With its simple shape and clever economy, this 1,440-square-foot waterfront house updates the classic fishing shack. Its poetic logic is a response to coastal zoning requirements, which placed it close to the street and lifted it 6 feet above the ground. In beachfront tradition, architect James Estes located the two bedrooms on the first floor. The upstairs living areas occupy a main hall with an exposed roof structure and windows on three sides. The entryway and service areas create visual and acoustical privacy on the street side and are shielded by the roof, which drops lower on that side of the house from its centerline.

Unlike the original flimsy fishing shack on the property, which blew across the road several times during hurricanes, this one sports smart, practical materials such as a metal roof, cellular PVC trim, and prefabricated galvanized structural ties, brackets, and rail supports. The result is a beautifully detailed cottage and a fitting homage to the once-humble neighborhood.

See all 2007 Builder's Choice Award Winners

Category: Custom one-of-a-kind, less than 3,500 square feet;

Entrant/Architect: Estes/Twombly Architects, Newport, R.I.;

Builder: Joseph Scotti, Jamestown, R.I.