In 2002 my parents bought a 1962 Airstream Overlander and parked it on a piece of land where my mom grew up in the town of Warren, ME. This place soon became their favorite summer destination, a home away from home, and after several years of seasonal visits they decided to make this place their permanent residence. Of course they would require something more substantial than the Airstream. Having only lived in one house together for the past 35 years, my parents took a very careful and considered approach to undertaking the construction of the home they plan to spend the rest of their lives in. In 2006 I began the process of working with them to design their new home, one that would sit lightly on the land, much like their beloved airstream. Simple, efficient and beautiful.
We began the process shortly after the completion of the Cranberry Ridge LEED Platinum Home I designed while working for Richard Renner Architects. Although much larger than my parents home would ultimately end up becoming, this served as a starting point for our design. What they liked most about the Cranberry Ridge plan was the large, continuous living space where kitchen, dining and living rooms are open to each other and oriented to take advantage of natural light and passive solar potential.
|Cranberry Ridge House|
Mom and dad set forth the following criteria:
- Passive solar design, active solar if possible
- All living space and master bedroom on one level
- Affordable, not more expensive to build than the value of selling their current home (a 1970's split level)
- No fossil fuels consumed on site
- Low maintenance, no leaks, no drafts
- Incorporate salvaged materials wherever possible
For 35 years they had lived in a house with minimal insulation and therefore high heating costs, and suffered the effects of ice dams, drafts and a frequently flooded basement. The primary goal for their new home was to have a house that would be warm and dry, and one that could achieve this with minimal impact to their site, their neighbors and the world as a whole.