Project: Damariscotta River View Cottage
Architects: Whitten Architects
Structural Engineer: Albert Putnam Associates
Landscape Architect: Richardson & Associates
General Contractor: Marden Builders
Landscape Subcontractor: Sunset Knoll Landscaping
Millwork: Linekin Bay Woodworkers
Furnishings: Krista Stokes
Location: Boothbay, Maine, United States
Photo Credits: Trent Bell Photography
Boothbay, Maine, is known for its quaint seaside village of Boothbay Harbor, rocky coastline, working shipyards, and Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Its remote coastal feel is within driving distance to Portland and the international jetport. Our New York-based clients with part-time residence in London focused their search in Boothbay near dear friends of theirs. They engaged Whitten Architects during their search to assess potential properties.
The couple found a tired home on an incredible property overlooking the Damariscotta River. The property’s eastern river view particularly shines in the morning to the hum of busy lobster boats. Its position well above the riverbank allows for distant views to the South Bristol village and open waters past Inner Heron Island. Access to the waterfront for day sailing is nearby.
The existing meandering home presented itself to the road side with three large garage bays surrounded by a suburban lawnscape. The home’s primary spaces had limited southern exposure due a split-level bedroom addition. The main living spaces offered limited views of the water’s edge with short window and door heights.
Whitten Architects’ site-specific design included the demolition of the split-level bedroom wing to give the main living spaces more sunny southern exposure. We teamed up with landscape architects Richardson & Associates to re-naturalize the landscape and bring the native surrounds to the building’s edge. The main living space was demolished to its foundation and rebuilt to accommodate taller wall heights and larger window and door systems. The minimal detailing in the millwork keeps the visual emphasis on the windows and view. A hidden door from the kitchen millwork maintains the home’s simple lines and provides access to an oversized butler’s pantry, laundry, and mechanical room, keeping the utility spaces out of sight to guests but easily accessible to the homeowners.
A screened porch replaced the southern bedroom wing, serving as a destination in the evenings with its proximity to entertaining spaces, the kitchen, and the dining room. The porch’s heavy timber structure keeps screen panels light to maximize views of the river and forest. The wood-burning fireplace extends the use of the porch beyond the summer season and a covered connection to the dining space provides dry space for firewood storage year-round.
Our design also relocated the guest quarters above ground in the previous garage bays. The large guestrooms, with on-suite baths, comfortably accommodate adult guests. A ground-floor bedroom serves as a long-term potential master suite, while a ground-floor office with adjacent porch and half bath allows the homeowners the possibility of working remotely while enjoying their new home. In addition, our design relocated the master suite above the previous garage bays and includes a rehabbed second-level deck facing the river, large new master closet, and master bathroom.
The Damariscotta River View Cottage now comfortably accommodates the couple year-round, but easily grows to host friends and family from afar. The transformed landscape invites all to engage with it through the use of plantings, sitting and grilling terraces, a destination fire pit, and screened fireplace — all representing comfortable coastal Maine living.