A new home just steps from the Atlantic Ocean is prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws its way.
Designed by architect William Ruhl of Boston-based Ruhl Walker Architects, the Gap Cove House in Rockport, Mass., maximizes both sightlines and energy efficiency.
"We're aiming for net zero energy," Ruhl says. "It's an all-electric house with solar panels, and was designed to produce as much electricity as it uses over the course of a year. In the summer, we are a positive energy producer, which means we have negative electric bills month after month.”
Located only 25 feet from the coast’s high water level, the house was designed to take the full brunt of nor’easters, hurricanes, and other storms. Built on the site of a previous structure, the new foundation sits above the flood plain level in accordance with recently updated FEMA standards. The modestly sized 40-by-40-foot home was designed in collaboration with the local Conservation Commission for minimal disruption to the ecosystem.
Interiors feature a bright color palette, with bleached white oak flooring, white painted poplar walls, white stairs and railings, and translucent polycarbonate panels to bring light into the living space. The small courtyard adjacent to the master bath includes bi-folding doors that allow the shower to expand to the outdoors. Concrete piers line the open-air living space, which features a cedar-clad ceiling and a built-in 16-foot-long steel and wood dining table.
Because of its exposed location, the home’s large windows must stand up against winter storms and summer heat. Ruhl selected Kolbe VistaLuxe windows and doors for maximum light and minimal frame size, to suit the distinctive modern character of the home. The durable windows offer expansive coastline views and bring natural light into the main living space, while triple-glazed LoE glass contributes to the energy efficiency of the home.
Over time, the Gap Cove House’s dark copper and red cedar exterior will patinate to green and grey colors, to match the lichen-covered rocks the home is anchored to.