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Charming family cottage provides inviting getaway in coastal Maine

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This charming family cottage was designed by Whitten Architects, located on Peaks Island, an island in Casco Bay, Maine. The island is accessible only be ferry, yet is a vibrant neighborhood of Portland, the state’s largest city. The owners are a young professional family from Boston who had a longtime attachment to the Portland area.

The wife had grown up there and had spent time with extended family on Peaks Island where her grandfather had purchased a seasonal cottage in the early 1900s. The couple, with careers based in Boston, longed to have a place of their own on the island someday where they could spend quality time with their children for decades to come.

Project Team: Architecture: Whitten Architects | Builder: Bunton Construction | Interior Designer: Heidi Lachapelle Interiors | Landscape Architect: Soren deNiord Design Studio | Civil Engineering: Walsh Engineering | Structural Engineering: Albert Putnam Associates | Millwork: WoodLab

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The architects devised a site-specific design that focuses on a new four-season, durable home to replace a decaying seasonal cottage that existed on the property and was non-conforming in relation to the current City of Portland zoning ordinances. The layout and floor plan of the home was designed to fit within the footprint of the old cottage, as well as the city’s current zoning ordinances.

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Working within this footprint, the floor plan included an entry, mudroom, office, kitchen, dining, and living area on the first floor, family bedrooms and bathrooms on the second, and a guest space and game room play space on the lower-level walkout. A light and airy stair bisects and connects the three levels of the home, bringing southern sun directly into the centrally located entry, mudroom, and kitchen. 

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The exterior forms and materials of this charming family cottage evolved from the re-use of the old cottage footprint and the desire of the owners to fit into the surrounding island neighborhood, which is full of two-story cottages clad in eastern white cedar shingles with wraparound porches.

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The first-story kitchen, living, and dining spaces were carefully laid out to allow for views of the backyard play space plus beachfront and water beyond (including the Casco Bay Islands, the comings and goings of the ferries, lobster boats, sailboats, kayakers, and distant views of Portland’s twinkling skyline).

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The interior space is further connected to the outdoors by a large sliding and pocketing glass door and an elevated outdoor living space that includes a pergola with operable sun-shading. The large sliding door is mirrored at the lower-level walkout providing immediate access from the family’s game room (perfect for rainy days) to the backyard play space, fire pit, outdoor shower, and sandy beach beyond. 

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The new home affords the young family a level of health and safety that includes a fully integrated fire alarm, monitoring, and suppression system that is crucial for safety while living in this remote and vulnerable island locale. 

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Positioned on the brink of several beautiful contrasts, the family’s home is at once connected to nature, solitude, and quaint island life, as well as to a thriving city that is quickly becoming a must-see for travelers from afar. From where it sits at the edge of the Atlantic, the location is not only a perfect base from which one can explore but also represents the incredible natural diversity of Maine itself.

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What We Love: This charming family cottage offers its inhabitants a wonderful place to escape for the summer months and enjoy quality family time. Clean lines and a simple material palette makes this home low-maintenance while not detracting from the beauty of nature outside. Overall, this seaside cottage is warm and inviting with an idyllic setting that no one would want to leave when the vacation is over!

Tell Us: What do you think of the design of this home? Would this be your ideal retreat for family getaways from city living? Let us know in the Comments!

Note: Have a look at a couple of our favorite home tours that we have featured here on One Kindesign from the portfolio of the architects of this home, Whitten Architects: Dreamy seaside getaway on a small island off the coast of Maine and Modernized farmhouse provides camp-like refuge on Maine’s jagged coast

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beach-style-kitchen

beach-style-kitchen

beach-style-kitchen

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cottage-beach-style-exterior

beach-style-family-room

beach-style-staircase

beach-style-staircase

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cottage-beach-style-exterior

cottage-beach-style-exterior

Photos: Trent Bell Photography

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