The New Wave
Twenty-one architecture projects pushing design in Maine
2020 ARCHITECTURE LISTING – COMMERCIAL
Atlantic Brewing Midtown
Atlantic Brewing Midtown is a new commercial venture aimed at capturing local, authentic flavor in a creative and sustainable manner. The structure is at the end of a major retail development on Cottage Street before it transitions to a more industrial zone. One of the project’s goals was to set a new direction for design on the street, perhaps acting as a catalyst for future construction to move beyond collage and pastiche. Drawing on the proportions and rooflines of its neighboring buildings, the new structure is designed to fit within the scale of the streetscape while pushing the boundaries of the architectural design in a forward direction. It is broken up into two pieces, consistent with the scale of the surrounding structures. Drawing on one of the more common street characteristics, full-height glazing at the entry level contin- ues a theme represented in most of the commercial buildings on the street. The two masses are connected in the middle with an entry and stair that takes one up to a mezzanine and roof deck above. Production and bar are on the west side, with the kitchen and dining area to the east. Glazing on two sides of the brew- pub allows views into the space beyond, including the on-site brewing operations. A small courtyard on the west side provides outdoor seating and creates further interaction with Cottage Street, another project goal. Solar panels on the south-facing shed roof offset some of the power usage of the building while a sedum green roof on the other half helps reduce runoff and heat loss. Designed as a prefabricated steel structure, the kit of parts helped reduce on-site construction time and allowed the facility to achieve functionality in time for the summer season.
Architect: Elliott Architects
Project Architect: Corey Papadopoli Builder: Wood Associates Landscape Architect: Perry N. Moore Structural Engineer: Dan McGraw Photographer: Ken Woisard
Location: Bar Harbor
All Saints Multi-Purpose Facility
For years St. John’s Catholic School and All Saints Parish had used the basement of the St. John the Baptist’s Church as both their dining hall and their indoor recreation space. Changes to the local building code and an increase in the use of the space from the wider congregation coalition required that they construct a new building to house these functions. After several years of fundraising, the parish asked Simons Architects to design the multi-purpose facility, which included a meeting room, a commercial kitchen, and a gymnasium that could be used as an elementary school dining hall and performance space, which would also include an Adoration Chapel, a backstage, locker rooms, bathrooms, offices, and storage rooms. The chapel, a special feature of the project, is accessed separately and open 24 hours a day for worship. This project had the unique opportunity to focus on a wide variety of scales, from the careful detailing of the monumental door and repurposed stained-glass shadow boxes in the chapel to the composition and layout of the exterior stone masonry.
The multi-purpose facility, which has recently received an AGC Maine 2020 Build Maine Award, is located on a highly visible street within a historic district in the town of Brunswick. It was designed to be a companion building to the famous St. John the Baptist’s Church on the other side of the central green space and parking lot. The design team completed extensive studies of the exterior to find a balance among scale, budget, and materials through a complex review process. One of the most impressive elements of the building is the exterior stone. Great efforts were made by Ouellet Construction to source the granite from a local quarry as well as find a color range that would complement the historic church. The two buildings frame the All Saints campus and create a welcoming entrance and relationship for the students, teachers, parishioners, and community.
Hospice of Southern Maine, Home Hospice Center
The design of the new Home Hospice Center blends an approachable and home-inspired setting with a therapeutic and professional atmosphere, exemplifying the trust and confidence placed in the Hospice of Southern Maine by families who are seeking quality and compassionate end-of-life care. The design stitches together four gabled peaks to create one unified structure that consolidates staff workspace with community grief counseling services (previously housed in separate locations), allowing for enhanced collaboration while respecting privacy needs. The exterior cladding and colors reflect the warmth and simplicity found in Maine’s coastal traditions, while on the interior, quilts and weavings with inviting colors and textures intend to soothe and comfort. The functional, flexible workspace layouts support Hospice’s collaborative, team-oriented approach to its mission of providing in-home care. Thoughtfully programmed adjacencies accommodate a variety of users: traveling staff who return regularly to discuss and plan patient care, or grieving fami- lies seeking bereavement services, as well as members of the public seeking information about hospice services or community event space. The open-concept design features an abun- dance of natural light and anticipates Hospice’s need to adapt and continue to grow. Sustainability was a key design priority, and on-site solar energy, geothermal wells, and energy-efficient LED lighting was installed throughout the project. As a way to give back to the community and the environment, the building is predicted to be net-positive and will transfer any additional power produced by the solar panels to the Hospice of Southern Maine Gosnell Memorial House. The new facility will serve as home to clinicians and staff for many years to come, balancing the familiar comforts of home while embracing contemporary technologies that support innovative care.
