Designed as a guesthouse and artist’s studio, this building, approximating a 28′ x 28′ x 28′ cube, was built on the foundation of an existing garage. The original brief included a future house closer to the water, but for the moment, the guesthouse/studio has become a primary residence. The ground level of the building remains a garage. The living space occupies three floors. The first floor has a kitchen and dining space under a second floor loft, with a two-story volume living space that makes the compact house feel much larger. In the loft, a bay window angles to the west focusing views to the water. On the third floor, half of the plan is studio space and half is rooftop deck. The only addition to the existing footprint was an 8′ x 10′ stairwell that doubles as a sun tower, bringing southern light into all levels.
At 44 degrees north latitude, the glazing takes advantage of southern sunlight for passive solar heat in the winter and is appropriately screened for the summer months. The photovoltaic panels on the roof provide more than enough electricity for the energy conscious house and send the excess to the grid. The solar hot water provides an adequate supply. The house is heated by an in-floor radiant system. The tight construction required an ERV system.
The reuse of the existing foundation was a big conservation decision. Building materials were sourced locally and no toxic substances were allowed. Water and septic are both addressed on site. The landscape design sought to mitigate the previous owner’s impact. Other than the house, there is minimal impervious surface. The landscape and siting of the house leave views across the site open to the water. The client, a young woman, sets precedence for other young people through inspiration and education.