The Sortwell Chandlery had been in the client’s family since the early 1900s and was used as an open plan, informal coastal cottage. The summer tides rose and fell below the plank floor, and a ladder provided access to the upper-level bunkroom. Rising sea levels put the Chandlery at risk. The clients wanted to maintain the character of the original Chandlery while rebuilding the structure to meet the new flood plain requirements. They also requested a new kitchen and bathrooms, heating, insulation, a new stair, screen porch, upgraded electrical system – and an extended season from early Spring into late Fall.
We worked closely with the local historical society, planning board, and The Department of Environmental Protection to lift, reposition, and design a compatible addition to the Chandlery. The Chandlery was raised three feet and moved back from the River’s edge. The shed roof-style addition springs from the eave of the old structure, adding an entry porch, small mudroom, new stairs, a full bath, laundry, and mechanical space. We carved a screen porch from the southeast corner to let in sunlight and to access down-river views. New windows and french doors open to the River, and a new light-well brightens the living, dining, and kitchen space. The master suite, study, and private entry look upriver, proximate to the existing dock and pier. Original structural timbers were retained and supplemented with a new structural grid of rough sawn posts and beams.
The new concrete footings were designed to accommodate coastal flooding and resist uplift. The original floors were re-installed and insulated, and 19th-century boards were resourced for stairs and interior trim. Old trade counters, bases, and cash till of the Chandlery have been incorporated into the new kitchen.
View from the cove showing the screen porch carved out of the simple forms of the original Chandlery. Photo Credit: Trent Bell Photography
A shot showing the seamless shed roof addition to the original simple gable. Photo Credit: Trent Bell Photography
New interior structural work to accommodate the opening in the floor over the Living Room and brace the near 200 year old roof structure. New structure was left bright so that new and old structure could be differentiated, rather than trying to make it blend into the old. Photo Credit: Trent Bell Photography
Before and after photos showing the change in location and elevation. The Stone wall on the new photo is the original location of the Chandlery in the before photo. Before Photo Credit: Whitten Architects After Photo Credit: Trent Bell Photography
The view from the screen porch overlooking the river. By carving out the screen porch we brought the light, air, and views into the living spaces while adhering to DEP setback requirements. Photo Credit: Trent Bell Photography