Architect: SMRT Architects & Engineers
Project Team: SMRT Architects & Engineers
Builder: Zachau Construction
Photographer: Trent Bell
The Terramor Lodge is a window-filled timber-and-truss structure with vaulted ceilings, a double-sided stone fireplace, and rustic-style bar. The spacious open plan is designed to accommodate guest check-in, concierge services, and casual drinking and dining. The vaulted ceiling provides a grand scale upon arrival, reminiscent of historic structures common to national parks with a nod to modern design. Thoughtful noise reduction design mutes the echo typically found in large open buildings through the use of acoustic wall treatments that blend with the architecture. What is heard is the soft crackling of the wood-fired oven and mingling glampers’ conversations.
The outdoor seating experience is both romantic and rustic; the screened porch treats the senses with oversized screened windows, allowing the sounds of birds and the feel of breezes to flow through the porch and into the lodge interior. The building hovers above the gently sloping wooded site, creating a feeling of being perched in the trees. Outdoor seating choices wrap the building and float above the landscape. Outdoor lounging includes northwest-facing trellis seating and a screened porch, as well as southeast-facing porches and decks.
Along with the lodge, Design Group Collaborative (DGC) designed the outdoor picnic pavilion, poolside cabana, and bath house. These features support guests’ needs while they plan activities such as hikes in nearby Acadia National Park or boating along the rocky coast. DGC worked closely with corporate upper management to capture the essence of an outdoor resort. The word “Terramor” combines the Latin words for “land” and “love”—these elegant structures embrace their wooded surrounding both inside and out.
Architect: Design Group Collaborative Project
Architect: Michael Wade
Interior Designer: Lynda Casteris-El-Hajj
Landscape Architect: Sam Coplon Builder: E.L. Shea
Photographer: Magnus Stark
Location: Bar Harbor Completed: 2020
Camden-Rockport Middle School
The new Camden/Rockport Middle School (CRMS) opened in September 2020, welcoming MSAD 28’s grade 5 through 8 students. The 83,400-square-foot facility is constructed on the former school site and was carefully choreographed to allow the existing school to remain fully operational during construction. A later decision and community input saved the most historic portion of the original CRMS (the 1925 Mary E. Taylor Building), which will house the district’s central office as well as high school programs.
The new three-story building draws inspiration from the neighborhood scale, building materials, and rooflines; the site’s sloping topography affords a smaller facade that faces the residential street on which the campus is located. The classroom wing was placed facing the river and woods, allowing for direct access to natural learning environments. The single-story elevation at the main entrance is flanked by the cafe- teria—which has expansive views of Mount Battie—and the administrative wing. The building grows a story below and above the main floor toward the back of the site. In this way, the school has a smaller visual impact on the residential neighborhood while still providing ample programming.
The school includes grade-level classrooms, science labs, a gymnasium, a full kitchen and cafeteria, a 220-seat auditorium, and administrative spaces. The building was sited with the goal of maximizing natural light throughout the educational spaces. Visual connection to the local landscape can be seen throughout the building, from the interior color palette and public art installations, to the large nautical chart of Penobscot Bay on the wall of the cafeteria. Wood ceilings in the lobby, cafeteria, and library add additional warmth to these spaces.
