This open, environmentally-friendly home started as a small house in disrepair near Willard Square in South Portland. The owners decided to take the house down to the studs and build it back with a strong focus on producing budget-conscious, high-end design.
Removing a pair of chimneys and relocating a staircase into a new two-story addition reshaped the home. The addition houses a mudroom, powder room, mechanical room, and laundry room. The housing envelope is remarkably tight, and an HRV (heat recovery ventilator) prevents that efficiency from becoming a health liability by exchanging a third of the air in the house every hour. The house is heated almost exclusively with a Rais wood stove, which rotates 360 degrees so heat can be directed toward any part of the ground floor. A gas furnace supplies hot water and additional heat.
Locally sourced materials, including old wooden doors from Portland Architectural Salvage, create texture and depth. To define the downstairs central space, bearing walls were replaced with heavy wooden beams supported by massive wooden columns and secured with steel brackets.
The homeowners enjoy plenty of natural light, thanks to the large windows and the glass doors that open onto defined outdoor spaces like the breakfast patio, front porch, and back deck. To create the kitchen interior, the firm collaborated with cabinetmaker Derek Preble of Biddeford to build slab-door cabinets with pulls fabricated by slicing a steel pipe. The circular bamboo pendant light, whose repeating patterns are inspired by the shape of ice crystals and coral, hangs over a round walnut table made by Gabriel K. Sutton of Biddeford.
The office is a long, narrow space with a white pine built-in desk running along one wall and built-in storage running along the other. There is a corner closet to accommodate the client’s guitar collection and the office walls are finished in pickled pine. Pickled pine and built-in storage were also used for the mudroom, which has a bench, cubbies, coat closet, and wall hooks. To lighten the expense, finish carpenter Ed Lavertu of Lavertu Construction in Portland assembled these built-ins on-site.
The upstairs existing roofline was kept, while vaulting the bedroom ceilings and tucking closets and storage into several spots below the eaves. The existing rake and eave details were preserved, as were some of the original clapboards. The roof was replaced with a snapback metal roof. The original porch was opened up and floored with unfinished eastern white cedar.