will adopt the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC) with amendments. Here are a few helpful observations on some code changes. First the good news!  Newly constructed homes will NOT require fire sprinklers as was initially proposed. (R 313.2)

A new code change requires the UNDERSIDE of all first floor joists in a full basement to be covered with gypsum wallboard or plywood. 2x10 or larger dimensional lumber is exempt from this requirement. (R 302.13)

Another code change, requires new full basements for new homes and new additions to have an emergency escape and rescue opening. (R 310.1)

As you can see these new changes and others could have an effect on your next building project. If you have any questions, we are always happy to answer them.  Give our office a call at 631-325-0929.

HOMES START WITH TREES by peter podlas

On a recent trip to the Canadian Rockies, I chatted with a gentleman who is currently writing a book about the oldest Limber Pine tree in the world.  This particular pine tree is predicted to be between 2500 and 3000 years old.

Being in the residential home construction business, I became intrigued with this story since homes are mostly made of wood.   I set out to see this limber pine, also known as white pine for myself.  There was no parking lot, trail head or sign highlighting its location, so it took a little time to finally locate this old tree. It stood along the banks of the North Saskatchewan River.  With numerous tired and drooping branches, it certainly looked its age.  It is refreshing to know this tree escaped the logging industry and was not turned into a cabinet or a table.

I also did some hiking in the sub-alpine areas of Jasper National Park and learned another new thing about some very unique trees called Flag trees. They look like flags because the branches on the windward side are killed by constant strong winds giving the tree a flag like appearance. Pretty neat.

New NYS Residential Building Code Changes in Effect by peter podlas

New York State recently adopted the implementation of the 2015 International Code for building practices, taking effect on April 6, 2016. 

A 180 day transition period was established to allow construction industry professionals to changeover from the 2010 building code to the 2015 International Code.  During this transition period, builders, architects and engineers will have the option to use either the NYS 2010 Residential Code or the new 2015 IRC.  This transition period will end on October 3, 2016. Thereafter, all residential building projects must comply with the new standards.

We will keep you posted on these code changes and how they could impact your next building project.  Stay tuned.

The New Hamptons: Smaller Homes? by peter podlas

According to a recent article in Newsday, the Hamptons real estate market is changing.  Buyers are now seeking homes that are more affordable within the price range of $1 million to $4 million.  Real estate brokers agree that homes priced under $1 million dollars are in high demand.

Why? It is believed that due to uncertainty on Wall Street and the still struggling economy, buyers are being more conservative.

Purchasing a smaller home doesn't mean you have to sacrifice the luxuries a larger home can offer.  It can allow the buyer to settle into a home and renovate in the future.  We at Peter Podlas Architect have see this type of remodeling in recent years.

To read more click here. 

A "Tree House" Beginning For Peter Podlas Architect by peter podlas


Growing up Peter Podlas has always been entrenched in local architecture.  A recent article in “The Southampton Press”, entitled “A Tree House Worthy Of Childhood” highlighted one of the memories Peter had as a boy growing up on the East End of Long Island. His father, Paul Podlas, a contractor based out of Riverhead, NY had the pleasure of designing and building this unique “tree house”.  The construction of this home took place in Remsenburg, NY, just down a few streets away to where the Peter Podlas Architect office now stands.

Peter didn’t just have the opportunity to witness the construction of such a unique building, he had the pleasure of helping out in the construction.  "My brothers and I spent a whole summer at Judge Cooper’s tree house.  As a kid, a tree house was a big deal so to see the construction of this tree house was pretty extraordinary."
Contrary to Remsenburg’s surrounding areas including Westhampton, Westhampton Beach, and Quogue, this home embodies the true essence of being “in the woods”. Peter thinks back to the influence this building had on him. He states “to take the Remsenburg location, add element of nature plus an exciting structural appeal you get a great feet of architecture. I’m happy to see such a local unique structure is still being seen as appealing today. I’m glad I had the opportunity to be around it at such a young age.”
This home, owned by Benita Cooper Marks and her family, has now just been placed on the market for residential sale.

Check out the Southampton Press article right here

It's Cantastic! by peter podlas

The Grateful Bean(ie)   2,905 cans, Boston Event 2015

The Grateful Bean(ie) 2,905 cans, Boston Event 2015


Canstruction is an international charity competition where architects, engineers and contractors compete to design and build giant structures made entirely from full cans of food.  At the close of the competition all of the food is donated to food banks all across the world.  The structures go on display to the public as a giant art exhibition and the cost of admission: just one can of food.

Since its inception in 1992, Canstruction has grown to become one of the largest and most consistent canned food contributors to food banks in the wold.  Canstruction events have been held in over 150 cities worldwide donating nearly 30 million pounds of food to feed the hungry since 1992.

The latest NYC Canstruction exhibit was held last week in lower Manhattan with food items being to to CITY Harvest.  The Canstruction Long Island competition fights hunger right here on Long Island! Their 2015 competition, held last month, was exhibited in Uniondale.  The exhibit closed on November 11th.

As we approach the upcoming holiday season, consider helping our neighbors in need by donating to your local food bank.  Or better yet, form a team, be a sponsor or donate to Canstruction Long Island.  For more information on this Long Island chapter visit: https://www.constructionli.org/



What would you say most people want in their bathroom? A Jacuzzi tub, large walk in shower or perhaps a double sink? The answer might surprise you.

According to a report from the National Association of Home Builders, an exhaust fan is the number one feature home buyers are looking for in a bathroom.