Architect: Oak Point Associates
Project Architects: Tyler Barter, Robert C. Tillotson
Builder: Ledgewood Construction
Photographer: Randy Williams
SeaWeed Company approached Caleb Johnson Studio and MAAM in late 2017 with a vision of creating an architecturally significant building to lead the way into Maine’s adult-use marijuana retail future. The primary goal was to create a sophisticated but approachable feel that would generate a broad appeal, from the first-time buyer to the avid consumer. A pride in Maine-made craftsmanship was also integral to reflect the product line of the company brand.
The building is located along the busy Running Hill Road in South Portland and is tucked into a quiet corner of the lot, nestled among tall grasses and overlooking an expansive wetland landscape. The site was carefully designed to respect the landscape, and a selection of natural plants and permeable pavers with a filtration system clean rainwater before it returns to the wetlands. The front of the building is deliberately austere in appearance from the roadside for means of privacy, security, and sound protection, whereas nearly 20-foot-tall full-height windows in the rear capture spectacular views of the wetlands and an abundance of light. As the seasons change, a dynamic shift in the view occurs when the trees at the wetlands’ edge drop their leaves and the full expanse of the landscape is revealed. A large deck allows for outdoor space as part of SeaWeed’s commitment to promote marijuana wellness educa- tion, and to learn and connect, while overlooking nature and wildlife.
The building’s interior retail space features a dramatic full-wood ceiling with an inverted hip design and a polished concrete floor as a backdrop to highlight various products on custom-designed, Maine-made white ash millwork. The crafted qualities of the space are carried through with handmade clay tiles and metalwork designed by interiors architect MAAM of Los Angeles.
The exterior exhibits classic Maine building materials with twenty-first-century detailing and energy efficiency. The exterior wall is double-stud with Maine-harvested white cedar shiplap. The semi-transparent exterior stain was carefully selected to pair with the anodized aluminum curtain wall system as a balance of coordinated neutral tones against the pop of the SeaWeed Company’s glowing purple brand. The building was constructed by the studio’s affiliated construction company, Woodhull Construction.
Architect: Caleb Johnson Studio
Project Team: Caleb Johnson, Patrick Boothe, Lydia Mather
Builder & Millwork: Woodhull of Maine
Interiors/Design Architect: MAAM: Meredith McDaniel, Mariam Mojdehi
Civil Engineer: Terradyn Consultants
Structural Engineer: Structural Integrity Consulting Engineers
Landscape Architect: Soren deNiord Design
Studio Photographer: Trent Bell
Location: South Portland
Little Knickerbocker Lake—the smaller of the two Knickerbocker Lakes, which served as the inspiration for Knickerbocker Group’s name when it was founded in 1978—plays host to Camp Knickerbocker, a 65-acre summer day camp that is an invaluable asset for the Boothbay Region YMCA and community alike. The camp seeks to forge children’s friendships, encourage potential, celebrate achievements, and explore new adventures, with the lakefront providing impactful programs for children to learn to swim, canoe, kayak, and participate in adventure programs.
The waterfront pavilion is an environmentally harmonious, partially subterranean structure that consists of four handicap-accessible bathrooms, four changing rooms, sinks, drinking fountains, benches, and cubbies. The contemporary approach to the design incorporates playful angular partitioning, low flow plumbing fixtures, and mini- malist finishes. Materials such as concrete, powder-coated steel, and low-maintenance trim ensure a simple, clean, and easily maintained structure, while natural materials such as meranti (a hardwood known for its resilience in exterior applications) were selected in an effort to harmonize the manmade structure with the surrounding environment.
The project is the first phase of a master plan that addresses site improvements related to storm water management and erosion control, and is part of a collaboration among Knickerbocker Group, the Boothbay Region YMCA, the Boothbay Region Water District, the town of Boothbay, and the Knox–Lincoln Soil and Water Conservation District. The location, a hill facing the waterfront that had been partially cleared of trees, was ideal for erosion control, which was aided by simple but hardy landscaping for managing water flow. In addition, an extensive green roof of a sedum carpet needs little maintenance and no permanent irrigation system, and also provides changing colors with the seasons, from white flowers in the late spring to vibrant green in the summer to red tones in the fall.
