Charles Rose Architects

Charles Rose Architects

Somerville, MA


Orleans House

The project features a main house, an art studio and guest apartment, and a detached office “tower.” The clients expressed interest in a year-round house: a design that would take in the expansive water views and natural light but would also provide shelter and comfort in the cold winter months. The house footprint, which traces a naturally occurring bowl in the landscape, is perched on a high point in order to command water views. The relatively thin plan employs large amounts of glass seaside to open the house to light and water, while on the landside, a low copper roof provides ample protection for the house’s private spaces.

The western side of the main house is a spacious volume: the spaces of the foyer, gallery, living room, dining room, and kitchen are open to each other but remain distinct with stepped floor levels and carefully positioned walls for art. The south edge of the main house spills out onto a series of stepped exterior terraces. Roof overhangs and sunscreen trellises shade and shelter the exterior and interior spaces. The eastern side of the main house is spatially more discreet with the library/media room and the master suite facing south. At the “knuckle” of the L-shaped plan, adjacent to the entry, is the vertical spine of the house. An acid washed, stainless steel, wood and glass stair provide access to the wine cellar, the guest bedroom levels and an upper sitting room nested beneath a roof window.

To the west of the main house is a tower structure with a private, second floor office. A small space with built-in desk and shelves, this room captures sweeping views back from the entry side of the site, over the entry garden landscape, and to the bay and seashore beyond. This tower defines the western edge of the exterior space, which is comprised of a screened porch with terrace, a heated spa and a cabana with an exterior shower and toilet.

The family room is set apart from the main house to the north, linked by an exterior covered walk. The separation of the family room shields the parking court and opens up the view to a landscape space of existing large trees, wild flowers and grasses. It is an informal area for movies and “sleepovers.”

A guesthouse is sited as a distinct structure at the northern edge of the site on a knoll. This vantage point provides distant views to the sea. The first level is a painting studio; the upper level is a bedroom suite with a south terrace, a breakfast area and bath.

A conventional wood framed structure utilizing engineered lumber and standard wall framing is supplemented with steel columns and beams at large spans and overhangs. The exterior palette consists of
exposed board-formed concrete foundation walls, lead-coated copper walls and roofs, cedar siding, mahogany framed windows, and exposed stainless steel acid-finished to a textured brownish patina. The interior finishes include plaster walls and ceilings, jatoba wood floors, golden juperana granite floors and anagre doors.

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Status: Built
Location: Cape Cod, MA