Black Brothers Builders, Inc. Builder

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An old, decrepit cottage sat within 50 feet of the water of False Whitehead Harbor in Spruce Head, Maine, just begging to be torn down, as it was already well on its way. A new owner, who spent much time nearby as a youth had a passion for contemporary architecture, but felt a need to respect the context is some fashion. A patient timeline for construction would aid in its goals to meet a modest budget.


A small, 1200 sf cottage, striking and affordable, was designed, just partially within the shorefront setback. With a vigorous collaboration and a shared vision with an impassioned builder and owner, simple construction elements were combined with creative use of stock materials to create a superinsulated structure that was constructed for about $125/sf. Although clearly distinct, its "chattered" shingles, exposed fir joists, painted pine, and a modest scale help it to be a friendly neighbor.

Renewable Materials

Many of the materials used in this home are made from recycled content, are environmentally friendly or come from local sources.

Budget / Economy

This home was constructed for about $125, with the understanding from the owner that there would be an extended construction timeline.

Sustainable Landscape

The same virtual footprint from the original home was used, including utilizing a similar pier foundation to allow the natural drainage patterns to remain.

Energy Efficient

The house is constructed with a superinsulated envelope, including an additional R-10 on the underside of the floor framing. Dense=packed cellulose insulation and careful air-sealing ensures that the home is constructed to be air-tight.

Renewable Power

The south-facing roof is constructed at a 60-degree angle - the ideal slope for solar hot water collectors to generate the necessary heat in winter.