The design of this coastal compound started with a master plan, laying out a long term vision that could be built over time. Attached to the area after 14 summers of renting, the owners bought 5 acres of river front meadow to build a place of their own for family vacations and eventual year-round residence. The master plan set Grey Havens, the main house, just back from the brow of a gentle slope to the water and a guest house downhill and perpendicular to preserve views and privacy.
Grey Havens harks back to 19th century coastal estates, but accommodates year round contemporary living. The south facing end of the wide porch is framed with heavy timber but the roof sheathing is omitted so winter sun can brighten the interior.
This lake front residence responds to the daily rhythms of the site and the life rhythms of a couple approaching retirement. Porches, decks, bay windows and alcoves offer a variety of vantage points for enjoying lake, woodland and field, as well as local flora and fauna from trillium to bald eagles. A week-end and vacation home for now, Internet access and other amenities facilitate telecommuting and ultimately transition to a primary home.
The owners’ active engagement in the design process included sourcing materials. The reclaimed barn timbers in the exposed framing, the locally milled fir floor and trim, the fireplace keystone from the lake, the kitchen tiles hand-painted with loons and blue heron—enhance the sense of place and personal connection to the home.
“Serenity” was the word used by the client, a busy professional couple, to describe the ambiance desired for a new vacation home overlooking Pleasant Lake. The visual metaphor of an old barn was used to capture this feeling and guide the design. The flared gambrel roof, topped by a cupola, and the stone base, cut into the hillside, evoke a rural past life for the structure. Natural light from the cupola cascades down the central stair to brighten the interior. Reclaimed oak floors add a vintage patina, while reclaimed oak posts and beams suggest the frame of the “old” barn.
The clients fell in love with this lakefront lot, but not its 1970’s ranch house which suited neither their lifestyle nor their taste. The challenge was to extract some value from the structure while making it suitable for entertaining large groups and transforming its look.
The existing garage, which blocked the best view, was replaced with an entry and great room, opening to the lake. A new garage with in-law apartment above was added on the uphill side of the house and a large screen porch was added on the lakeside. The balance of the existing house was reconfigured to provide an open kitchen/dining area which flows into the great room and porch, as well as separate sleeping quarters for family and guests. The exterior was re-skinned with red cedar shingles, clapboards, and planks, patterned to break up the mass of the house. Net savings for re-use of the existing structure was over $100,000.
As seen in lake living (Fall 2012), DownEast (October 2013) and Maine Home + Design (December 2013)
Nestled into the low side of a sloping site, this guest cottage is built small, but lives large. Long interior views are extended through over-sized windows beyond the walls of the 900 square foot structure across and down the Meduncook River. Alcoves accommodate napping, reading, and tele-commuting without the size or expense of separate rooms. And the open plan living area spills on to a south facing porch and meadow to provide relief from the cozy interior.
As seen in MAINE Boats, Homes & Harbors (February/March 2011) and Fine Homebuilding Houses Awards Issue (Summer 2012)
This vacation home in the Berkshires is both in the trees and of the trees. The view to a secluded pond on the steeply sloped site is through the tree tops. A large tree trunk in the center of the living area, supporting exposed fir beams, literally brings the outside in. The compact structure was designed for low maintenance and energy efficiency. For achieving a HERS Index of 49 (energy consumption less than 1/2 that of a house designed to current building codes) under the DOE Energy Star program, the owners received a rebate from the local utility company.
As seen in Cabin Living (September 2016)
To convert a small seasonal cabin into a year round retreat for architect, family, and friends was the dream. Challenges included zoning which limited an addition to under 300 square feet and a northerly exposure with little direct sun. Panoramic views of the White Mountain National Forest and grandfathered direct water access rewarded the effort.
The central feature of the addition/renovation is an 8’ by 8’ tower, rotated 45 degrees to the original cabin. From the land side the purple tower and a deck nestled into the notch, created by the rotation, mark the entry. A new screen porch on the water side leans against the tower base to provide bug-free sunset views. Inside the tower, the architect’s studio, stacked over a galley kitchen, reflects south light from high windows into the living area below.
The arrival of grandchildren necessitated more space. On a postage stamp size buildable area in the rear of the lot a sleeping porch/play house was stacked over a storage shed, now known as Shedex.
Mountainside Post and Beam
The client, a couple approaching retirement, had two clear instructions for this hillside property: provide one level living for two people and maximize westerly views of the Presidential range.
To meet these goals, the compact design is turned upside down. The couples’ living space (just over 1,000 square feet) is stretched out on a north-south axis at the upper level and extended with decks and screen porch. Douglas Fir posts and beams support a space enlarging cathedral ceiling and frame views of the Presidentials. The lower level has another 500 square feet of guest quarters which will be built out over time plus garage and work shop. The two levels are connected by an offset stair tower with an open office above which also serves to bring morning light into the living space.
The clients’ charge was to maximize ocean views and maintain privacy from both neighbors and house guests in a compact second home. The design challenge was to achieve this on a small lot across the road from the beach and hemmed in on three sides by other houses.
Stair and hall, pulled to the back of the house, provide a visual buffer from the rear abutter, create a two level light well (which doubles as a library), and open the entire frontage to the shore. First floor living spaces—both indoor and outdoor—focus on a view corridor sliced between mature trees and the abutter across the street to sunset views. The three gabled second floor spaces—home office, master bath and master bedroom—offer the owners sweeping vistas and a peaceful retreat.
A couple moving from the west coast fell in love with this spit of land in a small coastal village with water on three sides. Building on it had some challenges. Located in a sensitive dune zone and subject to high tides, the house is set on steel piers to minimize disruption of the vegetation and to allow storm surges to pass underneath. An open floor plan and multiple windows take advantage of the views from every space and bring light deep into the interior. The warmth and patina of reclaimed wood floors gives the home an instant pedigree.
Only a Camp
The client was very clear that she wanted “only a camp”, which in Maine means a simple, rustic structure in the tradition of the state’s hunting and fishing camps. This contemporary version provides a vaulted great room sandwiched between two porches for gathering, three small bedrooms for sleeping and a loft accessed by ladder for grandchildren. Clerestory windows over bedroom doors combined with fans and vents in the gable ends of the roof keep the place cool on warm summer days.