Project: Binnacle Hill Residence
Architects: Whitten Architects
Builder: Bowley Builders
Interior Designer: Krista Stokes
Landscape Architects: Soren Deniord Landscape Architecture
Landscape Installation: Terrapin Landscapes
Engineering: Albert Putnam Associates
Millwork: Derek Preble
Location: Kennebunkport, Maine, United States
Project Completion Date: 2019
Photography: Trent Bell Photography
Text by Whitten Architects
Kennebunkport is a coastal southern Maine community known for its beaches and village shopping.
Near Goose Rocks Beach, Binnacle Hill is a wooded neighborhood with large ledge outcroppings and winding drives developed by Geoff Bowley of Kennebunk-based Bowley Builders. Having collaborated with Bowley on projects in the past, we were excited to help Geoff — our client in this case — with the design of his own home. To accommodate their growing young family, the Bowleys needed a spacious but contained playroom, an ample pantry and storage, a large garage, playful childrens’ rooms, and a private primary suite.
Together with the client and landscape architect, we identified a ledge outcropping as the entry point at a high point of the site. Our site-specific design angled the house just east of south for ideal solar exposure, while the primary living space was situated toward a sunny lawn space against a wooded edge for supervised but private child play. A central courtyard-like plan features a garage wing and a bedroom wing connected by the primary living spaces with ample glass around a north-facing courtyard where ferns and woodlands come to meet the house. A wooded buffer conceals the driveway from the house.
The kitchen is nearest to the arrival and entry sequence with ample views to the play yard. The kitchen, dining, and living room spaces are open-concept for family gatherings and the vaulted space feels generous yet kept in scale with a low slope ceiling. With encouragement from the interior designer, the concrete flooring was tinted a subtle shade of green to enhance the reflection of the surrounding wooded environment. A screened porch extends from the living room to expand the living space.
The primary bedroom suite is on the first floor, while children-focused spaces, like bedrooms and a playroom, are on the second floor. The main living spaces have the ideal southern exposure while the bedroom wing is to the east to capture the morning light. Each child has their own room with a generous shared kid’s bath. Laundry is located at the intersection of the kid’s wing and primary suite, at the base of the stairwell on the first floor.
One design challenge was to protect the large south-facing door systems from the weather, while also allowing easy access to the landscape. We designed a deep exterior soffit that wraps down to become a porch and terminates at a screened porch. The large soffit to the south also promotes shade in summer months and passive solar gain in the winter months with lower sun angles.
Low-maintenance materials appropriate for a wooded site include a mix of painted white durable and treated pine siding with mahogany elements, as well as a metal roof.
The Binnacle Hill Residence project required rigorous attention to craft and detail and sharp, beautiful execution on many fronts. Interior designer Krista Stokes worked closely with the client to create a fully curated and layered interior that complements the wooded landscape of the site beautifully.