Phil Kaplan General Contractor

Wes Myer Construction Carpentry

Photo by Phil Kaplan

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Context

Set on a wooded lot, about 300 feet back from a well-traveled road in Falmouth, Maine, the goal was to design a house for a growing family in such a way as to provide plenty of space as well as maximum value. The concept was to emulate the feel of an old rural board-and-batten barn that looked as though it had always been there, but had been recently renovated - with some large glass, modern amenities and an added layer of contemporary architectural character. The owners had recently salvaged some of the remaining timbers of a vintage 1700's barn for reuse in the new space. The owner was to act as general contractor.

Response

The footprint is essentially a square, based on a 4-foot module - very simple, but utilizing maximum spans of standard lumber. There are four levels in all, including a walkout basement and a finished loft that overlooks the main space. All possible volume is used. The original beams and columns have been exposed, revealing the working structure of the new living barn. The large sliding door over the large south glass expanse is made out of just boards, no battens, allowing the light to stream through the batten spaces when closed in summer to give the dramatic feel of the sun entering the shrunken boards of an old barn. Steel cables and oversized double hung windows, as well as the interior volume and a few dramatic structural moves (cantilevers, suspended overhangs) give it a distinctly contemporary flair.

In Town

This house sits within walking distance of many local amenities, including an Elementary School directly across the street and a public bus stop at the end of the block.

Renewable Materials

Many of the materials used in this home -- such as the pine siding and flooring and the "three-cycled" timbers -- are made from recycled content, are environmentally friendly, or come from local sources.

Budget / Economy

The final cost per square foot was well under $100. As a side story, the screened-in porch was a must, but given the other construction costs, so was finding an inexpensive way to build it. The solution: a 12x14-foot space incorporating 13 stock screens from The Home Depot at $26 apiece, instead of custom-built versions that could easily have cost 10 times as much.

Energy Efficient

This house utilizes passive solar, allowing additional heat and encouraging daylight to penetrate deep into the space. The rolling barn door allows the owners to modulate both whenever they like.

Award Winning

This house has been featured in many (over 14 at last count!) publications, articles, and television pieces since it was first constructed in summer 2004.