Made for Music




A house on Blue Hill Bay designed for two musicians and their family

Architect: Donald C. Mallow
Location: Blue Hill, Square Footage: 2,700
Construction start date: Spring 2010, Estimated construction completion date: Spring 2011


This house on the shore of Blue Hill Bay is being designed for two musicians—a pianist and a violinist—and their three young children. Challenges include an east-facing site, a 75-foot required shoreland setback, three existing spreading oaks, and budgetary concerns. These factors have determined the location, orientation, and construction sequence. Mallow2

Between the 75-foot setback line and the line of the three oaks to be preserved, a wedge of space proves the optimum location for the home. Though a southern orientation is desirable, a nearby tree line makes it visually limiting, as does a neighboring house on an adjoining property. As a result, orienting the home east, toward the bay, is the most compelling choice. Broad roof overhangs (44 inches at the first floor, 32 inches at the second floor) will shield glass areas from much of the summer sun while admitting low-angle winter sun. In the summer, oaks will shelter west walls from low late-day sun.

The house has been designed around a two-story core building to be constructed first. As circumstances permit, the surrounding one-story elements, living/music room, screened porch and terrace, and the garage will be added until the building takes its final intended form; the lower elements with their wide continuous overhanging roofs will tie the building to the site and the horizontal line of the bay.

Inside the house, spaces have ample cross-ventilation and views of the bay. The living room/music room will have exposed beams and sloping wood ceilings that are moderately high for acoustic purposes.Mallow3

Donald C. Mallow, Architect:, 201-947-1510

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