The house shell is modular, the roof panelized, and the garage stick-built. All come together in this single-floor living space with ample light and light airy spaces with a high, open ceiling.
The owners report that not a day goes by that someone doesn’t stop to gawk about how well their house fits in, or remind them of their family cottage, a great compliment to our design. This is especially wonderful considering that it contains 4 stories of living space including a finished basement, has an efficient electric heat pump system for heating and cooling, is fully insulated to modern codes, meets all of the city’s stormwater requirements to keep Willard Beach clean, didn’t block neighbor’s views, contains a glass filled corner that feels like a solarium inside, and greets the street with a porch where interaction among neighbors is the norm.
A new home and studio for the Architects is comprised of their 1,750-square-foot house and an independent, 1,000-square-foot architectural studio. Sited on a previously undeveloped parcel of land in a Portland neighborhood, the challenge was to both fit the new structure into the rhythm of the neighborhood, and yet create the least disruption of the natural habitat.
Without question, the site itself informed the design of the building. We located the house at the ecotone – perching it on an overlook between a native wildflower meadow that provides relief from the bustle of the street and nestled up to the peacefulness of over a hundred acres of sanctuary land.
Positioning the house on the slope allowed for an embedded full-height lower level in the hillside. By building upward instead of outward, the house touches the land lightly, also reducing maintenance and heating costs.
The solar orientation further informed the house’s alignment, looking toward the narrow view of the Fore River tributary. The long side of the house faces true south so that the living spaces on the south and west receive sunlight all day and benefit from passive heat gain all winter. One desire was to use some design principles of Vastu Shastra, a traditional Indian system of architecture. As a result, the front door faces east where the rising sun shines into the house to start the day.
The mother trees to the south provide wonderful comfort and summer shade for the long wall of full-height glass, without the need for solar shades. Shares in a solar farm offset the electrical use to approach net-zero.
Adaptability is key for aging in place: The main stair is wider to allow either adding a chair lift, but if we decide on one-floor living, the screen porch can be readily converted to a primary bedroom.
The architecture studio is on the lower level. With one large space and services tucked along the perimeter, the lower level is also adaptable to future uses: architecture studio, apartment, or even a place for the ping-pong table. It has two entrances, one shared and one independent entrance.
The main approach has a gabled roof, punctuated windows, and nautically evoked wood detailing. The entry mudroom opens up into a large room with floor-to-ceiling glass framing the forest beyond. The living room floats out over the land, like a ship’s bow, making one feel as if being transported via ferry to the islands, leaving the city behind at your back. The room is bathed in sunlight that plays on the off-white walls, with pops of colorful art and objects.
The multifunctioning spaces: living, dining, kitchen all reside in one large volume. The washer and dryer are tucked under a built-in sideboard. With a small sink, the sideboard serves as a bar, serving counter, flower-arranging area, and extra pantry storage, as well as a laundry.
The much-awaited restoration of the Bucknam Tavern was complete after three years of construction. Archaeological work dated the structure to 1740 – 1760, one of Falmouth’s earliest remaining houses. The house has been in the same family since the early 1900’s when a Danish Wheelwright brought his young family to the U.S. to seek a better opportunity in America.
The great-granddaughter of the original owner and her husband consulted Barba + Wheelock Architecture, who compared restoration costs to new construction and were pleased to learn that restoration would be less costly and to preserve not only the beloved homestead, but cherished memories from visits with her grandparents over many years. The Owner opted to not only restore the main house, but to reconstruct the 1-1/2 story El, a feature that had been present in their memory, with a surviving granite foundation.
B+W brought in Restoration Resources of Alna, Maine who contributed a wealth of experience in house restoration, carpentry and craftsmanship.
Together the team worked with the Owners throughout the Covid pandemic to bring the project to fruition.
The sight of this once graying and decaying structure on Middle Road, now brightly re-splendid, has generated much enthusiasm amongst old house lovers. Now fully restored and newly insulated, operating with all new systems, this historic homestead is poised to survive well into the future. It stands as a symbol of resurgence and celebrates both the power of a family’s perseverance and memory and is fully embraced by the community for its longstanding place in Falmouth history.
This project received a Greater Portland Landmarks Rehabilitation Project Preservation Award in 2023.
Originally constructed in 1949, Mrs. Gerry’s parents built this house for their young family as a modest, one-story, hipped roof structure with walk-out basement. The property has been a beloved place for family gatherings for over 50 years. The Gerrys wanted to adapt the house to meet the needs of a growing, multi-generational family, creating spaces that allow one to savor the dramatic water views. The challenge was to carefully apply additions that allowed the residence to fit more appropriately with varied vernacular context.
The land drops dramatically from the road to the water’s edge creating two distinctly different sides to the house. By establishing a low eave height and adding a front porch, the public roadside view retains the welcoming and quaint small-scale form of the original house. The waterside reveals all three floors and creates a memorable landmark when viewed from the Harraseeket River.
There are four additions to the first and lower levels and a full second floor was added. These additions expand the living room, reorganize and add bedrooms, move the kitchen and dining room locations, add porches and decks, and retain the hearth at the heart of the house.
This property is situated on freshwater McCurdy Pond and includes a complex of summer cottages that date to the 1930s. Over the past thirty years, the owner developed this compound, adding a salvaged 19th century carriage barn, converting a boathouse, and enlarging the original teahouse. The main house, presented here, is the newest in the collection and allows for year-round living. The house is a tripartite design with a central block and flanking wings. The owners love of the Craik-Patton House of 1834 in Charleston, West Virginia inspired the design.
I was able, first-hand, to observe Nancy and Cynthia’s collaborative style as we worked together to turn my rough ideas into a masterpiece. They are good with deadlines, thorough with details, cooperative with client ideas and deliver award-winning results.
– The Very Rev’d Stephen W. Foote, Retired Dean of St. Luke’s Cathedral
The program includes a two-story central hall with living, dining and kitchen, and a guest loft above. Flanking this central hall are two smaller wings, each with bedroom and bath. The wings have dramatically differing character, reflecting the wishes and design philosophies of the couple; one is modern and glass filled, while the other is traditional. Each of the main architectural elements is situated upon one of the two main axes, forming a cross. The classically proportioned form of the exterior collects the distinct objectives of the two owners, celebrating them carefully at each gable end. The modern gable of the west wing is fully glazed from base through pediment; the traditional gable of the east wing presents a Palladian window and solid pediment; the gable at the south-facing kitchen has a traditional base, culminating in a fully glazed pediment; finally, the formal entrance facade is dominated by a Vitruvian-proportion colonnade with 24-inch diameter Tuscan order columns.