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Project DetailS
Greater Portland, Maine

Tidehead House

Tidehead HouseTidehead House

A family with a deep love for nature invited us to bring their dream of a home in Maine to life. They envisioned a place where generations of their family could come together, connect with nature, and create lasting memories.

The master plan is a family campus featuring this main house for gathering, three "sibling" cottages, a boathouse, and a dock. These structures were designed to inherit select architectural traits from the DNA of the main house, creating a cohesive environment. Working in collaboration with the civil engineer and landscape architect, we created a composition for each of these structures to live, as a family, independently and also in relation to each other.

We strategically sited the main house parallel to the coastline on an east-west axis to capture both bay views and daylight. The body of the house is a two-story gabled structure. The first floor, like a forest under-story, is mostly transparent, with vertical ash siding and galvanized columns. The second story resembles a tree canopy, clad in eastern white cedar shingles with punched openings. Elongated porches extend outward to connect the single-story garage and pool house. The porch from the garage is glazed, housing the mudroom. This arrangement creates a broad courtyard to the north that welcomes you in, while the south side of the home reaches toward the ocean with two glazed porches that draw living space into the landscape.

Inside, the floor plan was designed to accommodate daily routines for two people or to accommodate larger gatherings with ease. Each space was designed to have its own identity and scale, accommodating multiple activities. Functionally, the design accommodates an outdoor lifestyle by providing out-of-the-way storage for gear and spaces to transition from outdoors to indoors. 

Upon approach to the front door, guests are welcomed into an entry hall with views to the bay, islands, and opposite shore. On the east side of the home, the kitchen is positioned to gather morning light and have a view of the driveway and entry porch. The pantry provides utility space, enabling the kitchen to be a social space. A corner window at a breakfast banquette invites the dynamic color and textures of the landscape into the space. A home office is tucked around the corner from the kitchen providing privacy and maintaining a connection to the daily comings and goings. The dining room is housed in a glazed porch a few steps down from the main living level, which feels at once indoors and outdoors. On the west side of the home, a stone-clad fireplace anchors the living room and a pocketing glass door opens to a screen porch that draws you toward an outdoor room for barbecuing, dining, and sitting by the fire. From the entry hall, a sculptural stair brings you to the second-floor primary suite and guest bedrooms. The pool house provides a space for recreation and exercise in every season, with floor-to-ceiling glass and corner windows that blur the boundary between inside and out.

Our clients' desired a home that blends with the coastal Maine landscape, aging gracefully with minimal maintenance. Landscape Architects Sarah Witte and Keith Smith selected local granite and native plants. We selected natural materials like thermally modified ash siding, local eastern white cedar shingles, and galvanized steel columns that will become more complementary with each other and with the landscape over time. For the interiors, Heidi LaChapelle selected materials, fabrics, and colors that invite connection to the landscape. Wright-Ryan Homes applied a high level of craftsmanship to bring all these elements together.

The building envelope was designed for durability, resilience, and energy efficiency. We integrated passive systems such as a robust stormwater management at the foundation, an air-tight and vapor-open envelope, continuous exterior insulation at the wall assemblies, triple-pane glass, and a vented secondary roof.

The process for realizing this home involved robust collaboration and exchange of ideas, resulting in a unique expression of our clients’ values and a truly special place that embodies their vision and serves a multi-generational gathering place.


Trent Bell Photography


Builder: Wright-Ryan Homes

Interior Designer: Heidi Lachapelle Interiors 

Structural Engineer: Albert Putnam Associates

Landscape Architecture: Sarah Witte, Landscape Architect and Keith Smith Landscape Architecture

Landscape Installation: Stoney Brook Landscape and Masonry

Outdoor Kitchen Masonry: Stoney Brook Landscape and Masonry

Metal Work: Italian Green Design

Cabinetwork: Northe Woodworking

Lighting: AVDG Lighting

Design Story

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