Eager to move into the city, the clients wanted a home with sweeping views of Casco Bay, copious amounts of natural light, and easy access to nearby restaurants and cultural venues. After locating one of the few remaining vacant lots in the area, the clients hired Briburn to design their dream home. Working with the limitations of a small urban infill lot, the city’s strict zoning ordinance and design standards, and a historic neighborhood concerned about losing its identity, Briburn worked to develop a home that blended modern living with traditional aesthetics.
The new four-story, energy-efficient, single- family home includes some unique features: a two-car garage located on the first floor, three bedrooms and a laundry room on the second floor, a large open-concept kitchen/dining/living area on the third, and a fourth floor that includes a mezzanine and a large outdoor rooftop deck for entertaining. Raising the public spaces to the third and fourth floors created an opportunity to capitalize on views of Portland’s harbor and increase natural lighting. A staircase located in the middle of the north side of the home creates a vertical light shaft, bringing natural light into the center of the home. An elevator provides easy access to all floors.
The home is energy efficient, low maintenance, and extremely comfortable. Its walls are filled with dense-packed cellulose and insulated sheathing outside, with triple-glazed windows. The shifted volumes are purposeful, recessing the garage to reduce its visibility from the street, and opening the southwest corner to allow views and natural daylighting from the neighboring homes.
2020 ARCHITECTURE LISTING – RESIDENTIAL
House on an Inlet
This project was the culmination of the clients’ 20+ year plan to spend more time in Maine as they worked toward retirement. Starting in the 1990s, they worked with Cape Cod architect Sheila Narusawa to build a small cottage with a kitchen and sleeping loft on the property. The clients summered there for years and spent time when they could as they primarily lived, worked, and raised their children in Massachusetts. The original intent for the cottage was to eventually become a guesthouse, and for a new house to be built, which would be more comfortable to live in as they were able to commit to more time in Maine.
Narusawa referred the owners to a local architect with an approach and aesthetic similar to hers, and Elliott Architects worked with the team to start implementing phase two. The elemental form, detailing, and materiality of the original cottage became a precedent for the new house. First, the cottage was relocated to an adjacent site, where it was moved from its original post-and-beam foundation to a new concrete foundation. The new house was sited in the cottage’s original location and linked to the guesthouse by a deck that serves all of the spaces at the same elevation. A new screened porch connects both buildings to act as an outdoor common space, and is tied to the public end of the new living and kitchen areas. To the south, on the opposite end of the new house, is the private owners’ suite, which overlooks extensive vegetable and flower gardens. A shared view to the west over the tidal inlet is enticing from any of the spaces on the property.
Ledge’s Edge perches over Casco Bay on a concrete foundation preserved from a house that once occupied the site. Limited to the modest footprint and height of the original building, the new home cleverly uses structure and light to pack an immense amount of living space into a relatively small volume.
To introduce a lofted third floor within the allowed height, the underside of each level was left exposed to serve as the ceiling for the room below it. This unconventional technique granted an additional ten inches of headspace per floor. The warm and bright Douglas fir used on the floors and ceilings also lines many of the interior walls, creating visual continuity and the illusion of a larger space. The vaulted main living areas usher in a refreshing airiness.
Expanses of undivided glass along the home’s water-facing side invite the vastness of the Atlantic inside. Sixteen-foot-wide floor-to- ceiling doors and sidelights slide open to reveal transparent railings and transform interior square footage into simulated deck space. Gazing from the living areas within, the divide between interior and exterior all but vanishes.
A trio of tiered cantilevers afford additional space to feel like you’re floating over the waves. Nestled in each bay is a unique interior experience: a soaking tub that allows for visual and literal immersion in water, a window seat overlooking the ocean, and built-in beds that burrow into the upper eaves, providing a prime spot for stargazing through thoughtfully placed skylights.
The design for Ledge’s Edge considers sustainability as much as it does space. A high-performance envelope and airtight construction insulate the home. Heat recovery ventilation pairs with energy-efficient air source heat pumps to moderate the indoor climate. Much of the home’s remaining energy use is offset by a solar array. With its net-zero capacity, it is the ideal home to combat climate change and provide fossil-free comfort for both the present and future.
