Project: Royal River House
Design Team: Harry Hepburn, Ian Parlin (alumnus), Alyssa Keating (alumna)
Contractor: Taggart Construction
Partners/Consultants: Becker Structural Engineers, Soren Deniord Design Studio
Location: North Yarmouth, Maine
Project Size: 2,000 sq. ft.
Photo Credits: Irvin Serrano
An energy efficient single-story home with detached garage + a separate artist’s studio, all capable of reaching net zero energy goals.
The goal was to build a 2,000 square foot energy efficient home and artist’s studio capable of reaching net zero energy goals, to be located on a wooded 10-acre lot on the shores of the Royal River in North Yarmouth. The structures 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 Royal River House was designed for single story living, and for aging in place. Two bedroom suites are provided on either end of the home, with the living spaces located in the middle. Space for easy circulation is provided, along with wide doors into all rooms. Our clients large collection of artwork is showcased throughout, with gallery space provided between the entry and living spaces, and custom built glass shelves located beneath the transom windows , which can be found in most rooms.
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.
Net Zero Energy Consumption
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.
Connection to Site
Very large windows and doors, and tall ceilings were designed to create a strong connection between interior and exterior spaces, a feature that was very important for the owners. Soren Deniord Design Studio was selected to help develop both the landscaping and hardscaping to support the connection to nature, and strengthen the implied separation between the artist studio and the house. A series of public and private exterior spaces (auto courts, walking paths, patios, and gardens) were designed to create the contrast between the manmade and the natural landscape, and the driveway meaners its way through existing forest, wetland, and meadow as required to minimize the impact on existing features.