Projects / New Homes      Harpswell, Maine

Plus Sapins

Press

  • Boston Globe Magazine

Project Team

Context

Two sisters separated by over a thousand miles wanted to create a place to bring their families together on a piece of family land in Harpswell, Maine. The home needed two separate master suites and plenty of space for kids and friends.

As a home for many people, there should be spaces for interaction and play and quiet spaces for retreat and reflection. It should make the most of its pristine location and be as close to the water as possible. A steep slope, a restrictive setback, the desire to keep the primary living spaces on a single floor, and a modest budget increased the challenge.

Response

The home spreads along a narrow gap on a sloping site, maximizing every room’s connection to the water. The two families are connected visually through one open great room, but private spaces for each family are set apart from each other. The shared spaces reach their high point in an oversized screened porch. In order to create spaces for together time and for private time, a plan unfolded where all of the common spaces spread out along the waterside. A open view from the living room at one end, through the dining room and kitchen, ends at an oversized screen porch at the other end, connected by a large, high-performance hydraulic awning window at the pass-through bar. While there is a visual connection, the distance allows for independent conversations and activities with little interference.

The building is capable of achieving net zero energy, including a super-insulated, extremely carefully built enclosure and high-performance, triple-glazed ventilating windows. Only two roof planes cover the house for simplicity and durability, with the primary slope facing south. The dramatic “Stairway to Heaven,” as they call it, flows all the way up to the top floor, and terminates in a perfect loft hideaway for the kids.

Specs

  • Year Completed

  • Cost

    $$$$$$
  • Gross Floor Area

    2400 sq ft
  • Beds

    4
  • Baths

    3
  • Partners

    Casco Bay Engineering
    Black Bros. Builders

Sustainability Achievements

Site

  • Sustainable landscape
  • Native plantings
  • Resilient landscape design

Materials

  • Uses recycled or reclaimed materials
  • Uses locally-sourced materials
  • Designed for durability
  • Designed for low maintenance

Wellness

  • Optimized for daylighting
  • Fresh air ventilation system for indoor air quality
  • Visual connection to the outdoors
  • Low-VOC finishes

Water

  • Low-flow fixtures
  • Landscaping requires little water

Energy

  • Fossil fuel-free building
  • Uses passive design strategies
  • R-6 windows
  • R-40 walls
  • R-60 roof
  • R-20 slab
  • Net zero ready
  • Fresh air ventilation system with heat recovery
  • Super-insulated
  • Triple-glazed windows
  • High Quality Air-tight construction: 0.6 ACH50