The clients of this new home came to Kevin Browne Architecture after living on the other side of the cove for many years. They were seeking a modern, energy-efficient home designed to maximize views of the lake. The property was a good size, but the actual buildable area was very limited due to a 100-foot setback from the water, which is required for new construction, and a setback from the road. Due to the restrictions, the design footprint was not very deep. Because of a slope in the lot toward the water, the architects were able to create three floors of living space and a one-car garage. On the lower level, you can walk out at grade to the water. On the water side, the structure is fairly tall, and was visually broken up with a mix of glass and various siding materials. The mono-pitched roof minimizes this feel from the road/entry side of the house. The inside of the structure has three bedrooms and three-and-a-half bathrooms; each bedroom is en suite. The kitchen, living, and dining areas are open concept, with a two-story wall of glass in the living room that provides views of the lake to all of these areas, including a catwalk on the second floor. The stairs to the second floor and the catwalk were designed to be very open and see-through. This was done by using floating wood stairs with open risers and a cable railing, which breaks up the space between the separate halves of the house. This new loca- tion on Sebago Lake fulfills the clients’ needs for summer lakeside living for many years to come.
Designed for an active retired couple, this modern rural residence is sited in a meadow bounded by rolling woodland. Its overall form is a bent bar with a garage at one end, the owners’ suite at the other, and a recessed entry at its hinge point. Two shed-roof clerestories punctuate the building’s flat roof, lifting a high ceiling over the main living spaces, creating a platform for a future solar array, and moderating the scale of the garage—which accommodates not only two cars, but also the owners’ 30-foot rowing shell.
The building fans out from east to west, maximizing light and views and enclosing a single-floor layout that will remain accessible as the owners age. The garage wing includes an efficient linear mudroom, a laundry, and a guest room, all at a discreet distance from the central living spaces. A full bathroom serving the guest suite obviates the need for a separate powder room.
The plan centers on a combined kitchen, living, and dining space that telescopes toward the south for daylight and meadow views. Expansive corner glazing dissolves the sense of enclosure, while a high, sloping ceiling increases interior volume and balances interior illumination with daylight from a north-facing clerestory window. The owners’ suite, which comprises its own wing, also orients toward large, south-facing windows, with higher windows in the bathroom and dressing area to maintain privacy from the house’s entry yard.
The building shell was prefabricated in GO Logic’s facility in Waldo, delivered to the site in panelized sections, and assembled to create a super-insulated, air-sealed Passive House structure. Finish materials and detailing are consistently minimalist throughout, with wood millwork and trim providing warmth on the interior and cedar-plank siding that will weather over time, further naturalizing the building with its site.
Maine Coastal Pool House
A coastal summer residence with outdoor entertainment and leisure spaces is ideal for any outdoor enthusiast. The family came to TMS Architects with a goal of creating an outdoor entertainment space centered around their pool that everyone in the family could enjoy. The project consisted of removing an outdated pool and underused pool shed to create an outdoor oasis. Multiple sitting spaces were designed and furnished by TMS to fit everyone’s tastes, from poolside full-sun lounges to partial sun entertain- ment under a pergola. The 1000-square-foot pool house creates a backdrop and shelter for the pool area. Close attention was paid to the massing and detailing to complement the main home’s 1920 shingle-style detailing without overshadowing it. Small dormers and muntin windows relate to accents found on the main house and allow natural light and circulation inside the pool house. The pool house contains a covered kitchen prep and eating space, and a two-sided fireplace with an exterior sitting area for mild coastal summer nights. Materials were kept natural and light, and select wood accents, warm gray tones, and brass fixtures add a hint of sophistication to the design. The brick chimneys add a bit of old-world charm and a visually striking vertical contrast. The exterior materials were selected to create a sense of casual comfort while maintaining the needed durability. Contemporary teak furniture and soft linen hues form an air of chic sophistication. Plush cushioned pool loungers with navy accents and woven elements add to the seaside mood in an understated way. The attached pergola helps transition to a light-filtered space in the summer sun; architecturally, it complements the mass of the gambrel and anchors the various sitting spaces underneath the structure. Landscaping was purposely kept minimal and natural for ease of maintenance and to fit well within the existing vernacular. Around the perimeter, planting beds of irregular shapes help define the patio space pavers, which flow into large field stone slabs at a cozy outdoor fireplace sitting area.
