This 1,100 square foot house is located in York, ME, on a long-held family plot historically used as farmland. The home is extremely quiet inside, owing to the ample thermal and sound insulation used. There was a conscious effort to limit square footage, both as a control on cost and on future energy use, without compromising the quality of the first floor public spaces (Living, Dining, Kitchen). A simple footprint was chosen to limit costs. A louvered solar shade above the southwest corner windows, built economically from leftover siding and trim material, adds visual texture; functionally, the shade serves to protect the insulated monolithic concrete slab against undesirable summer heat gain while allowing winter rays to penetrate deeply into the space.
The house is heated solely by electricity, via mini-split heat pumps powered by a PV array, but the owner reports that even on cold winter days, no artificial heating is necessary when the sun is shining. Mechanical ventilation, required as a result of the tight envelope, uses an HRV to retain heat otherwise lost to the outside. The thick, polished concrete slab that helps to regulate heat in this home also serves as a beautiful, cost-effective finish floor for the main level. Locally sourced Hemlock posts and beams provide affordable structural support to the second floor, as well as a touch of natural warmth to interior spaces. An open-stringer stair of hemlock, oak, and steel allows light, air from the mini split, and views in the main living area to flow freely, enhancing the openness of the space, while its details add richness to the otherwise relatively unembellished design of the home.
Roof overhangs were eliminated, which saved expense and brought a crisp, modern appearance to a traditional form, allowing for very careful exterior sealing of roof-to-wall intersections, as reflected in our excellent blower door numbers . In lieu of roof overhangs, low pitched, steel roofed canopies provide cover to areas that require it, creating useful outdoor space and breaking up the simple form of the house. The siding and trim are made from inexpensive but long-lasting Maine-milled White Cedar, installed in a reverse board and batten style which allows drainage and airflow behind the boards to extend their life. The siding was also left unfinished to weather to a silver grey, reducing cost, ecological footprint, and the need for future maintenance that paint or solid stain would incur. Exterior and interior surfaces (unfinished wood, galvanized steel, unfinished concrete) were selected to be durable and low-maintenance, minimizing the long term operating costs and future ecological impact of the house.
- Builder: Caleb Johnson Architects + Builders
- Engineering: Structural Integrity
- Energy Modeling/HERS Rating: Horizon Residential Energy Services
- Rough and Finish Carpentry: John Haskell, Company 19
- HVAC: Haley’s Metal
- Electrical: Marcus Jolin, MJ Electric
- Landscape/garden: by client (Molly Lavecchia).
- Windows: Kensington (Pinnacle Window Solutions), Marvin Integrity