April 20, 2014

Southern exposure in Peru

PERU — Keith Herkalo and Joy Demarse’s renovations to their retirement home transform the post World War II structure to a green dream.

There was much tearing asunder of the interior and moving walls around. They kept the original knotty pine and echoed the archway motif, but they went all the way solar for energy.


“We didn’t care much about the house,” said Herkalo, who lives in Plattsburgh. He recently retired as City Clerk for the City of Plattsburgh. Demarse is a retired Plattsburgh High School English teacher.

“We want the lot to be totally unobstructed on the southern side,” he said. “That’s occupancy rule No. 1. Don’t show us something in the middle of the woods. We don’t want to deal with it. We want the solar panels. That’s where we started. So, the real estate agents knew they had to find something with that as the primary starting point.”

The estate of the late June Allen of Peru came onto the market.

“Everybody loved her around here,” Herkalo said. “She had a porch on the front. That’s where she existed for the last several years of her life. She used to sit outside. She had a little potbelly stove out there and waved at everybody when they came by. She went into the hospital and passed away, boom, just like that.”

The exterior of the catalog house was in pretty bad shape, especially the roof.

“But I didn’t care about the roof because I was going to tear it off,” Herkalo said. “We hired somebody to come in with a crane to put those roof rafters on. They’re 47 feet long. Once that was done, we hired someone to help with the electrical work.”

The lot is four acres spread on both sides of the road.

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