Architect: TMS Architects
Project Architect: Robert Carty, Timothy Giguere
Builder: Malmquist Builders
Landscape: Salmon Falls Nursery and Landscaping
Photographer: Rob Karosis
With its sandy shore and tight neighborhood fabric, Higgins Beach is a family-oriented beach town. The clients owned a home at the end of the neighborhood on a dead-end street toward the woods—a rather unique lot for the Higgins Beach area. The house acted mostly as a rental and was dark and poorly laid out. When the couple decided to move to Maine full-time, they asked Whitten Architects to redesign their home for year-round living, with a better layout and more light and air—a combination of beach cottage and Old Port–industrial vibe.
The site-specific design brought the home closer to the front corner of the lot, allowing for a more secluded outdoor space in the back. The house and garage act as a buffer from the street to create a private lawn space. Strict form-based zoning influenced much of the initial massing. The plan utilizes a main house body with a great room wing on the first floor. The great room, with a vaulted double-height ceiling, acts as the major first-floor living space to the south and east. The main bedroom is on the first floor to the southwest, while utility spaces live on the north side. Upstairs is an open loft-like entertainment area with an adjacent bunkroom enclosed with obscured glass, giving the room an open feel while still providing privacy. Two bedrooms and a full bath- room finish out the upper floor. The plan provides a beach house feel with large open spaces and a direct connection to the outdoors while providing cozy and private spaces. The exterior features Boral poly-ash siding for durability and less maintenance. Metal roofing on low, sloped roofs helps pitch snow, while the steeper roofs feature architectural-grade asphalt shingles. Durable interior finishes stand up to the wear and tear of everyday life.
Architect: Whitten Architects
Project Architect: Will Fellis
Landscape Architect: Callahan & LeBleu
Builder: Douston Construction
Project Manager: Crystal Wilson
Photographer: Trent Bell
Location: Higgins Beach
Sebago Red Camp
The site for this project is a tranquil wooded lot along the northeast shore of Sebago Lake. The owners wanted to replace two old, dilapidated cottages—red and white camps—with new structures that deferred to the site’s majestic trees and complemented the natural environment while providing comfortable, calming spaces for family and friends.
The new “red camp” (not red at all, but the name of its prede- cessor stuck) is nestled among mature pines near the shoreline. Great efforts were made to not disturb the trees and to work the plan of the cottage around them. The floor of the cottage is set close to the ground to connect the interior and screened living spaces seamlessly with the site. Large expanses of windows take advantage of the views to the water while allowing daylight to flood in and brighten the boarded interiors. A central living and dining area is warmed by amber pine timbers and boards and a massive three-sided stone fireplace. The space opens to a screened porch that sits almost on the ground, only a few feet from the waves lapping on the lake.
A combination of gabled and flat roofs gives the cottage a familiar and traditional form while keeping its overall size within the limits defined by its predecessor. Two small screened porches are cut into the main gabled form on the second floor, providing a private retreat for each of the guest bedrooms there.
As important as the siting of the cottage was the choice of natural materials and finishes throughout. Locally milled pine boarding covers the interiors, enormous stones anchor the fire- place and chimneys, and exterior cedar boards with a muted, neutral stain work to blend the cottage humbly into its surroundings. Although it sits just along the shoreline, it is barely visible from boats passing by on the water.
Architect: Winkelman Architecture
Project Architects: Eric Sokol, Will Winkelman
Builder: Symonds Builders
Structural Engineer: Albert Putnam Associates
Landscape Architect: Richardson & Associates
Photographer: Jeff Roberts
This summer retreat sits on a quiet cove in Penobscot Bay. By separating the rooms into three separate structures, the architecture shapes a small courtyard, carefully aligned with the meridian to manage the sun. The tool shed defines the south side of the court and screens the parking area. A small sleeping cabin with two bedrooms and a bathroom defines the west side, and a dense copse of trees closes the east side. The main cabin, sited on top of a gentle rise, completes the north side of the court—its long axis exactly perpendicular to the meridian running east to west. The shadows from the window mullions act as a sundial and mark the hours of the day and the seasons.
