For today’s homify 360° discovery, we travel across the pond to Truro in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where a spacious beach house lies in wait for us. Measuring a grand 660 m², this USA beach beauty is not just about size and style, but also about being energy efficient (it is the norm for 21st century living, after all).
First of all, the house is located on a narrow lot at an environmentally (and culturally) sensitive site – half of the land in Truro is in the protected conservation area known as the Cape Cod National Seashore. And secondly, the house only sees its residents for the length of the long New England summer, and over the weekends for the rest of the year – such variation in occupancy definitely requires creative solutions in order to decrease energy usage and environmental impact.
Boston-based architectural firm ZeroEnergy Design is the professional team deserving all the credit for this gorgeous creation.
Shall we have a look?
What a priceless view.
Well actually, everything comes with a price, and for the residents to enjoy this breathtaking prospect from the house, the architects had to offset the cost of a less-than-thermally-ideal west-facing aspect, resulting in a façade that’s almost entirely glassed instead of clad with conventional exterior walls by ramping up other elements of the house's overall energy efficiency.
A prime and popular trick that a lot of energy-efficient beach houses are making use of is by harnessing the power of the sun. Making the most of Cape Cod's fairly infrequent sunny days (though the temperature can fluctuate between 15°C and 23°C), large solar panels go a long way in providing electricity for the household.
In addition, storage batteries and smart energy management system allow the residents to survive blackouts without the use of a gas or oil generator.
Besides the use of solar panel technology, other elements of the home design that boost the property's energy efficiency include enveloping the house in super-insulating materials and implementing a geothermal and radiant heating system for optimal temperature control throughout summer and winter.
But the creative solutions to energy efficiency aren’t over just yet. The entire house has been compartmentalised, a creative programming approach to architecture that's both environmentally sensitive and practical for a dwelling whose occupancy rates vary throughout the year.
With the interiors split up into sections (literally following the cues provided by the striking, split-hipped roof), the inside of the house flaunts sections called the 'Living Bar' and the 'Sleeping Bar'.
The Living Bar comprises the bare essentials for the couple-owners' weekend getaways, while the Sleeping Bar houses an expanded suite of bedrooms and bathrooms for when family and friends drop in.
This doubling allows for redundancy – the Sleeping Bar can be shut down when not in use to activate a minimal, energy-efficient version of the house.
Regardless of which room (or ‘Bar’) you’re in, the house provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The dining room is located under the southern tip of the house's roof, where we are greeted by an extra long table flanked by eight modern dining chairs – a setup that’s perfect for when large social gatherings require large ocean views.
The arch on the right takes us to the living room, with both spaces enjoying an abundance of light thanks to the majestic glass panes.
To encourage the light to dance around the interiors, pale neutrals and earthy hues adorn the interior colour palette – save for the select furniture- or décor piece that ‘pops out’ every now and again to surprise us (like the apple red sofa on the far right).
Let’s close off our tour with a remarkable vision: the interior illuminated by a variety of modern lighting solutions to make the entire house come to life as soon as dusk falls. Imagine what a site this must be to uphold for ships and sailors passing by during the dead of night!
And, of course, what is such a stylish and spacious house without an equally stylish and spacious exterior side to enjoy it on an al fresco level? That stretched-out terrace definitely sees its fair share of reclining loungers, side tables filled with drinks and snacks, parasols and smiles when the sun is just right!
To get into the nautical spirit, let’s see these: 10 laid back ways to give your home beach hut vibes.