A Writer’s Retreat
DRAWING BOARD-Nov/Dec 2011
How does a couple who splits their time among three continents unwind and shake off the jet lag? Five years ago, a writer from Maine and her Australian husband hired A4 Architects to design a primary home base for them on a waterfront lot on Seal Cove. There was a kitchenless one-room cabin already on-site. Since the home was several years off, A4 was asked to add a bedroom suite to the drab little cabin so the owners could begin to enjoy the property.
After three summers in the little cottage, the owners found that they really enjoyed the charm and intimacy of the 500-square-foot abode. However, without space for guests and no kitchen, they yearned to be able to share this special place more easily with close friends and family. Again they called on Kay Stevens Rosa and Augusto Rosa of A4 Architects, this time to expand the cottage just enough to be a livable home without sacrificing its allure. Their expanded needs included a small kitchen, a proper dining area, comfortable living space, a place to write, a guest bedroom, a bunkroom, and inconspicuous vehicle/boat storage.
The writer’s retreat is meant to be an intimate enough place to allow a busy couple a quiet reprieve from their hectic life of work and travel and just large enough to be livable for more than a few days at a time, and for more than two people without compromising charm and intimacy. Important concepts included spaces to host a family group separate from the owners’ suite (these are located above the kitchen/dining area), a living area that feels indoor/outdoor and spacious, a proper entry, a tranquil and inspiring writing space, a bathtub with a view, a hidden garage for boat storage, and a screened space for summer-night parties and days when the wind or fog make waterside porch sitting uncomfortable. Deep, protective roof overhangs, eyebrow windows, and a variety of outdoor spaces were “must haves.” Visually, the couple wants the structure to be alluring but unassuming—like the Maine they love.