Wright-Ryan Construction General Contractor

Greg Day Lighting Designer

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A venerable brick and slate building located in the historic West End district of Portland, Maine designed by John Calvin Stevens. Originally built in the late 19th century as a single-family house, it suffered a number of alterations over the years including division into two apartments.

In August 2008 Kaplan Thompson Architects were asked to design and help implement a range of alterations that would greatly improve the interior circulation, main bedroom and bathroom, laundry and lighting of the upper apartment

A dark hallway separated living spaces from the kitchen, the main bedroom was accessed by a narrow, steep stair, while the only exterior deck was reached through a closet. Existing bathroom & laundry services were poorly arranged, tired & inefficient. On top of all this, the top floor had poorly installed fiberglass batts in the attic, single glazed windows with ill-fitting storm screens, and exterior brick walls with no insulation at all.


A generous new stair was carefully inserted between the main floors, with minimal disruption to the existing building fabric. Interior circulation was rearranged, providing much improved flow between all the major spaces, including the upgraded exterior roof deck.

On the upper floor a spacious and elegant bedroom suite was created, with a new high cathedral ceiling transforming the whole floor into a spacious and airy retreat. Beautifully crafted built-in cabinets and bathroom fixtures with crisp detailing were tailored to the client's requirements.

Ceilings sweep and curve, gently enclosing rooms while giving spacious and dramatic views. Extensive lighting changes quiet and unify the spaces, while allowing display of artwork, and giving focus to all rooms.


The historic exterior of masonry structure was untouched, except for careful window replacement.

In Town

In the heart of Portland's historic West End, the apartment is centrally located to all the delights of city living.

Renewable Materials

Careful construction allowed the existing wide pine floors to be saved.

All hardwoods were from carefully managed forests, predominantly from eastern forests. The exterior decking is FSC Certified.

The bathroom sinks are custom cast concrete with recycled glass inlay accents.

Energy Efficient

A completely new & continuous thermal envelope was installed to the upper floor, including historically appropriate double-glazed windows.

Careful use of spray foam and dense-packed cellulose insulation sealed up leaky walls and ceilings, adding comfort and sound isolation. The end result is highly effective & very unobtrusive.