by Chris Delano

Dreaming about living on the water? Below are some thoughts on how to do that well. 

Maine is Vacationland.  When I think of a vacation, my dreams always include water somewhere in the scene. Maybe you’re like me.  Maine has hundreds of clear water lakes across the state and as much saltwater coastline as the much longer state of California. If you have waterfront property in this state or somewhere else, treasure it. Your quality of life for the time you spend there, is high. 

Our great pleasure—in fact our passion—is helping you maximize your enjoyment of that coastal scene. Much of the work we do is on the water and we have broad experience with the challenges and the delights of helping our clients get the most from their properties.  Here are some of the things we consider.

Zoning.  All waterfront property will have design restrictions set out by the DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) to define your building setbacks, and size limitations for your project.  This applies to new homes and renovations in different ways, and will be specific to your property, and governing township.  Our first step is always to research how these restrictions will apply to you. 

View.  A view to the water and over it is a treasured commodity in this world.  We can look through a small window to the water and enjoy its presence like a photo on the wall.  A better way, however is to enjoy it on the shore, or in a boat where you can turn your head from side to side and see it in its full context.  It comes with a breeze, and an incredible light quality that changes us.  We design space to take full advantage of your view, the breezes and natural light, making it feel as if you live with the water, not just an outsider looking at it. 

Natural light.  We use light like a paint brush to give color and texture to our spaces.  We track it across your sky to make sure we bring it deep into our living spaces throughout the day.  We organize the places in our houses to be light filled and bright.  We consider morning sun and winter sun, and shape our homes to respond to the difference.

Breezes.  Ventilation across our skin during the summer is one of the treats of life.  With it comes the fine aroma of nature, and the tempering of the summer heat. Some clients prefer air conditioning, but with proper insulation, solar orientation, thermal mass, roof overhangs, and composing the size, location, and operability of our windows, we prefer to keep you cool naturally.

Parties.  If you own a waterfront cottage, you will likely have guests. We plan for it, organizing waterfront spaces to be expandable to accommodate both your family and a cluster of them.

Ground and Topography.   No two waterfront properties are the same.  Some slope gently into the water, while others have more challenging terrain to navigate. Each has its benefits, and we study your property first for how it will be used.  We diagram the circulation paths from arrival, across the property, and to the water to understand where the best views are, what makes the best living space or master suite.  Stands of trees restrict the access of light, as does the slope of the land and the view corridor onto the water.  It matters, so we study it first, and craft our design around our findings.

Privacy, materials, character of the space inside, landscaping to provide living spaces outside, wonderful lighting that enhances your space after the sun sets. The list is long of aspects of your waterfront project that we consider and respond to in our design.   It matters, and that is why we study it.  It matters for you today, for your growing family tomorrow, and for your quality of life through it all.

Our specialty is creating places that bring you in closer tune with the natural world.  We welcome the opportunity to begin that conversation with you and your family.