Bill Novak Sr. Founder of ECHO Cottages Passed Away

We are sad to announce thatBill Sr. Bill Novak Sr, who came up with his Version of Care for our Elderly Loved Ones, has passed away. Bill, my father, devised his concept while re-cooping from a near death accident when he was 78 years old.

One of his “Bucket List” items was to Buy a Helicopter and learn to fly it.  Much to his dismay, he found that the first part of that was actually much easier than the second part. Being a successful land developer he actually found he could afford the price of a small 2 seat copter, BUT, because of his age, and various physical conditions, for the most part caused by almost 60 years spent in the construction industry, he could not pass the Physical  required to obtain a license. Never to admit defeat, he searched the internet and found a small company located on the west coast of Florida, that custom built small experimental single seat Helicopters, NO LICENSE REQUIRED, so he ordered one, had it built, and after it was complete started to take lessons, a week later after training for only, FOUR and ONE HALF Hours, he decided to solo, and quickly realized he was not a “Natural Helicopter Pilot”. He crashed and was severely injured. Ater going to an emergency medical center, against doctors orders, checked himself out climbed back into his car and drove himself five hours home, to the east coast of Florida, in Sebastion. There he sat down in his recliner and stayed there ( against my mothers wishes) from Tuesday evening, until the following Saturday morning when she was able to convince him to go to the hospital, since by then he was starting to feel poorly. Once in the hospital they discovered he had broken 8 broken ribs, his kidneys had shut down, he had damaged his liver and had double pneumonia, he was not expected to live through the weekend. To make a long story short, he did survive and was supposed to go to a Nursing Home to Re-Hab. In his mind, and at his age, that was a death sentence and against his Dr’s advice (again) hired a couple private duty nurses and re-habbed at home, again in his Recliner. That is where and when he came up with he concept for ECHO Cottages.

Well it was in the comfort of that same recliner, at their home in Upstate New York,  on May 2nd, 2017 at the ripe age of 86, that he passed peacefully in his sleep, hunkered down, blanket pulled up around his neck, head back, mid-snore, Pretty much the best place, and way to go.  I will miss our lunches together, and the ideas that we used to exchange. One of the last things we did talk about, last week, was the fact that they are now building Quad Copters that are big enough for a full sized person, and since they have four blades, we both agreed that they would probably be much easier to fly, he was going to do some research on them, find out where he could buy one and what it cost. SOME THINGS NEVER CHANGE!!!


Proud to announce that Echo Cottages LTD is an approved modular home manufacturer in the state of Pennsylvania. Last fall we received our Delaware approvals , next states we are going through the process will be Connecticut and New Jersey. the state of Connecticut, from i was told, will have a state law allowing Echo Cottages as housing for the elderly family members by this summer. Thank you to senator Cathy Osten who chaired the task force to study this law also thank you to Tia Murphy , Richard Heanratty , John Guzkowski and Amanda Kennedy and thank you to Wade Packer for inviting me to sit with the task force and answer any questions regarding this senior housing option.


Even though I have been building homes for over 40 years . I am the first to admit that we learn something everyday. When we built our model Echo Cottage in the summer of 2011, we designed a kitchen that we thought would be perfect for an elderly person to use. Since my father and I are men , which pretty much says it all , if we built cottages only for men it would be perfect since men are simple but since we build also for women which are a lot more complex we learned that women want a kitchen that they are used to and have been using since they were young. This means a normal range with enough burners to cook 3 or 4 things at the same time and an oven large enough for a full size turkey and normal microwave for the small stuff. That doesn’t need a convention oven. Plus a few more cabinets couldn’t hurt. So we redesigned our cottages, we started by making them 2′ right in the kitchen area. This allowed us to build a better kitchen i want to clients David and Elizabeth for helping me redesign a new kitchen for his mom .this has become our new standard kitchen. Also all our kitchens have appliances that are easy to understand and very user friendly but plenty of cycles and options plus the controls are large enough to see.




multi cycle dishwasher IMG_20170303_100300029[1]

the controls are easy to use ,easy to see

plenty of room for storage IMG_20170303_100312560[1]

the controls are not  limited, there are still plenty options
IMG_20170303_100210336[1]stainless steel dishwasher


We have busy over the winter researching ways to make our cottages more user friendly for our clients. Late last fall we did a “blower door ” test on one of our cottages this test checks how air tight the structure is; how many places air leaks or can infiltrate the cottage. we have always tried to build a tight cottage free from drafts. Since we are very cognizant about how sensitive an elderly person is to the cold, this is the number one reason we use spray foam to insulate our cottages. The very nature of the product is such that its expands and fills every nook and cranny that may cause leaks.We also use low expanding foam to insulate around all windows and doors, there is no fiberglass used .So now the good news!! We passed our blower door test with flying colors. We actually approximately one third the leakage that is allowed. All that attention to detail has definitively paid off. We also seal the bottoms of the exterior walls to the floor and overlap the sheath; therefore,  eliminate the any possible air leak that may come from there. We build our framed corners in such a way to insulate them, in other words there is no hollow spaces.There is some bad news however, since our cottages are so airtight it doesn’t circulate air at all. the air becomes stale which is no good. Since the elderly are a group of people prone to respiratory issues such as emphysema or COPD. Also since many elderly folks may have smoked in their youths, a home has to breathe to be healthy. So what we do now, is install what is known as an energy recovery ventilator by (ERV) by Panasonic. this unit has two ducts that pulls air from the outside and filters it through the ventilators to remove any harmful particles. This produces clean and breathable air for the cottage. The second duct, circulates the stale air back through the device, depositing the air outside for completely safe exchange to the environment. At the same time it transfers moisture to the incoming air, this creates good quality air that is fresh and has no drafts.






To make our cottages even more energy efficient, we use a structurally insulated sheathing from R-MAX. With a normal wood framed home using studs 16” on center taking into account , door and window jacks .partition studs corner studs ,nailers ,over 10% is composed of solid studs that are not insulated. Using R-MAX therma-sheath s1 these studs are now insulated on the outside as well the rest of the wall is now sheathed. This greatly increases the efficiency of the thermal envelope. Our walls are now an R value of 24.2 including the closed cell foam we use in the cavities.IMG_20161228_111242146_HDR[1]