Design Diary: Contemporary Beach House on Plum Island

This contemporary beach house on Plum Island in Newburyport, Mass., designed by Boston-based CBT Architects, belongs to woodworker Mark Richey and his wife Teresa Richey. I wrote about it for Boston Globe Magazine in “Taking it to the Beach” back in July 2013. With the gorgeous weather we’ve had this week in Boston, I thought it was a good chance to finally post it, with photography by Trent Bell.

The Richeys purchased the cottage shortly after having relocated their business, Mark Richey Woodworking, enjoying it for short spurts while commuting from their home in Essex. A few years later, when they were ready to downsize, the couple hired Richard Bertman of CBT Architects to transform the cottage from a casual short term retreat to a full time residence.

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Following extensive research to address coastal conservation concerns, they built a new structure on driven steel pilings atop the existing basement, which allows water and sand to move freely under and around the structure. The result is a 1,962-square foot, three-story contemporary beach house with Alaskan yellow cedar shingle siding.

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The third floor lookout tower offers a 360-degree view of the water and island. The entire room is clad in fir to resemble a ship captain’s quarters, and is Mark’s own handiwork.

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The second floor master bedroom and bath both face the ocean—this was a must-have for them.

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The main level has an open floor plan. They didn’t want it to feel like a big sterile glass and plaster box, so Bertman used a warm palette of earthy materials that echo the colors of sand and beach grass. The fireplace surround is done in a textural green stone from Iran, which is also used in the kitchen. The walls and cabinetry are a mix of quarter white oak and zebrawood veneer. The floors are porcelain tile with a wood-like texture.

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The extensive deck, which follows the natural contour of the landscape, was built around an existing dune, and is constructed of a dense tropical hardwood similar to ipe,which will weather to grey. Check out the recessed cedar hot tub on the right. The couple often enjoy soaks on cold winter mornings. (Must get one of those.)

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Mark designed and fabricated the beautiful curved bench from South American mahogany. 

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Photography by Trent Bell

1 Comment

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One Response to Design Diary: Contemporary Beach House on Plum Island

  1. This is an interesting house. I don’t think I could live in a house like that, but it’s kind of neat that it looks like half of a house. That’s definitely a statement piece.

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