Royal River Home + Studio

A New York couple looking to relocate closer to family in Maine purchased a wooded 10-acre lot on the shores of the Royal River in North Yarmouth. The Project Team was selected to design a 2,000 square foot energy efficient home and artist’s studio capable of reaching net zero energy goals. The structures completed in the fall of 2016, are sited to create visual and acoustic separation, while maximizing views east to the river and southern orientation for natural light and heat gain in the winter. The architects worked with a landscape designer and the owners to develop a series of public and private exterior spaces—auto courts, walking paths, patios, and gardens—that contrast yet harmonize with the landscape.

Photovoltaic panels on the studio roof are designed to offset all the energy demand for that building as well as the home, which features 12-inch-thick double-stud exterior walls filled with dense packed cellulose, triple-glazed windows and doors, four inches of rigid insulation beneath the concrete slab foundation, deep roof overhangs to control light on the south side, a highly efficient gas-fired boiler, radiant in-floor heating, and an energy recovery ventilator to circulate fresh air. The Contractor used tapes and sealant to create a tight building envelope that earned a 0.85 ACH50 rating during the final blower door test, indicating minimal air leakage.

The exterior finishes were chosen for their natural beauty and low maintenance properties and to blend with the earth tones found on site. Locally harvested, thermally modified poplar, which requires no paint finish and is termite and rot resistant, is used for the siding, and the trim around the aluminum-clad wood windows is a poly-ash material. Both the windows and trim are painted dark bronze to create a unified appearance.

Architecture or A/E Firm Name



Harry Hepburn


Ian Parlin, Alyssa Keating


Becker Structural Engineers, Soren Deniord Design Studio


North Yarmouth, Maine



General Contractor

Taggart Construction