This house offers an extraordinary experience of one of the most ecologically preserved marshlands in Massachusetts. In accordance with the pond's value as an Osprey, Heron, Surfcaster, and Sandpiper sanctuary, zoning restrictions on construction are formidable. This renovation of an existing property sought to grow a beach shed into a home, while maintaining its rustic character and unobtrusive siting. The disaggregated mass and delicate composition of this modern glass box allow the structure to sit elegantly yet unobtrusively at water's edge.

In transforming this building from a single inhabitant's retreat into a family home, we developed strategies to economize on space. In less than 2,000 square feet are four bedrooms, two living rooms and two and half bathrooms. We maintained privacy by placing the master suite at a remove from the children's wing. Sleeping areas are sound-insulated by double, pocketing doors.

In composing the building's elevations, I tried to reflect the elegance, balance, and simplicity of its plan. I sought to reflect the interior program of public and private areas with expansive glass openings and wide, tongue and groove wood walls. The contrasts in building materials aim for simplicity: window frames and steel posts are protected by a black gloss milk-paint, while the siding is an Alaskan yellow cedar weathered to light grey.  Roofs project the rustic barn board ceiling into the landscape. Piers float the building feet above the marsh. The layered trellises, a series of voids, are scaled to the surrounding scrub pine and scrub oak canopy and designed to shade the building and cast softening shadows on walls and ground. The outdoor dining room is nested in the trees; this upper-story deck is accessed by a steel and oak staircase designed to resonate with the mid-century modern interiors.

Credits: Maryann Thompson Architects; Morgan Lai