Private Residence, Deer Isle

Sited in an extremely fragile Downeast coastal ecology, one of the critical design goals of this island house was to insert it into the forest with minimal removal of trees and disruption of the natural landscape. In addition, every effort was made to prevent future blow down of remaining trees typical on new house sites in the region as a result of the initial clearing.

Working closely with a consulting forester, the structure was designed to be as tall as possible with severe overhangs -allowing it to act as a wind spoiler that helps mitigate increased post construction wind loads on the surrounding trees. The building is set on wood poles and concrete piers pinned to ledge to eliminate the need for excavation equipment and lessen the damage to shallow root systems. Prefabricated stress skin panels and post and beam framing are also utilized allowing the house’s shell to be erected with the least amount of on-site construction time possible.

The house form takes on a modified cruciform plan inspired by the owner’s fascination with the Gamble House by Green and Green Architects. A three story central spine accommodates the entrance and kitchen on the first level, an office on the second level, and a belvedere and guest bath on the third level. Flanking the spine on the east side is a two story wing housing a bedroom, bath, dressing area, and porch on each floor. On the west side of the spine is a two story Great Room and screened porch. Dramatically cantilevered decks, thrusting seaward, create a oneness with the surrounding native spruce trees, just inches away from railings and roof overhangs.

The exterior composition of materials, textures, and color are intended to create a sympathetic marriage between the house and the surrounding landscape. The interior attempts to blend the warmth of natural wood and native stone with lofty, open spaces and ample natural light.