Architect Peter Twombly had to contend with a not-so-ideal site when designing this full-time home on the Narragansett Bay. The long, narrow lot did border the water, but only at its short end, which measured just 95 feet wide. In order to give water views to as many rooms as possible, he'd have to come up with an alternative to the usual waterfront strategy of running a building parallel to the beach.

So he took his cue from the two stone breakwaters on the property, designing one structure to hold the main living spaces and bedrooms and another for the garage and home office. The former lies roughly perpendicular to the water, letting views in through its windowed east end and all the way through the open first floor. “The kitchen, living room, and dining room are essentially one living space,” Twombly says. A glassed-in breakfast nook bumps out on the side of the kitchen to collect more views, and a sheltered courtyard between the two buildings gives the clients another spot to enjoy their small but lovely waterfront.

When they want extra privacy, they can close off the courtyard with a deep-red, sliding barn door. The same red-painted cedar planks clad the first floor all the way around, contrasting with the more traditional second-story shingles. Such a delicate balance between the new-fangled and the old-fashioned didn't escape the judges' notice. “This house is a successful attempt at rethinking a traditional vernacular,” said one. “It doesn't seem to have any bad angles.”

Project Credits
Estes/Twombly Architects, Newport, R.I.
Builder: BAM Building Corp., Middletown, R.I.
Landscape architect: Thomas C. Succop, Pittsburgh
Interior designers: Estes/Twombly Architects and Kirby Goff Interior Architecture & Design, Providence, R.I.
Living space: 2,740 square feet
Site: 1.3 acres
Construction cost: Withheld
Photographer: Warren Jagger

Resources: Bathroom plumbing fittings/fixtures: Kohler; Ceramic tile flooring: American Olean and Dal-Tile; Dishwasher: Bosch; Hardware: Omnia; Kitchen cabinets: Cabico; Kitchen plumbing fittings: Chicago Faucets; Kitchen plumbing fixtures: Franke; Oven/refrigerator: Kenmore; Paint: Benjamin Moore; Patio doors/windows: Eagle; Roofing: Certainteed; Skylights: Velux.