Winning Project, New Construction
Cottage style marries energy efficiency in this iconic shoreline home designed by CK Architects in Guilford, making it easy on the eyes … and the pocketbook.
The Connecticut chapter of the AIA has been honoring residential architects as part of its esteemed Alice Washburn competition for 10 years. This year, as always, the competition was stiff. But it was a lovely and relatively modest project that stood above the rest: a shoreline home whose charming exterior belies the high-tech sustainable systems that make it tick. While honoring the classic cottage vernacular of the area, a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood in Madison, “we wanted to integrate renewable technologies, advanced conservation techniques and durable details and materials that would enable the homeowners to enjoy the home for generations to come,” says Russell Campaigne, AIA, a principal in CK Architects in Guilford.
The architect managed that inspired objective handily.
Washburn jurors describe the home as “nicely proportioned and detailed,” and the floor plan “very good for modern living.” Indeed, the homeowners are a couple who decided to build a year-round home in Madison just down the street from the cottage they’d summered in for many years. They wanted a home that would be suitable for just the two of them most of the time—but one that would also be roomy enough to welcome their grown children. As energy efficiency was not negotiable, Campaigne had to think outside the box, literally.
“We decided on an open floor plan that housed the main living areas along the south side of the home, maximizing the views and light,” he says. By consolidating the core of the home into a 2,300-square-foot structure, he kept it in scale with the neighborhood of similar cottages. These casual living areas flow easily onto porches and patios that surround the house, facilitating transition and tying interior spaces to the outdoors. The couple’s spacious master suite—complete with dressing room and sitting area—is on the second floor, easily accessed via a center staircase.
So where do the children stay? Campaigne designed two discreet, private suites (both feature two bedrooms and a shared bath) for family and other overnight guests, one on the third floor over the master wing, and the other over the garage. By doing so, he was able to completely shut off those spaces, which have separate heating and cooling systems, from the rest of the house, thereby keeping energy costs down. “The homeowner is an engineer, so he insisted that we push the envelope and drive this home toward net-zero energy consumption,” says Campaigne. Closing off the bedrooms with a weather seal was only part of the architect’s inventive plan.
Because the area is prone to flooding, he used a commercial waterproofing system in the basement (“It’s really like a reverse swimming pool, it keeps the water out.”). But most important, he figured out a way to use solar power to keep the house humming 100 percent of the time, if need be, though to look at it from the street, you’d never know it—the roof’s solar panels are all but concealed by a recessed rake detail and raised eave.
It’s a complex and ingenious system, but Campaigne has gotten good at explaining it in layman’s terms: “We tucked a solar array onto the discreet dormers, piggybacked onto the solar thermal system. By employing a battery bank, backup generator, separate off-grid inverters and transfer switch, the building systems can operate when the utility power is out, which was tested in recent storms Irene and Sandy.”
A welcoming porch sets the mood for kick-back comfort throughout the house. The main living spaces are brimming with cozy cottage details at every turn—hardwood floors, a stone fireplace, beadboard ceilings and traditional built-ins painted white. The furnishings are simple farmhouse chic.
Light, bright, airy—and energy efficient: This home is smart and beautiful, and most deserving of its Washburn prize.
Architect / Interior Design: Russell T Campaigne, AIA
Campaign Kestner Architects, Guilford
Builder and Custom Cabinetry: Tom Tolla
Construction Services Unlimited, Guilford
Kitchen Cabinetry: Gerard Ciccarello
Covenant Kitchens and Baths, Westbrook
Geothermal HVAC: Guy Wanegar
A&B Cooling and Heating, South Windsor
Photovoltaic and Solar Thermal: Mark Waldo
Waldo Renewable Electric, Old Saybrook
Planting Design and Care: Nancy DuBrule-Clemente
Nature Works, Northford
Landscape Architect: John Cunningham
TEC Landscape Design, LLC; Madison
• Furnishing, decorative lighting and paint selection: By Owner
• Flooring: Stained Wide White Oak
• Wood Countertops: American Elm
• Interior Paints (Benjamin Moore colors): White Trim — Chantilly Lace, Yellow Ceiling and Mudroom Cabinet — Da Vinci’s Canvas, Dining Room Cabinet —
• Siding: Red Cedar Sidewall Shingles
• Wood Roofing: Alaskan Yellow Cedar
• Metal Roofing and Gutters: Raw Copper
• Trim: Azek CPVC
• Porch Decking: Fir T&G, Painted
• Stonework: Redding Round Fieldstone
• Windows and Doors: Marvin Windows— Ultimate
• Exterior Paints: Porch Ceiling — Cumulus Cotton, Porch Floor — Sapphireberry, Cedar Siding — 50/50 Cabot Bleaching Oil / Cabot’s Gray Semi Transparent Stain,
White Trim — Marvin White