Cozy Seaside Getaway

Maine Home + Design

February 2013

Set atop a bluff sloping down to Casco Bay, this gambrel-style cottage was one of the oldest homes remaining on Cousins Island. Built in 1905, the cottage was once occupied in the summers by Sir Henry Worth Thornton, the president of the Canadian National Railways, who was credited with modernizing the railways throughout Canada. The homeowners turned to Kevin Browne Architecture in the hopes of preserving the character of the home while expanding on it to create a cozy four-season cottage for their family for years to come. The homeowners wanted to make the most of the lot and the water views, which include full views of the sunsets over coastal waters. The existing cottage and garage had been added onto half-heartedly over the years and were in rough shape. The first step in the redesign of the main cottage was to create a softened gambrel roofline that runs straight through to the waterside of the cottage. On the first floor of the main cottage on the waterside of the house, the deep covered porch was continued to create a wraparound porch around most of the cottage. Browne sought to preserve the high ceilings and beadboard walls of the interior spaces of the first floor, so only updates for modern conveniences were made. The existing garage, pieced together in the early 1980s, was replaced with a gambrel carriage house that is connected by an extension of the wraparound porch of the main cottage. Because the house was originally built as a seasonal cottage, Browne and his team made several energy-efficient upgrades, including closedcell spray foam in the walls, ceilings, and floors; low-e replacement windows; and a new heating system with high-efficiency heat pump units.

Home Court Advantage

Home & Garden

May 2012

Most people can’t walk into Ruby Simonds’ house without saying “wow.” Right away. Just inside the front door is a massive curved flying staircase like something out of a Colonial mansion or a movie about the Old South. The staircase, seemingly unsupported, rises from a black-and-white floor to a spacious second-floor landing. The dark woodwork and stainless steel spindles between the steps and railing give it an even more distinctive look. “Everybody says something about the staircase,”said Simonds. “The whole entry way, really, is breathtaking.” Simonds says that while the staircase is a showstopper, when she first saw the house, she saw something she really liked in every room. Built in 2005, it’s a large, rambling two-story with a Shingle look on the outside and lots of unique,eye-catching contemporary features inside. Simonds and her husband, Michael,bought it about two years ago. “We looked at a lot of houses, but this was the only one where every little thing was just right,” said Simonds. Yarmouth architect Kevin Browne designed the home with many of the more prominent features suggested by the home’s first owners.

Shingle Style Gets A Modern Edge

Maine Home + Design

November 2011

Kevin Browne is not looking to rethink traditional architecture—he just wants to add an edge to it. His goal is to take traditional detailing and blend it with more contemporary features. The premise for this house, which he worked on with long-time collaborators Jonathan and Catherine Culley of Redfern Properties, started with a common architectural theme: the shingle style. Browne has worked with the Culleys on numerous homes and other rehab projects, but this home was designed specifically for them and their growing family. They worked together on ways to incorporate modern features into the traditional design, such as black trim, a distinctive entryway with tumbled rather than polished black and white marble, and a floating curved staircase with stainless-steel balusters and a large Noguchi pendant lamp. The kitchen cabinetry is traditional in form but painted a very dark, bluish gray. Glass matchstick tiles and a light gray concrete countertop also denote a more modern approach. In the living room, covered ceilings feature a markedly simplifi ed trim detail and a larger scale. Three sets of French doors drench the house in south-facing natural light throughout the day.

Radiant heat is used as an efficient heating system. Low-e windows, water-sensible plumbing fixtures, low-VOC paint, and the positioning of the house on the site to maximize its solar gain round out the list of the sustainable features found in this home.