Hilltop | Residential Architecture | Caleb Johnson Studio


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After moving from New York City to Maine in search of a better quality of life, a young family became intrigued by a John Calvin Stevens designed home that was in terrible shape.

Finding new potential in a piece of history.

A team of surveyors discovered it would require at least $250K of work just to make the space safe and functional. Following very open and honest conversations about how much was left over to invest in the renovation and what realistic expectations looked like, a design was created, tailored specifically to their budget and needs.

Preserving quality and character.

The 4,500 sq ft Cape Elizabeth home was a substantial undertaking, but the plans included just two absolute demands: safety throughout, and a 12-foot island. Major renovation overhauls were kept to a minimum, thanks in large part to clients who recognized the beautiful, pre-existing room proportions that grounded the home in iconic symmetry and scale. A focus on reorganizing bathrooms, the location of the master bedroom, and the kitchen wing created a more fluid space that still preserved the original character. Furniture and fixtures added contemporary touches while a mix of custom and purchased millwork kept the budget in check.

Principal Architect: 

Caleb Johnson

Project Architect: 

David Duncan Morris

Design Team: 

Jessica Jolin, Leah Schaffer

General Contractor: 

Woodhull of Maine

Project Manager: 

Peter Floeckher

A lasting connection between family and place.

With an open mind to being challenged and inspired in new ways, more color, pattern, and texture was invited into the design process than originally expected. Rather than the common practice of making decisions based on what others might prefer in case of a future sale, the design became explicitly about individual expression. The result–a thoughtful, well-prioritized home that established a lasting connection between family and place.

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