Having enjoyed many summers at the existing guesthouse on the property, the owner wanted to build a four-season guesthouse. He viewed this as a good opportunity to respectfully develop the site and landscape, and provide a larger home for his expanding family.
The project included a new guesthouse on a wooded waterfront site in Bar Harbor, ME. The new structure was to merge seamlessly with the existing landscape and at the same time, heighten one’s experience of it. The materials were to be sourced locally and harken back to the material choices in an onsite historic cottage.
Conserving the treasured qualities of the existing site was paramount; stones, natural pathways, moss and mature trees. The new guesthouse interacts with this surrounding nature and explores new vantage points, boundaries and reciprocity between what is built and what is natural, what is inside and what is outside.
Overlooking the original structures’ historic gardens, the guesthouse is nestled into the hillside by a stone and cedar plinth housing a potting shed, garage and storage. A two-bedroom cottage is set above and is sheathed in glass, blackened metal, and dark cedar. Furniture is considered an integral part of the architecture and every custom designed piece, from period velvet and leather seat day bed cushions, felt and wood beds, folding tables, to perforated metal steamer trunks, tactilely and conceptually engages an adjacent architectural surface.
Drawing from the historic cottage onsite in addition to the local vernacular, the guesthouse contributes to the region’s existing stock of thoughtful architecture rooted in conservation. In demonstrating a continued commitment to respectful land development and exploring new relationships with the surrounding nature, the guesthouse serves to strengthen its context both at the site and on a regional level.