On a very small island connected to a small island by a three-car ferry, on a thin slice of land that spans between a protected bay and the Atlantic Ocean, at the end of a sand drive curling between pitch pines and circumscribing the nearly hemispherical canopy of a black oak, this Peter Rose + Partners house is both sentry and partner to the atlantic and bay waters that encircle it with nearly 360 degrees of ocean.
The sand rises from a wetland adjacent the bay, stretching north, windward, rising to over fifty feet at the atlantic shore, and dropping suddenly beneath a zagging beach stair that traverses back to water level.
Seven bedrooms are tightly stacked together in a two-story block, three north and four south, sunken into the earth and rising as little as possible above bluff height, wood framed and packed with cabinetry and bathrooms, the density broken with light and a view to the forest by a stair and short bridge connecting north bedrooms with south.
Adjacent, the stair lights at a floor level midway between the two bedroom levels, and living, dining, and kitchen areas spread across the former space of the bluff. Here there is light steel framing, with wide-flange beams lifting the structure above, only their bottom flanges visible in the ceiling and subtly defining the limits of the planted roofs above.
Three steel columns are visible in the midst of the woodwork, contrasting the density of the bedrooms with a lightness and nearly wall free expanse of the living areas, broken by kitchen cabinets, stone fireplace, and two steps down to the living room sofa. At this level, 32 feet of glass opens to the atlantic ocean, and windows in nearly every direction further reveal the landscape or the sea.
The construction process has revealed this landscape throughout the seasons as a foil to the house, a background to its steel frame, an extension to its stone terrace, a constantly changing source of color and texture against which the Western Red cedar walls and stone floors are framed.