A small seaside community in Southern Maine of approximately 300 cottages has managed to maintain its quaint feel. Its family-oriented beachside neighborhood is known for year-round surfing, a village store, and inns. Many of the original cottages once modestly built are at limit with their high-exposure sites and increasing climatic demands.
The village community, like many, has implemented rigorous design standards — form-based zoning for future development. Many aspects of our design were restricted by these guidelines, including maximum and minimum dimensions, exterior materials, size of windows, porches, roof pitches, and character elements. As one of the first homes to be built in this community with this new type of zoning it was critical that we work closely with town officials to ensure the home fit within its context.
At the edge of this coastal village, near a woodland edge, was a seasonal log cabin. Its modest form was perched on a significant ledge outcropping. While the sound of crashing waves and seabirds and scent of ocean air were evident, the home was set apart from the coastal village, but not quite part of the forested land either.
With friends in the neighborhood, and an elderly parent nearby, the homeowners decided to make this log cabin situated on a large, unique lot their own. Their hope was to create a home that would accommodate their needs for year-round use, accessible outdoor space, and acknowledgment of the village community and vast ocean beyond.
The homeowners, an art historian/museum curator and a former partner of a global accounting firm, were the perfect marriage of form and function. Their approach to the home, and its process, followed suit. He recognized and implemented the art of crafting a team and setting a high level of expectation of performance. She placed a high value on aesthetic and a deep value in the artisans, including the architectural team and landscape architect. The result was a highly crafted home from the inside out that was received on time and on budget.
The mostly retired couple from the mountain West knew themselves and how they intended to live in their new home well. The open-concept living space that embraced the slot ocean views was made possible by the hardworking utility room that included laundry, utility sink, trash organization, and extensive shoe and coat storage nearest to the garage. The wallpaper and handmade wall sconce selections chosen by Krista Stokes make this room playful and enjoyable for the tasks of daily living. The village restrictions did not allow for an attached garage, but an exterior trellis made an implied sheltered connection.
Books, records, and turntable storage were carefully quantified and accommodated by generous built-ins. The primary living space opens to an exterior patio designed by Soren Deniord Design Studio and constructed by Pinnacle Landscape and Design. The patio sits on the once steep ledge outcropping. Some portions of the ledge gardens were left untouched and access to the lower lawn was made safer with new steps.
The first floor offers a guest suite or long-term master bedroom for the homeowners should they need it. The studio on the second level includes a stone countertop and sink for washing paintbrushes, a skylight for generous ambient light, bookshelves for a significant collection, and display shelves for items of special importance.
The stairwell rises two-and-a-half stories to a roof deck and green roof. Here the views of the ocean are dramatic and winds refreshing. The space is often used for evening drinks and entertaining. The stairwell’s skylight naturally ventilates the house, and the open riser stair aids in this effort and allows light to the lower level stair.
Though the forms are traditional in their shape and meet village requirements, the rigorous details add the modern touch the homeowners desired. The now contextual home embraces the coastal village with its modern edge.
In 2020, this project was recognized by Maine Home+Design magazine in the Professional Landscaping category.
Project Completion Date: 2018
Contractor: Bowley Builders
Landscape Architect: Soren Deniord Design Studio
Landscape Contractor: Pinnacle Landscape & Design
Structural Engineer: Albert Putnam Associates
Interiors Consultant: Krista Stokes
Millwork: Block Brothers