Carmel Retreat House
Carmel Retreat House
Mahwah, New Jersey

Carmel Retreat House
1071 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, New Jersey 07430
Father David Simpson
905-356-4113 x 201

Project Info


Project Cost

1996 Heritage Award for Best Adaptive Re-Use of an Historic Building, presented by the Mahwah Historic Preservation Commission

DiGeronimo PC carefully designed the all new exterior construction to harmonize with the existing Dutch Colonial style architecture. Our goal was to retain the period charm so integral to the serene and contemplative Carmel Retreat House experience.

Originally built in 1906-11 in Dutch Colonial style, the building evokes typical northern New Jersey-New York ‘New Amsterdam’ days. DiGeronimo PC’s design for the base house renovations focused entirely within the confines of the existing historic structure. The design program included sleeping quarters for five permanent religious residents, and lodging for as many as 55 transient occupants.

Retreats require group classrooms, an enlarged kitchen, dining area and relaxing spaces. The expanded program included private bathrooms in all sleeping areas, new counseling areas, a new office, and a gift shop.

American Disability Act (ADA) accessibility compliance and life-safety improvements required a DiGeronimo PC design for a complete building upgrade including three new stair towers and a comprehensive smoke detection and sprinkler system.

The Carmelite Fathers, a Roman-Catholic religious order, had been faced with an increasingly difficult financial situation. The Carmel Retreat House had been an aging building, expensive to maintain, with a limited number of accommodations. Its operation had been far exceeding the costs of other competitive retreat houses.

The DiGeronimo PC designed renovations to the 22,800 sq. ft. complex, including a new 5,000 sq. ft. addition, created economic viability and new life for the facility.