An exhaust fan does more than just help eliminate annoying fog on the bathroom mirror.  Other benefits include slowing fixture rust, preventing door and window warping as well as retarding paint blister and wallpaper peel.  However, many bathrooms have fans that are undersized.  So, if your bathroom mirror is fogging up when showering, chances are you may need more ventilation in your bathroom.

Ventilation rates are based on eight air changes in an hour. Air movement is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). For most bathrooms this works out to one CFM per square foot of bathroom area.  For example, a 7ft x 10ft bathroom would require a 70 CFM fan.

Exhaust fans are also measured in Sones which measure the sound the fan makes. Typically, from 0.5 (almost silent) to 4.0 (normal television sound). 4.0 may be loud for a fan but it does provide privacy against toilet sounds especially in powder rooms which are generally located in public areas of a home.

Here is a bathroom fan calculator link to see if your exhaust fan is adequate for your bathroom:


Anticipated Code Change Will Make Fire Sprinklers Mandatory by peter podlas

The NYS Fire Prevention and Building Code Council is considering the adoption of the 2015 International Residential code in its entirety, especially the provision to require fire sprinklers for new one and two family homes.  With the advent of lightweight construction in new homes, they believe it is necessary to install home fire sprinklers in order to protect homeowners and firefighters.  If sprinklers are installed, residents will have time to escape the fire and firefighters will have time to fight the fire.  

However, not all are in total agreement. Executive Vice President of the New York State Builders Association, Lewis Dubuque, is fighting the proposed mandate.  He supports sprinklers in homes.  In fact, he's pushing for a 25 percent tax credit for consumers who choose to install sprinklers.  But, he says it should be just that - a choice.  Dubuque says the NYS Builders Association looked at fire-related fatalities in 2014 and found the average date of construction for the homes involved was 1935. He says, "The new homes are built to a newer code than older homes.  They are safer, healthier and we want to make sure that more people can afford a new home," he said.

Fire safety consultants do not agree.  Fire safety consultant Pete Lattanzio says the codes may be stricter, but the materials used to build new homes are lighter, cheaper and burn eight times faster, putting firefighters at greater risk of injury from collapsing floors and roofs.

Some facts to consider:

  • If you have a reported fire in your home, the risk of dying decreases by about 80 percent when sprinklers are present.
  • People in homes with sprinklers are protected against significant property loss-sprinklers reduce the average property loss by about 70 percent per fire.
  • The average cost of installing home fire sprinklers for new construction is still a bit vague, ranging from $1.35 - $5.00 sq. ft.

Whatever your viewpoint, this code change, requiring fire sprinklers for new homes, could become effective January 1, 2016.

How Builders Can Protect the Lives of Firefighters by peter podlas

What’s a firefighter’s first concern when they roll up to a fire? Put the fire out safely and live to tell about it!  Recent changes to the NYS Residential Building Code regarding the use of trusses will help keep firefighters safe.

New construction can be found in every community, including the community you live in. With the pressure of getting it done yesterday, rising material cost, and the demand for large open rooms many builders are turning to truss construction to satisfy their customer’s expectations. Trusses are engineered to use forest resources efficiently. Trusses, I-joist, and laminated veneer lumber products have evolved to resourcefully utilize wood fiber, resulting in less cutting and less waste of trees needed to manufacture them.

However, the increased usage of lightweight wood truss roof and floor structures have increased the hazard of injury from structural collapse to unaware firefighters. Once the structure is completed, it is nearly impossible for firefighters to recognize a building of truss construction. The problem is there is no existing database from which to identify buildings of truss construction. So, when firefighters roll up to a burning building they are doing so completely unaware.

The main concern is that a truss is made in such a way that it contains an open void. It can allow a fire to simultaneously expose a larger portion of structural members that a conventional solid wood joist void would not. Also, the new “I” joist is constructed with a thin vertical plywood member that burns quicker than solid wood joists.

The NYS Residential Building Code now requires Truss System Placards for firefighter safety to be placed on the exterior electric box. This new requirement of the placard will allow early recognition of a truss system being present, what type and where it is installed which will allow firefighters the opportunity to change tactics thereby increasing the firefighter’s margin of safety. The sample language below provides building labeling that identifies the building’s construction type, it is simple, yet logical and should allow firefighters to quickly know the building’s floor and roof construction materials.  This will promote better and more complete information on the fire ground and increase firefighter safety.

Building Code Change to Prevent Deck Collapse by peter podlas

Deck connection failure at house exterior wall.

Deck connection failure at house exterior wall.

More than a million decks are built and replaced each year in the United States. While decks are a popular feature of many homes, the construction and safety of decks have become a real concern within the building industry. Improper deck building has resulted in a growing number of deck failures with related injuries and deaths. Consequently a code revision was needed.

New York Residential Code has not fully adopted changes within The International Residential Code (2015) currently, however these new changes contain more specifications to build a safer wood deck. The main concern is the deck ledgers connecting to the existing house. As you can see in the photo, the overall deck is intact but the connection between the deck and the house is where the failure occurred. The new International Residential code change wants to prevent the deck from pulling away from the house.

One new approved solution uses a Simpson DTT1Z “L” shaped connector on the underside or the face of the deck joist using lag screws with a washer into the 2x4 stud wall. A minimum of four connectors are required – (2) located within two inches of each end of the ledger with the other two evenly spaced in between. This new connection detail will not allow a deck to collapse as shown above.

Feel free to contact our office with any questions.