The house sits on the Batson River just before it enters the Batson River Estuary and the Gulf of Maine. Previously on the site was a 50’s ranch house in ill repair.
In an effort to recycle and reuse, the foundation of the earlier house was saved and the southern façade re-structured. Keeping the existing foundation avoided damage to several large oak trees that sit within feet of the house. The extension of the upper level is supported by slender columns on minimal footings. The site was essentially undisturbed except for the drilling of four wells for the geothermal heating and cooling system.
The program called for living on one level. With a gentle entry ramp from grade on the north, the ten-foot drop in elevation to the south affords bird’s nest views of the river, the woods and understory, and in spring the flooded riverbank.
From Beachwood Avenue, the house is tucked behind a large outcropping of ledge. The garage door faces the street. A design challenge was to create a strong entry point to balance the blank façade of the garage and inform guests of the entry. The entry canopy and ramp arrive at a glass vestibule with views through the house to the river. A ten-foot by nine-foot bright red sliding pocketing panel can close the vestibule from the house.
A corridor running the length of the north wall has closets on both sides for storage of the client’s collections and allows them easy access.
Operable glass doors run the full length of the south wall with a single interruption. Glass balks are barely visible. A three-foot overhang shades the southern glass in the summer months. With the glass wall open, one has the experience of living in a screened porch. A bona fide screened porch on the west with a carefully positioned solid wall for privacy from the neighbors provides sunset views of the river.
The principal bedroom, bathroom, and closets on the east are made private, separated by a library and laundry core from the living spaces. Open stairs to the lower level provide easy access to the river and to the guest suite.
Carol A. Wilson Architect
Carol A. Wilson FAIA
Gavin L. Engler Assoc. AIA
Structural Engineering, Albert Putnam PE, Albert Putnam Associates LLC. Mechanical Systems, Lee Bundy, Bundy Mechanical. Stainless Steel Fabrication, William Bruce, Tunnelwerks International. Roofing, Bill Beck, C.O. Beck & Sons Roofing & Sheetmetal. Windows and Doors, Marvin Windows and Doors. Lighting Design, David A. Betses. Electrical, Bill Clark, Clark Electric. Tile, Andrew Thomen.
David A. and Jean M. Betses