Greg and Heather Burke are the owners of this gorgeous two story cape-style home laid out along the edges of the Kennebunk River in Maine. It’s located across the way from a quiet and serene monastery, and merely a stone’s throw from Kennebunkport Harbor, which attracts tourists every summer for its quaint towns, beaches and boat tours.
From one of these boat trips, the charismatic couple spotted a dilapidated cottage on the secluded lot. When the house went up for sale, they jumped at the chance to turn this plot of land into their dream home.
The cottage they bought was in a state of disrepair. As the river rises daily due to the tide, the waves swept their way under the house, damaging the foundations through the crawl space underneath. The solution was to build a new house, further away from the sea wall.
Pivoted to better absorb the river views at a new angle, this house was built. With its gabled roof and classic trim, the exterior design of the house blends well with the traditional New England look and feel of the neighborhood, but inside is a contemporary home with plenty of personal touches.
One of the important design aspects when rebuilding this new house was down to the minutiae of planning permissions. It could not exceed the footprint of the previous building, nor be more than 30% larger than the original. Rather than reconstructing the building in a rectangular format, plenty of freedom was given to the design to play with corners and edges, which gives the home some fresh shapes and styles.
The entryway opens out to the great room, where the living room and kitchen merge together into an open plan space. The stairs lead straight to the second floor.
It was Heather who requested the spacious kitchen island to make it easier to cook at the same time as entertain family and friends. The area is perfect for inviting people over, with sliding doors that lead out toward the waterfront.
The couple sold their boat to build the house, deciding to settle back to shore. But their love for the coast is still evident with its decor and the choice of materials used throughout.
The style of the interiors is fresh and crisp. The sun shines in making it feel very airy and light, while during high tide tones of blue reflect against the walls, so the room really flows beautifully no matter the time of the day.
The living room spills out onto the patio, making it a lovely space that flows easily between the indoor and outdoors.
It’s from the office space on the second floor that Greg and Heather run their hospitality marketing business. The most dramatic room of the house, it includes views over the Kennebunkport Harbor, allowing them to work and watch the world go by.
The corner of the house was clipped off at an angle, creating an impressive gable with a great balcony space too. Also take a look at these unique eaves that resemble ship hulls bursting through the ceiling, giving the home something truly different and really playing with the nautical beach vibes of the home.
The cove room is a blue theme, and acts as a guest bedroom. It sits into the eaves of the house and despite the different angles of the roof that could make it awkward to style, the room fits well together.
Greg got involved with the landscaping for the house. Having worked in landscaping during his time at high school and college, he took to working on this part of his new home with gusto.
You can see more about the Burkes and Port Watch in this video home tour.
The Burkes stayed involved with the design and construction of their new home all along the way, from interior design to outdoor landscaping. With its welcoming colors, engaging eaves along, with its scenic location, the Port Watch home is a welcoming and unique spot. As you can imagine, it’s just the right place to sit back and watch the Kennebunk Port, from the quiet of home.
Project: Port Watch
Design: KW Architects
Photos: Chibi Moku