Winkelman Architecture

Willard Beach House

South Portland, Maine


Photography: Brian Vanden Brink

Builder: Phil Murray

Millwork / Cabinetry: LHA Builders

LEED Coordination and Collaborating Architect:

Frankie Elmquist, FEIARC

Landscape Architect:

Susan Carter, Gnome Landscapes and Design

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This modest, cobbled together 1800's cottage on Willard Beach was gutted and fit-out in a finely crafted manner with a comprehensive systems upgrade and successful LEED certification. Zoning limited substantive alterations to the envelope except for a rear garage addition.

Collaborating architect Frankie Elmquist (FEIARC) led initial planning and design, all FEMA, DEP, and Condominium Association related permitting and LEED for Homes coordination. Winkelman joined for exterior weather detailing and a comprehensive interior package.

The highly creative and craft-attuned clients set the tone for a refined and inventive approach to evolving the spaces. A notable challenge was to finesse the interrelationship of the open plan's restricted living / dining / kitchen configuration. A result was the 'canoe', the kitchen peninsula's distinctive form that is crafted of curved native walnut and reflects the deliberate crafting of space. In addition, thoughtfully articulated ceilings and carefully placed lighting help reinforce spacial definition while allowing expansive and uninterrupted views to the dunes and water.

The interior became a millwork tour de force. Boat fit-out / nautical analogies apply. Every inch was utilized and thoughtfully detailed, from the exterior's weathertight and finely articulated detailing to the interior and its millwork package.

The home earned an Energy Star Label and LEED Gold Certification under the USGBC LEED for Homes Pilot Program. Desired traditional elements such as a Rumford-style wood burning fireplace were carefully customized with a closed air flow system and seamless glass doors to meet the strict indoor air quality and tightness standards. The entry layout cleverly incorporates traditional service elements such as a mudroom, ample and accessible closets, a pass thru window to the Pantry and a convertible powder room/full bath to meet outdoor contaminant control requirements. On the exterior- deep overhanging eaves, hidden awnings, and a pergola provide needed solar control with in the New England Shingle Style tradition. A delightful lesson learned here is that a LEED Gold outcome need not 'announce' its achievement; instead, it can discretely radiate its charm, quietly tucked behind the dunes.