Following a long-held New England building tradition, the exterior is sided in locally sourced eastern white-cedar shingles. Left unpainted, the shingles weather to a soft silver-gray color, connecting the buildings to the local vernacular. The steep pitch of the roof planes shed water, and the overhangs protect the windows and walls from weather and the direct sun. Rust-red paint connects the design to another New England tradition of using iron oxide barn paint.
One enters the main cabin by foot across the court, walking north and gently uphill from the parking area. The initial approach is directly on the north–south axis of the main cabin, but then shifts to the east to enter under the steep gabled entry porch. Inside, the oversized south-facing windows ensure ample light all day long. All structural rafters are exposed; a couch swings from sailing rigging, and an old refectory table welcomes friends. A screened porch extends the living space to the north through a 12-foot-wide glass overhead door, and to the 270-degree views of the tidal cove.
Architect’s Home + Studio
The Architects’ Home and Studio is a newly built light-filled house tucked into an established neighborhood in Portland. Adjoining a 106-acre wooded sanctuary, the architect-owners sited the house as close to the mature forest as possible, at the ecotone, the lively edge between field and woods; it perches on the precipice of the slope to a tidal river.
The entry approach to a classic gable-form house sets up an expectation of the ordinary. From the street, the house is viewed across the nascent native meadow. The winding reclaimed asphalt drive creates an intended pastoral feel at the suburban site, along with a zinc-coated copper oriel window and bat house above. One bat house at each end recalls classic dovecotes. Each welcomes up to 200 bats, naturally contending with mosquitoes who also like to come out at dusk. The wood entry is detailed in shiplap; white trim and the punctuation of the blue door evokes memories of the owners’ wooden boats.
Inside, the floor-to-ceiling glass wall framing the forest is a surprise. The glass is hung on a steel frame, removing the need for a lowered header or intermediate supports. The living room feels as if it is floating out over the land, like a ship’s bow. The light-filled architecture studio has an independent entrance and occupies the lower level, with windows on three sides and views deep into the forest. The screened porch is built over a rubber roof and finished space, which not only permits more usable space on the lower level, but also allows for a future interior space if ever desired.
The long side of the house faces true south so that the living spaces, which face south and west, receive sunlight all day. A retaining wall anchors the house to the land and creates a sitting wall and space for a future deck.
Northern Point Overlook
Northern Point, which overlooks both inner harbor views and Louds Island, provides the back- drop for this new, year-round shingle-style cottage with transitional details throughout. A tired cottage once stood in this extremely tight site, with exten-sive ledge, water runoff issues, and site constraints—including neighboring easements and square footage limitations. The fireplace and chimney were salvaged and served as a focal point to erect the new cottage design around. Phelps Architects maximized the incredible views, used the available square footage and volume, and created privacy from the neighbor- ing cottage, all through an energy-efficient design that is reflected in a compact yet dramatic design worthy of its location.
Shingle-style influences can be found in the feature octagonal stair tower with a custom cascad- ing three-story spiral stair, which was built internally once the tower exterior was complete with copper bell roof. The stairs spiral down unsupported, past expansive windows that allow views to the harbor and filtered light into the adjacent living space. Energy-efficient heat pumps, high-velocity air systems, spray insulation, and smart electrical and mechan- ical systems were implemented to provide comfort, technology, and efficiency year-round. Every inch of the half-acre site was thought through to maxi- mize the lot and building site, to allow for privacy, natural vegetation, hardscaping, an outdoor grill- ing area, parking, walking paths, a sitting terrace, a perennial pond, and a gazebo and kayak launch area. The building also takes advantage of the site terrain through a walk-out family room that required extensive chiseling of the ledge and waterproofing to incorporate. Balconies, wrap porches, and granite terraces provide opportunities to sit and marvel at the harbor boating activities and wildlife—including a moose that recently swam across the harbor.
