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Exquisite barn house retreat on Great Cranberry Island, Maine

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This stunning barn house retreat was designed by Albert, Righter & Tittmann Architects, located on Great Cranberry Island, an island in Cranberry Isles, Maine. The homeowner had fond childhood memories of spending summer holidays on this island with her parents and three siblings. Her parents later acquired 50 acres on the island, gifting each of their four children a parcel of land. There are only 40 year-round residents, while some 300 come to enjoy this island during the warm summer months.

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Residing in the suburbs of Seattle full-time, the homeowner and her late husband had discussed the idea of constructing a home on this land. Their idea was to move an old barn onto this piece of property in which to construct their home. After her husband had passed, the homeowner decided there was no time like the present. To help construct this barn house, the homeowner hired Boston-based Albert, Righter & Tittmann Architects. As she had a childhood connection with one of the architects whose family had also vacationed on this island.

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The owner’s request was that the design of the home needed to be centered around a rescued barn with hand-hewn wood from the pre-sawmill days. In all, three old barns were rescued on properties throughout Massachusetts and dismantled. One included a barn that once belonged to American essayist Henry David Thoreau. The lumber was loaded onto a barge and shipped to the island. All three barns were assembled into one brand new barn with pegged mortise-and-tenon joints. The entire process took roughly five days to complete.

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From the exterior facade, the home appears to be a newly constructed cottage, shingled in red cedar. The barn is the main living space, featuring exposed wood and beams, adding a cozy warmth. The living room features built-in, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves with a library ladder. There are two built-in benches to provide a cozy reading nook. The kitchen was constructed off the barn in the shape of a horseshoe, with windows on three sides to give it luminosity.

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Yarmouth-based Leandra Fremont-Smith Interiors came into the project 13 years later to renovate the interiors. The goal was to infuse a more grown-up aesthetic now that the children are older. The designer gave the home a summer cottage feel, with a hint of sophistication that would evolve with time. The homeowner wished to enhance the barn with luminosity, while creating more defined spaces. To brighten the space, the wood floors and trim were painted in a shade of linen white.

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The open plan was given definition through furniture groupings to create distinct spaces. There is now a dining area with a separate seating for entertaining, as well as a living room. Guests can enjoy cocktails, then flow to the dining table to enjoy dinner. After dinner they can enjoy the living room fireplace, play games or convene outside to the fireplace porch for s’mores. An outdoor dining area was also added to the porch.

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This home is still enjoyed by the homeowner and her children that are now in their young twenties. They spend summers enjoying family meals and sitting around the fireplace telling stories. This is a special place where the family can all agree, they feel one with nature when they are visiting Great Cranberry Island.

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What We Love: This barn house retreat features a warm and cozy oasis that is perfect for family vacations surrounded by nature. The history of how this family home evolved, beginning with three time-worn barns for the main structure is very charming. Love the rustic beauty of the hand-hewn wood beams to the old painted wood flooring and family inherited antiques. The island itself seems like a quaint and friendly place to enjoy summer vacations while raising a family…. We are loving everything about this home, how about you?

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Photos: Jeff Roberts Imaging

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