Site size: 3 acres

Project size: 1,885 square feet

Program: The client, a family with two young boys, wanted a vacation house built on undeveloped land near Acadia National Park. The property is in a remote forest at the end of a peninsula, with eastern views to the mountains and western views across Somes Sound. Tall spruce and pine trees contrast against the sea, and the ground is covered with granite outcroppings, moss, and lichen that roll down to the water’s edge. For the program, the brief required four to five bedrooms and three baths. A modest structure that would sit lightly on the ground was desired.

Location: Mount Desert Island, Maine

Solution: The house is composed of two volumes in an L-shape formation. The structures are separated by a breezeway. To accommodate the family during the colder seasons, the main volume is winterized; the second is a sleeping wing for summer use. The primary structure, where the main bedrooms are located, is sloped, low, and horizontal at the water side; it rises to a vertical and solid expression at the eastern, mountain side of the house. A small sleeping loft is tucked into the eaves of the open plan kitchen, dining, and living room. A deeply cantilevered overhang protects the living room glazing from the western sun in the summer and provides a cover for rainy days.

The summer wing comprises two sleeping units connected by a shared bathroom. The circulation is outside, protected by a rudimentary porch, which affirms the simple idea of shelter while engaging the surrounding scenery. Located at the farthest end of the southwest wing is an isolated studio, which offers views to the wooded landscape and the sea.

Construction and materials: Accommodating specific island geology, the house was built on stilts doweled to the ledge of this former granite quarry. The exterior is clad with eastern white cedar shakes and has windows made of plantation mahogany. There are no painted surfaces on the exterior; the house is designed to weather naturally over time. Inside, the framing is exposed in a simple rustic expression that is both minimalist and utilitarian. Careful thought was given to the removal of each tree on the site; those that were taken down were milled into planks and integrated as cladding for walls and ceilings. On the exterior, trimless detailing and simple eaves accentuate the craft of the shingle work.

Additional Information

Completion date: August 2017

Gross square footage: 2,274 square feet

Total project cost: withheld

Total construction cost: withheld

Client: withheld



Matthew Baird Architects


NEW YORK, NY 10013



Architect of record:

Matthew Baird, FAIA, architect



Structural: Albert Putnam Associates

Civil: G.F. Johnston and Associates

General contractor:

Chris Parsons Builder



Elizabeth Felicella Photography, (917) 375-2412





Structural System

Sonotube footing; Spruce wood frame structure; Framing connector by Simpson; Weyerhaeyser Microllam LVL; Weyerhaeyser Parallam PSL; WeyerhaeyserTJI

Exterior Cladding

Wood: Cedar shingles; Huber zip system sheeting and tape; 2x4, 2x6, 2x8 spruce studs


Built up Roofing: Owens corning asphalt roofing shingles; Copper flashing

Tiles/shingles: Anatolia ¾” soho white glossy penny round porcelain mosaics; Anatolia 3”x6” soho white glossy wall tile

Other: Fireplace insert by stuv


Wood frame: Mahogany caoba windows and bronze bug screens

Glass: Solarban 70xl


Entrances: Caoba doors mahogany clear stain 3% gloss

Wood doors: Caoba doors mahogany clear stain 3% gloss

Sliding doors: Caoba doors mahogany clear stain 3% gloss


Locksets: Exterior doors: interlock multipoint with Emtek handleset; Interior doors: house of antique knobs

Pulls: Schoolhouse Electric at cabinetry

Other special hardware: Bronze craft push bar system; Encore lock system

Interior Finishes

Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Custom table by Savage Forest Enterprise

Paints and stains: Benjamin Moore

Wall coverings: Spruce planks from trees on site

Solid surfacing: Dupont corian glacier white genesis, granite

Special surfacing: White oak flooring, interior

Floor and wall tile: Anatolia ¾” soho white glossy penny round porcelain mosaics (bathroom floors); Anatolia 3”x6” soho white glossy wall tile (bathroom walls and kitchen backsplash)

Special interior finishes unique to this project: Spruce boards from site milled used for interior cladding


Chairs: Hay; Andrianna Shamaris

Tables: Custom wood table, Savage Forest


Interior ambient lighting: Noguchi ceiling Araki light

Downlights: Lightolier

Exterior: Salvaged brass marine sconces

Add any additional building components or special equipment that made a significant contribution to this project: B&B sheet metal copper louver