Modern beliefs. With no exterior trim whatsoever, this house speaks
to the no-nonsense style of the island.
Chebeague is an intriguing combination of local and outsider.
living space flows naturally into the dining area and kitchen. The master bedroom is behind the kitchen wall. The table, made of lumber from a
The summer population swells to 2,000, but just 360 year-round res-
idents, many of them fishermen, call the island home. Theirs is a cul-
ture of subsistence; forebears survived in the 19th century by building
the sloops that carried granite from Maine quarries for monumental
architecture in Boston, New York, and elsewhere. There is a golf course
and an old hotel with a long veranda that served rusticators, but the
pace is unhurried, a place apart. This is not an island of McMansions,
nor a place to flaunt wealth. As Gavin Engler of Wilson’s office says,
“Being on an island dictated much of the design. There was no ques-
tion of not keeping it simple.”
That visual and economic plainness meant a wooden house, in this
case, wood-laminate vertical posts and red cedar siding. The structure
is a long, narrow box, 78 feet by 16 feet; its module is the repeated 6-by-
9-foot glass window. The ground floor contains a master bedroom,
kitchen/dining/living room, and screened porch arrayed in a line par-
allel to the water. Perched above is a 24-foot-wide second-floor guest
area, with two bedrooms in the front and a bunk room in the back. This
upper level extends far enough to shade the living area at the height of
the summer. (There is air conditioning, but only for the most humid of
19th-century mill in Biddeford, Maine, was designed by Carol Wilson and Gavin Engler and fabricated by builder Brent Smith of Fine Lines Construction.