Maine Home + Design: The Best Laid Plans

Maine Home and Design Magazine

FEATURE – December 2012
Edited by Susan Grisanti
The inspired—and often unexpected—results when architects create. We present to you 21 stories on style, site, and sustainability.

Wright-Ryan Homes & Richard Renner Architects
Seacoast Retreat, Southern Maine A contemporary, energy-efficient beach house.

Located on the southern Maine coast, this 2,900-square-foot energy-efficient home complements its oceanside setting. The curve of the roof, the gentle arc of the kitchen island, and the undulating steel railings were inspired by the patterns of the coast, sand, and water—and by the gently curved shape of the owner’s favorite boatbuilding tool: the clinching iron. The landscaping and native plantings blend in with the surrounding natural beachfront vegetation, and the nestled house is unobtrusive when seen from one of the state’s most popular beaches.

Still, the architects faced several challenges. Permitting requirements and a desire to preserve neighbors’ views left a very tight building envelope for the home. The clients wanted all the rooms to have dramatic views of the beach and ocean, but the size and location of windows had to be carefully balanced with privacy needs and energy efficiency.

The homeowners asked for a modern home that did not feel unwelcoming and cold. The entry sequence gently draws visitors into the building, and once inside, views to the beach and ocean unfold as one moves into the living areas. Carefully detailed cabinetry and natural-wood finishes in the open kitchen warm the space. Carefully integrated with the fireplace, similar cabinets in the living room provide seating, storage, and display space. When not in use, the television above the fireplace disappears behind sliding doors displaying art. Throughout the house, neutral-colored walls provide a perfect backdrop for the owners’ extensive art collection.

With iconic views of the coastline from every room, this house is a tranquil retreat from the hectic beach traffic in the summer and the wind, cold, and snow during the winter.

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