Green Cottage Getaway in Maine

written by:
photos by:
November 22, 2010
Originally published in Young Americans
as
Worth the Wait
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  • 
  The Porter cottage makes the most of its unwieldy site. The cottage was sited as close to the water as legally allowed to take advantage of the views and far enough away from the graywater leach field where the soil is deep enough to allow for proper run off. The screen porch was angled to capture direct southern exposure for the solar panels.
    The Porter cottage makes the most of its unwieldy site. The cottage was sited as close to the water as legally allowed to take advantage of the views and far enough away from the graywater leach field where the soil is deep enough to allow for proper run off. The screen porch was angled to capture direct southern exposure for the solar panels.
  • 
  The interior is furnished with Lubi Daybeds from CB2, which Howell and Porter designed to include hidden cubbies behind and beneath the cushions.
    The interior is furnished with Lubi Daybeds from CB2, which Howell and Porter designed to include hidden cubbies behind and beneath the cushions.
  • 
  Alex devised a system that takes advantage of ocean views while protecting the cottage from that same northeasterly orientation. The large windows and doors can be shuttered with corrugated aluminum panels.
    Alex devised a system that takes advantage of ocean views while protecting the cottage from that same northeasterly orientation. The large windows and doors can be shuttered with corrugated aluminum panels.
  • 
  The deck off the front is also minimally furnished with elegant lines of beach rock and two Leaf chairs by Arper.
    The deck off the front is also minimally furnished with elegant lines of beach rock and two Leaf chairs by Arper.
  • 
  The interior is clad exclusively in white pine, the diagonal orientation adding visual interest to the neutral palette. Alex sourced utilitarian features like cattle fencing and plumbing pipe for the loft sleeping area.
    The interior is clad exclusively in white pine, the diagonal orientation adding visual interest to the neutral palette. Alex sourced utilitarian features like cattle fencing and plumbing pipe for the loft sleeping area.
  • 
  The diminutive Morsø wood stove and its hearth of local Criehaven beach stone gives off enough heat to warm the entire cottage.
    The diminutive Morsø wood stove and its hearth of local Criehaven beach stone gives off enough heat to warm the entire cottage.
  • 
  Alex enjoys a sun-filled breakfast at the built-in dining table and bench, one of many space-saving designs.
    Alex enjoys a sun-filled breakfast at the built-in dining table and bench, one of many space-saving designs.
  • 
  The rain-catchment system next to the outdoor shower collects and disposes of the first five gallons of rainwater to ensure that the cleanest water is diverted into the cistern.
    The rain-catchment system next to the outdoor shower collects and disposes of the first five gallons of rainwater to ensure that the cleanest water is diverted into the cistern.
  • 
  The screen porch serves as an auxiliary dining area and extends past the house to capture views and cross breezes.
    The screen porch serves as an auxiliary dining area and extends past the house to capture views and cross breezes.
  • 
  Since septic systems are impossibilities on Criehaven, the Porters chose a Sun-Mar self-contained composting toilet as the ideal alternative.
    Since septic systems are impossibilities on Criehaven, the Porters chose a Sun-Mar self-contained composting toilet as the ideal alternative.
  • 
  Alex designed the entire home based on a 24-inch grid. "I was in New York and Josh [Howell, the contractor] was up here in Maine, so I tried to make it very easy; you could always tell what size everything was going to be."
    Alex designed the entire home based on a 24-inch grid. "I was in New York and Josh [Howell, the contractor] was up here in Maine, so I tried to make it very easy; you could always tell what size everything was going to be."
  • 
  One of the early challenges of building the house was defining the property lines of the lot, which had come to be known as "the floating acre" among the local fishermen.
    One of the early challenges of building the house was defining the property lines of the lot, which had come to be known as "the floating acre" among the local fishermen.
  • 
  Alex relaxes on the first-floor couch, with is filled with an array of pillows from Crate and Barrel, CB2, West Elm, Muji, and Blu Dot.
    Alex relaxes on the first-floor couch, with is filled with an array of pillows from Crate and Barrel, CB2, West Elm, Muji, and Blu Dot.
  • 
  When Alex or Bruce leave the island, closing up shop is as simple as sliding panels of corrugated metal into place to protect the windows.
    When Alex or Bruce leave the island, closing up shop is as simple as sliding panels of corrugated metal into place to protect the windows.
  • 
  The screen porch serves as an auxiliary dining area and is furnished with a Teak outdoor table from Ikea surrounded by three chairs, including two vintage chairs and a silver 1006 Navy chair by Emeco from Design Within Reach.
    The screen porch serves as an auxiliary dining area and is furnished with a Teak outdoor table from Ikea surrounded by three chairs, including two vintage chairs and a silver 1006 Navy chair by Emeco from Design Within Reach.
  • 
  The Sunfrost refrigerator nearly disappears into the simple kitchen.
    The Sunfrost refrigerator nearly disappears into the simple kitchen.
  • 
  The entire cabin is powered by the rooftop solar system from Solarwinds Northernlights. "I still can't get over the fact that I can get an ice cube from the sun," Bruce says.
    The entire cabin is powered by the rooftop solar system from Solarwinds Northernlights. "I still can't get over the fact that I can get an ice cube from the sun," Bruce says.
  • 
  The view from Bruce's cabin is a sight for sore eyes. One of the outermost inhabited islands on the American eastern seaboard, Criehaven (technically Ragged Island) is located 20 miles off the Maine coast and one mile south of Matinicus Island.
    The view from Bruce's cabin is a sight for sore eyes. One of the outermost inhabited islands on the American eastern seaboard, Criehaven (technically Ragged Island) is located 20 miles off the Maine coast and one mile south of Matinicus Island.
  • 
  Though Bruce has thus far only managed a week or two here or there on the island, he's hoping to make it a more frequent—and extended—part of his regular routine. "I'm thinking about going out for a month to write," he says.
    Though Bruce has thus far only managed a week or two here or there on the island, he's hoping to make it a more frequent—and extended—part of his regular routine. "I'm thinking about going out for a month to write," he says.
  • 
  Howell was creative in his space-saving techniques as well as for practical matters. The handrail for the stairs to the loft was pieced together with lengths of PVC pipe and plumbing hardware.
    Howell was creative in his space-saving techniques as well as for practical matters. The handrail for the stairs to the loft was pieced together with lengths of PVC pipe and plumbing hardware.
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