Westchester Architects’ & Contractors’ Weirdest Client Requests



Yep, architects and contractors have heard it all. Here, they detail some of their clients’ more unusual project requests.

“We recently completed a project for a urologist, his wife, and their family of five boys. His wife was responsible for all decisions, except one—the doctor wanted an old-school urinal in the guest bathroom. We were only too happy to oblige and think it ‘flows well’ with the bathroom’s classic design.”
—Mark LePage, Owner of Fivecat Studio: Architecture in Pleasantville



“One of the oddest requests was from a couple who had ferrets and were moving into a house in Irvington that had staircases with open risers and similar striking, contemporary, open features. We specified lots of laminated safety glass barriers in order to contain the ferrets who, I understand, were used in the United Kingdom to carry electrical cables, since they are quite smart and can get through tiny passageways. Our project was a success, and the owners and their ferrets are enjoying their new quarters.”
—Stephen Tilly, Principal Architect of Stephen Tilly, Architect, in Dobbs Ferry



“We had a client ask us to build a Faraday cage as part of a new home we designed. A Faraday cage is an electromagnetic shielding room that is inside two electrically conductive layers or copper sheets. It is usually used for top-secret processing rooms to prevent spies from stealing information being used by computers. We built it—and it worked.”
—Michael Molinelli, Principal Architect of Molinelli Architects in Briarcliff Manor



“When I worked on a project for a large farmhouse in Northern Westchester, the client asked me to also design a rather opulent tree house as a birthday gift for his son. It was built and is used, as far as I know, most often by the father and not the son. Also, as a design-build company, we carry out our projects from the initial sketches to the very last stages of completion. During a renovation of a historic building to a restaurant, we even worked at the bar on opening night.”
—Viktor Solarik, President of VKS Architects in Katonah



“We did a siding job a few years back at a summer bungalow residence in Cortlandt Manor originally set up in the forties and fifties like the movie Dirty Dancing. The main building was constructed over water and we had to set the scaffolding in the water to re-side part of the building. We won an award from the Vinyl Siding Institute for the historical category.”
—Mark Franzoso, President of Franzoso Contracting, Inc. in Croton-on-Hudson

With research by Sara Steinfeld