Projects / New Homes      Falmouth, Maine

Blackwood House

Press

  • Maine Home + Design

Project Team

Context

The “prospect and refuge” theory explores the human desire to have opportunity before them (Prospect) while also being safe (Refuge). What does a house look and feel like that follows this theory? With a beautiful natural site to build on, our client wanted a low maintenance structure that would age into the forest. Every material should be solid, authentic, and develop a rich patina. As for the interior, the instruction was that nothing should be coded. What you see is what it is.

Response

Unlike contemporary modern spaces that are cold and sterile, this house is modern and sleek yet roughhewn. With fine woodworking alongside the clean lines of the interior structure, raw and cooked come together in harmony. Taking into consideration the beauty of the surrounding natural forest, this design places focus on exposed materials in their most basic form. Timber beams throughout the living areas bring the woods inside and provide structure to the rooms. Hidden storage and flowing spaces combine with large, strategically placed windows to allow the forest and natural light to take center stage. With triple glazed windows and careful construction, the interior retains a steady temperature. Photovoltaic panels on the roof of the carport and renewable energy systems employed throughout the house make it net zero.

The building shape itself is relatively simple, but the combination of weathering steel, fiber cement board (Viroc), and black stained cedar (Maibec) on the exterior create a complex textile pattern. These exterior finishes show wear with age while effectively shielding the house from the elements. The open carport kept the design within budget and highlighted the timber framing expertise of the builder. The balcony on the second floor encapsulates the theory we started from – you can sit outside, up in the trees, gazing out into the opportunity the forest holds, yet you are protected.

Specs

  • Year Completed

  • Cost

    $$$$$$$
  • Gross Floor Area

    2775 sq ft
  • Beds

    3
  • Baths

    2.5
  • Partners

    Benjamin & Company
    M2 Structural Engineering

Sustainability Achievements

Site

  • Native plantings

Materials

  • Uses locally-sourced materials
  • Designed for durability
  • Designed for low maintenance
  • Low global warming potential insulation

Wellness

  • Optimized for daylighting
  • Fresh air ventilation system for indoor air quality
  • Visual connection to the outdoors
  • Low-VOC finishes
  • Formaldehyde-free building
  • Contains no EPA chemicals of concern

Water

  • Low-flow fixtures
  • Heat pump water heater
  • Designed to maintain natural drainage patterns
  • Landscaping requires little water

Energy

  • Fossil fuel-free building
  • Uses renewable energy systems
  • Uses passive design strategies
  • Net zero
  • Has an integrated energy monitoring system
  • Fresh air ventilation system with heat recovery
  • Super-insulated
  • Triple-glazed windows
  • Airtight construction
  • Predicted EUI: 20
  • Actual EUI Predicted % Reduction from national average EUI: 60
  • Windows R-value: 6
  • Walls R-value: 40
  • Roof R-value: 50
  • Slab R-value: 16
  • ACH50: 0.3