Fourth-generation custom homebuilder Albert Cummings knows a lot about two very different things: building high-performance homes and performing the blues. Cummings splits his time between his custom home business and his career as a renowned guitar player, and has performed and recorded music with his band and with music legends like Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, Sheryl Crow, Susan Tedeschi, and B.B. King. Naturally, now that he and his wife and business partner Christina Cummings are building their long-planned home in the Berkshires, the couple dubbed it the “The House That Blues Built.”
The 18-acre property includes a pond and views of mountains in Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont. “We bought this site for the views, and we’ve been coming just to sit out here and relax for more than a decade,” says Christina. “We’ve been able to position our home for the sunrise and sunset views.”
The two-level post-and-beam style home, designed for relaxing, recharging, and socializing, will include more than 3,400 square feet of living space wrapped on all sides by patios and porches. The walk-out basement is designed as a tribute to music, complete with a dedicated guitar room and a guest suite set up as a place for musicians on the road to regroup and share their creativity.
The upper level will include an open kitchen, a living and dining room with a fireplace, an office, a pantry, and a family entrance with closets, storage, and powder room. The primary suite wing, which is adjacent to the laundry room, will include a bedroom, walk-in closet, and luxury bathroom.
In addition, the Cummings are dedicated to sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint, so the house is designed to meet high levels of energy and water efficiency.
“We’re eager to show how companies and products can work together to meet stringent stretch code requirements,” Albert explained. “The HERS rating must be 55, which we were able to reach based on the estimated performance of the insulation, windows, and air exchange systems. Once we included the components we plan to include in house, we were able to get to a HERS rating of 45.”
Siding That Stands the Test of Time
One of the easiest decisions the couple made was about the home’s exterior, for which they selected TruExterior® siding from Westlake Royal Building Products.
“We’ve used TruExterior for ages,” Albert said. “It’s always been our go-to material because it is highly durable and holds up in any kind of weather.”
TruExterior, a poly-ash siding product made with at least 70% recycled material, works well in any climate or environment. Since the product is moisture-resistant, it works particularly well in rainy regions or areas with high humidity.
“TruExterior is as close as you can get to working with regular wood, but without the moisture concerns and associated maintenance,” Albert explained. “It looks and feels like real wood, but it provides a better defense against the elements.”
The Cummings sometimes see golf ball-size hail in the Berkshire Mountains, Albert said, and trust this product to protect their home. TruExterior is less prone to damage from freezing rain, snow, and freeze/thaw. The composition of TruExterior makes it resistant to rot, so it can be installed all the way to grade. The product is also insect resistant.
In addition, TruExterior is easy to paint and comes in numerous styles that match historic and modern homes. “We knew we wanted this for our house right away because it has so many different kinds of trims that allow us to be creative,” said Christina. “Because this is a typical Farmhouse style, we’ll probably paint it white with different accent tones.”
TruExterior can be installed with commonly available woodworking tools and methods.
“The siding and trim can be planed, sanded, cut, milled, and glued, so you can completely customize it,” Albert said.
Easy installation, low maintenance, customization, and high performance meet the high standards the Cummings have for the House That Blues Built.
This article was written by and originally appeared on the Professional Builder website. Learn more about the House that Blues Built here.