Coastal Classic - Design Bureau

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To meet local coastline building codes, the project required a deep foundation system that would elevate the first floor of the beach house at least seven feet. Atlas Systems of New England met the challenge. “We have installed many pier systems along the coastline for various challenging projects,” Atlas president Dennis P. Geisser says.

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Coastal Classic

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

By Jordan Mainzer
Photos by Richard Green

Architect Don Ritz didn’t set out to reinvent history when designing this new-construction beach house in Hull, Massachusetts. He just wanted to reimagine it a little. Ritz drew from a wide range of references—from classic New England architecture to the Coast Guard—to create a home that is one part history, one part imagination, and 100 percent original. 

Ritz didn’t have to look far to find inspiration for the exterior architecture. “The 1900s were Hull’s shingle-style heyday, making the style perfect for New England Coastal locations,” he says. The house’s loggias, or shingle-style arches, are reminiscent of Hull’s architecture, establishing the house as quintessentially local. Ritz also made sure that the inhabitants were aware of the house’s close proximity to Boston. “The owner has a townhouse in downtown Boston.

You can see the skyline from the [Hull] house’s pair of lookout towers,” establishing a link between two important areas of New England, Ritz says. Ritz reimagined history in other parts of the home. The two towers, for example, are designed in the style of the shingled watchtowers used by the early Coast Guard to keep a lookout for vessels in distress, but they sport steel balconies.

“Even though I’ve never seen evidence of steel balconies on historic [residences], it could have happened in the 1900s. Buildings had steel fire escapes and steel was used for other utilitarian purposes, but the way it looks now is very ‘steampunk.’” And the two distinct wings of the home recall another literary reference. “With the right combination of open doors,” says Ritz, “you can see across both wings, the whole house. You can have a big party with a group of people in each wing.” We think Gatsby would approve.

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