With panoramic views of the surrounding marsh, this site was mostly free of trees, had a gradual grassy slope to it, and was a part of a small subdivision in the coastal haven of Cape Elizabeth.
Our clients—transplants from Texas—approached us looking for a crisp, contemporary, and energy-efficient home that felt innovative, yet simple. They dreamt of a design loosely based on a farmhouse with a modern sensibility.
Our greatest goal throughout this project was to blur the lines between the outside and inside spaces, the home, and its site. The result is a series of white clapboard gable forms that start small at the garage end of the house and grow larger toward the main part of the house. The two main house gable forms are identical in size and bisected by a flat-roofed “transept” form which is cladded in stained cedar T&G siding to contrast the other forms of the house. Simple pitched roofs and the wide spacing of the clapboards enhance the contemporary feeling present throughout the home. The windows were minimal, with a higher U-value for better efficiency, and lower maintenance. We also paid special attention to the building’s thermal envelope to include high R-value insulation and to minimize thermal bridging.
The interior is clean and simple with drywall returns at the window and door openings and discreet wood window sills in lieu of other alternatives that might’ve taken away from the natural beauty in the distance. High interior ceilings, large windows, and sliding doors further emphasize the setting and eliminate barriers between indoor and outdoor living, so that the patios and terraces are an extension of the indoor living space. From most vantage points of the open first floor, you can spot a floating steel and wood stairway, a focal point in our design. At the top of the stairs is a steel and wood catwalk that bridges the interior space of the two main gable forms.
The epitome of contemporary openness, this energy-efficient Cape Elizabeth home is minimalist in style and maximalist in views.