david cadigan bought a vintage maine farm near frenchman bay in 1968 and took
residence in the “yin” house — a two-century-old Cape overlooking a tired apple orchard
and already overflowing with stuff.
After living amid the tidy chaos for 40 years, he and his partner, Vincent Montgomery,
in 2008 moved high up the hill to the “yang” house, an unabashedly contemporary dwelling stripped to its bare essentials. Designed by architect Bruce Norelius, the new house,
built on a solid ledge with soaring views of the bay, is a 2,200-square-foot sonnet of concrete, cedar shingles, and pared-down lifestyle.
It was created even though its two inhabitants had polar oppo-
site visions of the kind of house each wanted. “Vincent’s a minimalist,”
Cadigan says. “I’m a maximalist,” one who wanted to live in something
“warm and friendly.” Montgomery pipes in with a glib, “I wanted it cold
But Montgomery’s levity is woven with truth. Nothing — no fixture,
material, or design — would be gratuitous. Every detail needed to serve
function and a wire-tight budget. “I knew right from the first gun,” says
Norelius, the principal of Bruce Norelius Studio, a firm he established in 2008, is a
former partner at Elliott Elliott Norelius Architecture (now Elliott + Elliott), a well-known
firm in Blue Hill, Maine, where he supervised the design and execution of several of the
firm’s award-winning projects. Now operating out of Los Angeles, Norelius hopes to focus
more intensely on a select, small number of projects on both the East and West coasts.
With Cadigan and Montgomery, he may have met his match for informed clients. “They
have an impressive architecture library, larger than mine,” says Norelius. “They were the
first clients from whom I borrowed books.”
After a conversation with Norelius about the work of Donald Judd, Cadigan and