The judges admired this weekend home's balance of traditional forms and pared-down style. “I like the fact that it has a context of history and yet is serenely and elegantly detailed,” said one. “The process of taking stuff away until you get to the essence feels refreshing.”

Architect Jim Estes separated the project into two buildings as a response to the island's windy conditions. “We keep trying to figure out ways to extend the time you can spend outdoors in Block Island,” he says. One structure, suitable for times when just the owners are present, holds the public areas and main bedrooms, while the other contains guest rooms, a den, and storage. Estes placed the two pieces at a 90-degree angle, creating outdoor rooms that are sheltered from year-round gusts. A lattice-screened, three-story tower linking the buildings gives protected access to the third-floor lookout.

Inside the house, the simple detailing the judges admired consists of unadorned materials like plywood, galvanized steel, and jelly-jar light fixtures. “Plywood can be very wild in terms of the grain and darkness,” says Estes. “We coated it with bleaching oil to make it more uniform.” Kiln-dried spruce forms the knotty rafters. Exterior trim of white vinyl provides a crisp-looking, low-maintenance counterpart to white cedar shingles.

Project Credits
Estes/Twombly Architects, Newport, R.I.
Builder: Highland Builders, Tiverton, R.I.
Interior designer: Brassard Design Associates, Little Silver, N.J.
Living space: 2,442 square feet
Site: 2.05 acres
Construction cost: Withheld
Photographer: Warren Jagger

Resources: Bathroom plumbing fittings: Grohe and KWC; Bathroom plumbing fixtures: Kohler and Porcher; Dishwasher/refrigerator: Kitchen Aid; Entry doors: Pella; Hardware: Merit; Kitchen plumbing fittings: KWC; Lighting fixtures: Lightolier, Poulsen, and Stonco; Oven: Jenn-Air; Paints: Benjamin Moore; Patio doors/windows: Pella; Roofing: Englert; Trimwork: Azek; Windows: Pella.