After building their summer home on the banks of the Westport River, the clients’ remaining parcel was small, set back from the river’s edge, but had wonderful southeastern views across to the water. Their ultimate goal was to build a small house for family, but one that was readily saleable. The new house was to include all the “must haves” on the realtor’s checklist: open plan living/dining/kitchen, 3 bedrooms, 2 ½ baths and an “away” room. The clients only had one requirement: stay within budget!
The concept was to juxtapose a one story, shed roofed great room wing to a two story, gable roofed bedroom wing and connect the two with an entry/mudroom/powder room. The idea was to have the great room wing feel like an open porch, when the doors were slid back for the breezes to waft through and immediate access to both the private back garden and the more neighborly “water view” garden. The bedroom wing offers more privacy, while maintaining river views from the two main bedrooms and bucolic views out the back from the 3rd bedroom and the small study.
We used traditional, low maintenance materials on the exterior: eastern white cedar shingles, azek tongue and groove siding and trim, aluminum clad windows and a stucco wood framed chimney. For the interiors, rich but cost effective materials, such as Caribbean heart pine flooring, Carrara marble counters and penny round tile bathrooms, Neolith fireplace surround, stainless steel stair railings with 3 Form Chroma panels and clear cypress siding in the entry hall were balanced with inexpensive internet purchases. All the hardware, plumbing and lighting fixtures were purchased from Amazon and other internet sources. All the cabinetry and closets were purchased from Ikea. We were amused to see custom carpenters challenged by the pictorial directions in an Ikea flat pack, but the crew members were terrific sports in this experiment. Ultimately, the house was a successful blend of higher quality and lower cost products.