Island Escape

 Location: Great Diamond Island, Portland Architect: John Morris Architects Builder: Monaghan Woodworks Construction start: July 2016 Construction complete: May 2017

Location: Great Diamond Island

Located on a 1.6-acre waterfront parcel, this 4,280-square-foot, six-bedroom summer retreat is designed to accommodate both small family gatherings and occasional larger affairs with ease. For Camden architect John Morris, the primary challenge of the project has been to gracefully accommodate a relatively large program within the physical constraints of a modest, triangular site, the widest portion of which is steeply sloped to the water and understandably off-limits.
To fit the cottage comfortably on the site without overwhelming it, and to take best advantage of the ocean and harbor views, Morris designed the structure to straddle a whaleback-shaped ledge parallel to the shore. The overall massing of the building has been broken down into a series of modest-sized interplaying gables, carefully proportioned to integrate with each other, and fenestrated to serve different purposes depending on site orientation. The entrance side, shown here, faces northwest. Its small-to medium-sized windows in a playful rhythm reflect the service and circulation spaces within and help downplay the building’s size.

On the water side, the home is articulated with large, fixed triple-paned glass, providing opportunities to enjoy the setting from almost any vantage point. The bedrooms, each with en suite bathroom, offer ocean views to the south, southeast, and southwest. The owners’ suite, situated over the coffered, 31-by-16-foot living room, features floor-to-ceiling windows, which provide the most striking perspective. Downstairs, the dining room, which can seat up to 20 guests, fosters a feeling of intimacy with a hardwood coffered ceiling, cove lighting, and wall- mounted fixtures.
Since the cottage sits on ledge, precluding any below- grade uses, an accessory structure (shown) provides storage for outdoor furnishings and an electric golf cart for on-island transportation.

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