Sea Cliff Victorian Renovation

New Comfort for an Old Long Island Lady

The village of Sea Cliff, NY is located within the town of Oyster Bay on the western shore of Nassau County on Long Island. In the 19th century Sea Cliff was a resort town, and many of the Big Apple’s movers and shakers took respite in the stately Victorian summer homes they built throughout the hamlet. These homes are the village’s legacy, and many have been awarded landmark status by local and state historical societies. One such house languished for some years until the new owner decided to restore its former glory through a complete restoration – while also making some necessary upgrades regarding comfort.

When the new owner bought the home on 17th Avenue, he had his work cut out for him. After sitting vacant for a few years, it required extensive renovation. Built in 1890, the gingerbread Victorian features a 3-story tower, a slate roof, a detached garage, and Nassau County’s last operational outhouse. What it was missing, however, was a dependable and efficient central heating and cooling system.

The new owner is a member of both the village’s Landmarks Preservation and Architectural Review boards, so all renovations were undertaken within the guidelines of proper, period-specific restoration work. When it came to choosing a central HVAC system, he needed something that would not detract from the home’s original design and aesthetics with space concessions such as soffits or dropped ceilings for bulky ductwork. An online search for “unobtrusive HVAC systems” led him to the Unico System website and then toto the local pros at Stan Gelber & Sons, who’ve handled hundreds of Unico System installations throughout the last thirty years — many in historically significant homes and structures.

After a thorough inspection and the requisite load calculations, Brian Gelber and his team recommended two separate 2.5-ton Unico System Green Series units, one in the basement and one in the attic, paired with high-SEER Bryant condensing units. The basement air handling equipment is in a vertical configuration while the attic unit is horizontal. In addition to providing the entire home with air conditioning, both indoor air handlers are equipped with hot water heating coils for comfortable, efficient central heating.

“In older, historically significant homes the Unico System is the only way to go,” says Gelber. “There’s just no way a conventional system would fit into such a place without needing serious alterations to hide the ductwork.” Because the Unico System’s main trunk is one-third the size of traditional central HVAC ducting and its supply ducting consists of flexible, 3-inch outer diameter tubing that can snake through the tightest of spaces, it fits where other systems can’t. It’s cooling coils are also designed to remove more moisture, meaning occupants feel comfortable at higher thermostat settings in cooling mode. This fact, coupled with the electronically commutated variable speed blower motor of the Green Series units, means the occupants feel superior comfort with lower energy consumption and, therefore, lower monthly energy bills.

Says Gelber, “When it comes to older homes built before the advent of central heating and air – especially those of architectural or historical significance — we only install the Unico System because it provides the best level of comfort, energy efficiency, and, most importantly, doesn’t negatively impact the original design or looks of the home.”

Installing Contractor

Stan Gelber & Sons, Inc.

1079 Front St. Uniondale, NY 11553

Phone: (516) 538-0040


Sea Cliff, New York

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