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House on a Cove

Elliott + Elliott Architecture

Shared By



  • Bruce Norelius, AIA; JT Loomis

Project Status



3,325 sq. feet


Design Awards

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Project Description

This 2,500 square foot house responds to the clients’ desire for a contemporary, low maintenance home that is open and light-filled. Fronting Smith Cove, a secluded deep water anchorage ideal for boating and kayaking, the site is densely wooded with filtered ocean views to the north. It slopes gently towards the water and is interspersed with ledge outcroppings. Natural light informed the section of the house, with high south-facing windows and an inclined roof on the backside that draw light into the narrow bar that overlooks the ocean. A variety of outdoor spaces, including a screened porch and sunken terrace, animate the site at different times of the day. The house is low-slung and quietly recedes into the landscape; at times it seems a ruin, in danger of being consumed by the native ground cover. From the entry, little is revealed, but once inside the site reasserts itself. The vegetation, in such close proximity to the house and seen through low windows, intrudes upon the internal space. The minimalist interiors and cool color palette welcome it. Industrial components were used throughout the house, inside and out. These include a commercial curtain wall system, polished concrete floors, stainless steel and zinc wall panels, and textured stainless steel stair treads. Detailing is reductive, supporting the minimalist aesthetic. The exterior is clad in painted aluminum panels and unfinished wood that will gray over time. The materials, while cool and industrial, direct attention away from themselves and toward the natural environment. The kitchen is the exception, which in bright red provides a colorful and unexpected counterpoint to its more neutral surroundings. The house follows the contours of the site, stepping with it to maintain a direct relationship to the topography. Material choices throughout were driven by a desire for minimal maintenance and for their ability to merge with the landscape. The landscaping, consisting exclusively of regional plants, arrays vegetation tight against the exterior envelope further obscuring the distinction between inside and out.
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