Saco, Maine

To whom it may concern at Dwell,

I’m an architect in Maine and have a project that was recently completed in the coastal cottage neighborhood of Saco, Maine. I was there several days ago and took several dozen photographs. Looking through them I thought they show a modern house that reacted to how the owner wanted it to “live” and relate to the site, akin to what I commonly understand from the projects I see in Dwell. Of course I’m biased toward it, so might be totally off base, but I thought it worthwhile enough to share a few photos. The project was a tear down renovation of an existing cottage whose insulation, mechanicals and structure had become too skeptical to retain. The client grew up spending summers in the old cottages in this neighborhood and his parents still live in one across the street.

Attached is a mix of reduced file size photos of the house, both interior and exterior. The property is about a block away from the beach in Saco with an angled view down the street which has several older cottages and an old camp style Inn. The design began around a primary desire to have an open living/dining/kitchen space on axis with that view to the beach (“the coffee view”) while accommodating 4 bedrooms and an office loft around a central, open staircase that would serve to connect the whole house physically and visually. We developed the scheme, cranking it on its site so as to aim the house at the view, which also sets up a cool angled relationship to the street and passersby. Interior materials are sheetrock walls, native white cedar on a few select walls and maple for the flooring and thick stair treads. The stair became a sculptural take on the union between vertical and horizontal geometries, with 5 tube steel columns running 3 stories from the basement to the turret/loft and downturned steel channels welded in between the columns as brackets for each tread. The result is a very open and flowing staircase that also allows extreme vertical ventilation (stack effect) up through the house on hot days. Low maintenance and energy efficiency were also top priorities and we used double stud wall construction, smart air barriers, triple pane windows, etc. to achieve a very efficient shell while cement panels and acetylated wood siding offer some very low maintenance exterior materials.

This is the first time I’ve ever approached Dwell Magazine and this is also the first that I’ve shared this project with any publication of any sort.

Personally, I’ve been in smaller publications before but nothing like Dwell. I don’t really know what to expect and don’t necessarily have high hopes, but again thought perhaps it was worth sharing.

I appreciate any thoughts and feedback,
Dave Johnson

David Johnson uploaded Eiderdown through Add A Home.
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Modern home with Outdoor, Front Yard, Walkways, Wood Patio, Porch, Deck, and Landscape Lighting. Exterior southeast Photo  of Eiderdown

Exterior southeast

Modern home with Outdoor, Wood Patio, Porch, Deck, Shrubs, Wire Fence, Front Yard, and Landscape Lighting. Entry looking toward beach Photo 2 of Eiderdown

Entry looking toward beach

Modern home with Recessed Lighting, Light Hardwood Floor, Kitchen, Chair, Console Tables, Sofa, and Engineered Quartz Counter. Living/Dining/Kitchen looking toward the beach Photo 3 of Eiderdown

Living/Dining/Kitchen looking toward the beach

Modern home with White Cabinet, Recessed Lighting, Wood Cabinet, Light Hardwood Floor, Engineered Quartz Counter, Pendant Lighting, Range, Range Hood, Table, Stools, Bar, Chair, Living Room, and Console Tables. Living/Dining looking toward Kitchen Photo 4 of Eiderdown

Living/Dining looking toward Kitchen

Modern home with Chair, Recessed Lighting, Table, Living Room, Light Hardwood Floor, End Tables, Sofa, and Console Tables. Family room looking through to Dining room and view beyond Photo 5 of Eiderdown

Family room looking through to Dining room and view beyond

Modern home with Staircase, Wood Tread, Metal Tread, Metal Railing, and Wood Railing. Stair looking toward main entry Photo 6 of Eiderdown

Stair looking toward main entry

Modern home with Staircase, Metal Tread, Wood Tread, Wood Railing, and Metal Railing. Stair looking up between levels and landings Photo 7 of Eiderdown

Stair looking up between levels and landings