Living on a backyard-sized island requires a lot of careful planning.
When architect Alex Scott Porter set out to design her father’s vacation home on Maine’s Ragged Island—the state’s outermost inhabited isle, 20 miles from the coast—she knew it had to be as self-contained as possible.
Alex’s dad, Bruce Porter, a writer and retired professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, purchased the three-quarter-acre lot (known locally as the “floating acre”) decades ago. The surrounding community has no roads, ferries, phone lines, or year-round residents. To compensate, Alex designed the 550-square-foot cottage with efficient, off-the-grid living in mind, according to Dwell.
Solar panels on the home’s southeast-facing porch collect energy (auxiliary batteries can store at least a week’s worth) to power the refrigerator and heat shower water. A wood stove, anchored by a hearth made of local beach stones, radiates enough warmth for the entire building.
For clean drinking water without the use of a well, the Porters installed a rainwater catchment system. During rainfalls, the system discards the first five gallons —water used to clean off the roof, according to Tiny House Talk—then moves the rest to a cistern. Drinking water is siphoned from the cistern so as not to contaminate it with any sediment that may have collected on the top or bottom of the tank. In the bathroom, a special composting toilet makes up for the island’s lack of a septic system.
The cottage isn’t a viable shelter for Maine’s brutal winters, so Alex opted for a corrugated steel exterior that allows Bruce to comfortably vacation there in the spring, summer, and fall. The home’s retractable storm shutters protect its windows from snowstorms and ocean gales during the winter.
Take a peek inside:
Source: country living