A Writer's Green Getaway in Maine

A Writer's Green Getaway in Maine

Cambria Bold
Feb 25, 2011

It's one thing to have a room of your own, but how about a whole cottage? This compact green getaway on an island off of Maine belongs to Bruce Porter, a journalist and retired professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He first bought the three-quarter-acre lot on the off-the-grid island in 1971, but it took him over 30 years to decide what to do with it. When he finally started planning, he knew that he "wanted the interior to be super simple, using local material."

As Dwell writes, over 90 per­cent of the building material had to be organized and shipped to the island on a "sea truck," and most of the construction was done (amazingly) without the help of power tools. The end result is a completely self-sufficient green getaway:

Four solar panels, affixed to the southeast-facing porch, collect a surplus of energy—easily a week's worth when stored in auxiliary batteries—and the DC-powered solar fridge is effi­cient enough to run indiscriminately. "I still can't get over the fact that I can get an ice cube from the sun," Bruce quips—which isn't to say he doesn't appreciate it or the luxury of having a hot outdoor shower thanks to the on-demand, gravity-driven water heater, one of only two appliances to operate off propane (the other is the stove). "There was a general feeling that this house wasn't going to work," he laughs. "But everything works great, just like a normal house!"

See many more photos and read more about the house at Dwell. This one is going into my "one day, oh one day! file.

(Images: Eirick Johnson for Dwell)

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