This house sits on one of the highest points in Cape Elizabeth, offering a variety of functional and visual experiences from floor to floor. The spaces and volumes were composed with the notion of the house as a lens for viewing the world beyond while providing privacy, comfort and flexibility of the interior spaces. As part of the design process the contractor brought a lift to the site and the owners and architects went up to explore the view potential in each direction.
The ground level includes garages, main entry, mudroom, a multi-use family room, bath with spa, laundry and gym. From the covered deck and yard off of the family room the site drops off and the view of woods and gardens below rolls on to the coast and the crashing surf in the distance. One floor down provides walk out access to a private sports court surrounded by mature woods. The next level up, reached by stair or elevator and overlooking the entry below, contains an open kitchen, dining area and living room with a fireplace made from stones taken from the old cottage that once sat on the site. Off of the kitchen is another deck and off of the living room a screened porch. From here there is an enhanced view of the wider bay, the ocean beyond in one direction and the islands and entry to Portland harbor in the other direction. Situated down a private corridor at this level is access to the mother-in-law apartment with its own sunny deck and private stair to the yard. Next floor up: bedrooms with a deck off of the master suite and an office occupying a corner with a view of the ocean to the south. This floor may seem like the top of the world but there is one more level to go—a ship’s ladder up to a crow’s nest at rooftop where the 270 degree water view is complimented by a hint of the mountains to the far west. From this point one can also inspect the roof mounted solar panel array that provides most of the electrical load the house requires.
The site presented challenges with its tight setbacks, its steep slopes and the close adjacency to the small lane that provides access to the neighborhood but the end result is a house that maximizes the potential of its site and captures views in all directions while maintaining a sense of privacy for its owners.