Schematic Design – island house

Author: Travis Kinney

I have a client that is thinking of tearing down their existing house and building something new. They are interested in a gambrel style house with some large arched dormers.

They want a number of wood burning fireplaces and lots of deep covered porches facing the ocean.

This first sketch is a study of the gambrel volume. Doesn’t look like much, but there’s a lot of thought and study and that went into this. I tried house widths from 28′ to 36′ in two foot increments. I was trying to get the scale just right without the house looking too “chunky” or having it so narrow that the usefulness of the second floor would be too far diminished.

This drawing is not uploaded at the same scale as the above sketch. The elevation below is the left hand face of the sketch above and faces the ocean, which is why there is so much glass. This exposure also faces south and one request from the owners was to provide porches deep enough to block out some of the sunlight which at times can be a problem. Plus, they wanted more outdoor covered seating than they currently have. To the far right is where the wrap-around porch starts near the new entry. Guests can enter then house and if they want, walk straight ahead out onto the covered porch and out around the far side of the house. The window panels on the first floor are actually very large sliding door panels which allow the dining room, kitchen and living room to be open to the porches. Because of where this house is located there is not much concern for bugs which is great!

The center portion of the porch curves out onto the lawn and is faced with stone. This allows some portion of the porch to be in the sun for those who don’t want to sit in the shade. The stonewall also acts as a retaining wall and the curve helps to visually break-up the long run of the porch. To the far left is a round covered porch with outdoor wood burning fireplace. This space is intentionally a bit more sheltered and would be used late into the fall and early winter when the temperature dips and the fire can be blazing.

The second floor consists of two large arched dormers and a recessed outdoor balcony between that is accessed off the master bedroom.



This is the same sketch as above except that it shows dark trim and dark windows and doors. I’m just starting to think about color options for the house and whether it would be better to stay light and silvery or dark and maybe green. I could see the first scheme above with white trim, doors and windows and cedar shingles with a bleaching oil that will silver over time. I see the scheme below with very dark green or bronze colored trim, windows and doors and maybe stonework that is darker too. Siding could be stained shingles.



Both schemes could have a bright, light interior even if the exterior is dark.

I drew a number of covered porches that I was thinking about and settled on the one above that is more closed off and can block the wind more than the one shown below.


This partial sketch below shows how the dining room on the right extends out toward the ocean under the porch roof. The entire corner of the dining room can be opened to the outdoor seating area without a corner support post. The large outdoor seating area is directly off the kitchen and the two center glass panels are actually bi-parting sliding doors that open up. This house will be great for entertaining!


Major renovation photos

Author: Travis Kinney





Vintage photo

Vintage photo


After I did some preliminary design work, it became clear that this portion of the house would have to be removed to make room for a new, larger, addition. Plus it was in sad shape.



As you can see from the photo below we tore everything out of the house, including these two chimneys.


Cadd elevation of same side of house.



This is the elevation around the far right end. This end of the house faces the ocean. As you can see the final cadd design was very close to what I had sketched.

elev black sash daylightwindowsR1



Kim Case Photography

Kim Case Photography


Kim Case Photography

Kim Case Photography

Kim Case Photography

Kim Case Photography












Kim Case Photography

Kim Case Photography







Kim Case Photography

Kim Case Photography














Site photos

Author: Travis Kinney

Sheet rocking is done, heating system is running and floor finishes going down. Here are two photos that my client sent me.

winter 01


winter 02

Under construction

Author: Travis Kinney

Here’s a project that is currently under construction. The contractor is in good shape to have the house buttoned up before winter where he can shift his focus onto the interior work.


There was an original house in this location which was torn down to make room for this new house. Normally a house cannot be built this close to the water, but since there was an existing structure we were able to take advantage of allowable expansion and construct on existing footprint. The initial hope was to save some of the existing foundation but we found that it was in such poor shape that it needed to be removed. The bad news is the owners didn’t save any money but the good news is that they have an all new foundation with modern water-proofing.






We moved the house away from the ocean an additional 4′ because the corner of it was so close to the embankment. Near the center of the photo you can just pick out the railing to steps that go down to the water.


This is the view looking back while standing on those steps. Formwork is in for foundation footing.

View from back up at driveway. Foundation wall is in. We used a drainboard screen against the foundation as there is a significant slope down to the house where a lot of groundwater may travel and we want to make sure it is wicked away, out and around the house. The majority of the basement consists of finished spaces so we want it dry. As the owner says “arid.”




To the far left are the french doors from the basement space. The stairs to the water are just cut off from the photo to the far left. To the far right is a screened-in porch. If you scroll back up to my rendering you will see that there is a deck off the screened-in porch. To the left of the screened-in porch is the dining room with french doors out onto the deck. Notice the shed dormer, it’s located right above the kitchen.


Here’s a sketch of the kitchen showing those same dormer windows and flanking pair of casement windows.



In this photo, you can see a portion of the garage foundation. The owners will be able to park in the garage at the higher driveway elevation, go down a set of stairs in the garage and out a side door where they can walk across to a side door at the house (to right of screened-in porch) directly into the mudroom.



Here’s a photo of a typical daylight condition where the foundation wall extends up above the slab. The concrete wall needs to be covered in rigid insulation (silver foil faced in this case) then stud work applied over it. So there will be a deep shelf below these windows because of this detail. Typically, I try to avoid any foundation stem-wall from extending above the floor elevation because it just “smacks” basement space. But for this room, the grade on the exterior rises fast and I needed to step the foundation with it. If you look out the window you can see a boulder which is part of the retaining wall that “steps” the grade up.






The door in the photo below is the one mentioned above that leads directly into the mudroom.


View from driveway approach.


The garage for this project is located on a hill so there is going to be finished space under the garage. The best way to detail this is to install steel beams and/or open web bar joists with a metal pan deck above. A slab is then poured on the metal pan creating a watertight surface. This is a great detail and prevents any leaks from snowmelt or oil from migrating through the floor. The only problem is that the metal pan and steel will sweat profusely in the summer so it needs to be covered with closed cell spray insulation.



The cutout in the metal deck pan to right is the stair opening. As described above, the owners can drive into the garage, walk down the stairs and out a daylight door and over to the house. img_0192






Biddeford Pool

Author: Travis Kinney

Here’s a project that I’ll be wrapping up soon and sending out for pricing.


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elevation1 downhill-elevation detail-key back-of-house

Greek revival house

Author: Travis Kinney

Following are photos of a small greek revival house that I designed and recently had photographed.

This house has one of my favorite plan layouts. The owners haven’t put in any landscape plants yet because they have their hands full rating three little kids!










Here’s a couple study sketches of the front elevation.

front-elevation scheme-e-elevation-yellow