A Shingled Forest Retreat Is Fit For the Changing Seasons
The clients, a family with two young boys, had camped on this undeveloped property at the edge of Acadia National Park for many years before engaging Matthew Baird Architects, wanting a forest retreat that would tread lightly on the site and embrace the natural surroundings. The architects devised a solution, known as the Somes Sound House, with summer and winter wings that take advantage of the directional views and forested land.
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A simple, L-shaped plan is made up of the two seasonal wings, separated by a breezeway. The winterized volume, which accommodates the entire family during the colder seasons, is the larger of the two, rising to a vertical and tall facade on the eastern, mountain side of the house. The shared spaces—kitchen, dining room, and living room—fill the main floor of this volume, in addition to a quaint sleeping loft tucked into the eaves of the open volume. A master retreat sits atop the sloping volume high in the trees.
The second wing, which is a sleeping wing for summer use, contains two sleeping units connected by a jack-and-jill bath. A small retreat at the end of the wing, with expansive sea and forest views, is a quiet escape for the owner and writer. All circulation is exterior, further emphasizing the engagement with the surroundings as you pass between the two volumes.
Natural materials quietly settle the vacation home into its surroundings. Set on what had once been a granite quarry, the deck and building volumes rest on stilts, hovering gently over the land. Clad in untreated white cedar shingles, the home is a resemblance of the forested land upon which it sits.
On the interior, pickled wood creates light-filled living spaces. Salvaged wood from existing trees makes an appearance in the custom dining table and wood ceiling panels—a modest expression of natural wonders blended into architecture.