Close-up of large building with multiple Marvin Windows and Doors
15 June 2017

From Big Camp to Little Camp, the Spirit of Nostalgia Brings a Summer Home to Life

After renting a charming summer home for years, homeowners sought to recreate the rustic lodge-style feeling in a new dwelling that won “Best Traditional New Construction” in the 2017 Marvin Architects Challenge.

The first time these homeowners laid eyes on the gray-shingled, slightly ramshackle “Big Camp” located in coastal New England, they were in love. They rented the property for several summers, but longed for a space that could be theirs year-round. When Big Camp’s adjacent site came on the market, they jumped on it—with visions of a new home with exposed rafter tails, a farmhouse wood interior and tree trunk porch posts replacing the slightly run-down shack the property currently housed. Jacob Albert of Albert, Righter, Tittmann Architects was commissioned to create a home that would embody the spirit of Big Camp and utilize the footprint of the existing shack, while also establishing its own identity as the ideal casual summer getaway these homeowners longed for.

Large building with multiple Marvin Windows and Doors

The new home, Little Camp, is a two-story dwelling composed of a long, low main house complemented by a compact guest house and separate garage and workshop. The floor plan is one room deep in most places to encourage cross-ventilation. The plan takes advantage of water views to the north while also letting plenty of sunlight in from the south, with windows facing both sea and land in most cases. In keeping with a traditional New England coast color palette, the windows are clad in Pebble Gray.

“Camp-style homes are not the same as a Colonial or Cape Cod—they’re a style all their own,” said Albert. “The gabled roof, porch supported on tree trunks, the stone fireplace inside and the many windows to let the light in are what makes it a true camp.”

To keep the building profile low, the second floor bedrooms are contained within the roof. By design, the roof is gambrel on the entry side but sweeps down in an uninterrupted single pitch on the water side. The upper windows offer a great breeze and a panoramic view, and the ceilings open up to the roof slope with exposed rafters that have been painted white for a light, airy feel.

Large bedroom with Marvin Windows

Although the home has a casual, laid-back vibe, energy efficiency was top of mind in the design phase to ensure that the home would be habitable and comfortable year-round. Little Camp is well-insulated with spray foam, and the home’s Marvin windows have dual pane glass to help keep the interior cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

This home is all about family and summer fun, and Little Camp’s rustic charm continues in the kitchen, where a reclaimed wood island invites guests to sit and visit around a silk stone counter typical of homes in the area. Because of the low-sloped roof, awning windows are just the right configuration to maximize space above the sink and let light in to brighten the space. A double hung window and a swinging patio door provide additional ventilation and easy access to the porch.

Kitchen with Marvin Windows and Doors

The outdoors, is of course, almost as important to the functionality of this home as the comfy interiors. On the water side, a long covered porch with original tree trunk posts helps extend the footprint of the home.

“Because the existing footprint had a porch wrapping around the kitchen, we decided to keep that as part of the design,” said Albert. “The kitchen projects out a bit, providing a space for an outdoor breakfast table adjacent to a longer area that serves as an outdoor living space.”

Porch of home with Marvin Windows and Doors

Regardless of the season, Little Camp’s thoughtful design and unique, cozy details provide a retreat—a place to connect with coastal scenery and gather with friends and family. Its roots might always be with its neighbor Big Camp, but it’s now a presence all its own.

Jacob Albert was named a winner in the 2017 Marvin Architects Challenge in the “Best Traditional New Construction” category.

Photography: Brian Vanden Brink