A residential design waterfront lot, or a parcel of land with a water view, is one of the most sought after and costly types of real estate.
In Connecticut, we are blessed with many lake, shore, and riverfront opportunities to obtain a coveted view of the water. Such properties present unique considerations for a home's design, which should be exploited to reap all the benefits a waterfront home has to offer.
Often, an existing home is purchased solely for its location on the water, and is then raised or substantially remodeled to realize the full potential of the site.
ROOMS WITH A VIEW
It all begins with the view. If the property adjoins the water, the orientation of the home may seem obvious. However, views often conflict with optimum sun exposure, access to the property, or a neighboring structure. The view of the home from the water itself is also an important detail and often overlooked.
Northerly views are best addressed with a judicious use of windows to minimize heat loss in winter months. For a site that needs height to glimpse a view, a technique often seen on Nantucket Island may be utilized: the upper stories contain the living spaces, while the bedrooms and utility spaces are located on the lower levels.
These are only a few of many strategies an architect can employ to make the most of a glorious view, or coax one out of a property with view potential.
IN WHAT STYLE SHOULD WE BUILD?
Waterfront architecture offers many possibilities to build in a style compatible with a client's tastes and lifestyle. The northeastern seaboard presents many exceptional examples of the "shingle style" to borrow from; an organic and rambling form of shingled building design fashionable in the late 1800s and still valid today. For a more contemporary appearance, the clean lines and sensible forms of nautical architecture and shipbuilding have often served as inspiration for more modern designs.
Whatever your tastes, a drive to explore the waterfront communities near your site will provide plenty of ideas. A good architect will take all of these elements into consideration to create your own unique contribution to the waterline.
WATER, WATER, EVERYWHERE
And wind as well. Waterfront properties are far more exposed to the elements than their inland counterparts. The open expanse of river, lake or sea exposes the home to unbroken gusts of wind, horizontally driven rain, and periodic flooding. Preparing for and expecting the worst is mandatory. State requirements necessitate specially rated windows and installation practices in areas designated particularly vulnerable to hurricane damage.
Roofing, siding and foundation systems should be selected and designed to resist moisture, ground water and wind driven rain. These factors make waterfront homes more expensive to build. A successful construction project is best assured by seeking out a designer and builder with experience in dealing with such adverse conditions.
What is the reward for undertaking such effort and expense? A waterfront home gives you a view you will never tire of, the feeling you are always on vacation, and a front row seat for all that nature has to offer.
JWM Architects LLC
41-C New London Turnpike
Photos, this page:
Opposite Page: A lakefront home in Marlborough designed and built by JWM Architects.
This Page Top: The street view of the Marlborough lakefront home.
This Page Bottom: The interior of a waterfront home, designed by JWM Architects, overlooking Long Island Sound in Westbrook.
In Connecticut, we are blessed with many lake, shore, and riverfront opportunities to obtain a coveted view of the water. Such properties present unique considerations for a home's design, which should be exploited to reap all the benefits a waterfront home has to offer. John W. MacFarlane.