Paradise Road is located on a ridge where the grade quickly drops off on either side and offers incredible views of Mount Washington to the west, and Mount Abram and the surrounding hillscape to the east. The client wanted views in both directions from the owner’s bedroom and main living spaces while maintaining a sense of privacy from the road.
The house was designed at a scale where it feels comfortable and cozy as a retreat for one, but is also functional and spacious enough to host large groups for ski trips and summer hikes. With a footprint of just over 900 square feet, the house is inviting as you approach from the driveway, and is situated to hide 2700 square feet of finished space with a capacity to comfortably sleep 18 people.
The steeply sloping site allowed the efficiently programmed building to nestle into the hillside, and for the design to be separated vertically. The lower level is a walk-out guest floor with two large built-in bunkrooms, while the top floor contains an owners’ suite and guest bedroom and bathroom. The main level splits the lower and top floors, which contain all shared living spaces—regardless of whether there are two or 12 people in the house, privacy and space are easy to come by.
With minimal interior walls, the main focus of the living space became the staircase. The stairs are the first thing you see upon entering the home and are the focal point of all three levels. Waterfall white oak treads give a sense of the floor wrapping up and over the risers, while light metal surrounds at the edge provide an elegant railing solution that adds a sculptural element.
The original farmhouse was lost long ago, leaving the detached cow barn and its stories of hardships and triumphs to inspire the new home for this oceanfront location. The use of the familiar farmhouse vernacular interpreted with modern proportions and thoughtful relationships allow a four-bedroom home to settle calmly into the landscape. The original barn was repositioned on the site to define exterior spaces and to balance building masses. The arrangement of interior rooms considers the sun-path, the views, and the visitors’ approach to the house. Greeted by the strength and warmth of natural materials, you are invited to experience the unfolding of intimate spaces into a larger, sun-and view-filled main living space, which can accommodate breakfast on the kitchen island or large celebrations where family and guests can effortlessly flow between inside and outside spaces. The exterior echoes the interior with choices of familiar materials, shapes, and colors. The play on the scale of the windows and interior proportions gives the home a brighter and more modern feel while still having a connection to the history of what once was.
Working collaboratively with interior designer Catherine King, the project reflects the careful integration of architectural and interior design. Catherine quickly understood the client’s interests in furniture, space, and finish. Her interpretation of the client’s needs and the architectural direction can be seen in her selection of color, fixtures, and finishes. The hardscape was designed by Paul Attardo and installed with great care by Peter Lewis and his team. Lewis brought his intuitive sense for planting to effortlessly connect the house to the land- scape and the ground plain. The entire effort was orchestrated by the contractor, Michael Russo. His sense of craftsmanship reveals itself at all levels of detail.
Woods and Water
This 750-square-foot writer’s studio is divided into two distinct halves, sharing one roof and woven together by 1,000 square feet of white cedar decking. Sitting on a bluff of spruce and pine overlooking the sea, the structure’s minimalist form and material palette create a space for stillness, contemplation, and inspiration. Vertically installed cedar boards line the monolithic western face and are interrupted only by a framed entry view of the horizon. The elevation hugs the ground, sitting comfortably in the company of boulders. In contrast, the eastern side of the studio is raised high above grade, opening wide to the ocean and sky, with large sliding doors and generous window glazing. The northern half contains a spacious writing studio; the southern half contains sleeping and bathing spaces. The outdoor passageway around and between the two structures celebrates the unique beauty of the site, with places to retreat and places to expand among tree limbs and blue above.
The studio was designed to be carbon conscious and to meet high standards of energy efficiency. The wood-framed building includes materials that were carefully selected for durability, beauty, and carbon impact. The siding, decking, and pergola framing were constructed from locally sawn white cedar. Cabinetry, flooring, and wall accents were made of rift-sawn white oak. Other materials include dense-pack cellulose for insulation and self-adhering smart membranes for air sealing.