DetailsLiving in a house on the water is an almost universal desire. People are naturally drawn to the water -- both for recreation and relaxation -- and sites on the water sell quickly.
But what is it really like to live on the water? Maine architect Robert Knight explores 24 homes in this book that represent outstanding examples of the relationship of house to water -- seaside, lakeside, and riverside -- with clear explanation of the design and construction details necessary to create a beautiful house that can withstand the sometimes severe conditions at the water's edge. With the help of 300 color photos and site plans, A House on the Water deals with these issues successfully, and the solutions to these technical problems enhance the quality of the design rather than forcing compromises in it.
Whether you are actively creating a home at the water's edge or simply dreaming about it, A House on the Water provides both inspiration and valuable design advice for a home that respects the coastline, fits into the surroundings, and is built to withstand the unique conditions of the site for generations to come.
'Bob Knight is a sailor and an architect. His lifelong experience with boats, how they sit in the water, how they do the job for which they were intended, how gracefully they handle their environment are all reflected in Bob's approach to homes and their design. His work is informed, but not limited to, the sensibilities of traditional design. Like a good naval architect, the end result is a project that fits its harbor or site.'
--John K. Hanson Jr., Maine Boats & Harbors Magazine
'A house on the water is the dream of many. Hearing the slap of waves. Enjoying the setting sun shimmering like red paint on the water. Watching birds skim over the surface. Bob Knight provides us with such extraordinary homes, lovely images, and the hope that someday we, too, can have a home on the water.'
--Michael Carlton, Home & Garden Editor, Yankee Magazine
'Emphasizing the ways good architecture affects perception and mood, Robert Knight offers valuable lessons in how to create a waterside home that embraces both its site and its occupants.'
--Jeff Book, Senior Editor, Coastal Living
About the author
Architect Robert Knight, AIA is the principal and founder of Knight Associates in Blue Hill, Maine. Knight's houses have appeared in a number of publications, including Taunton's Creating the Not So Big House.
- Additional Information
SKU HDS67077805 Table Of Contents Introduction
At the Water's Edge
A Quiet Fit
Between the Garden and the Bay
The Perfect Site
The Sand between Your Toes
Resurrecting a Lakeside Bungalow
A House over the Water
A House of Many Faces
Where Porch Is King
Preserving Privacy in a Public Place
A Sense of Scale
The Elements of Style
A Roof on the Ridge
Living Out on the Lake
A Question of Balance Grace Notes
Hugging the Shore
The Elegance of Simplicity
Balancing on the Edge
A Tent on the River
A Tall House in the Trees
The Cottage and the Camp
Architects, Designers, and Builders
Intro Land at the water's edge is different -- it's where two worlds meet, where weather systems collide, where views are longer, and where you can almost feel as though you own a little piece of infinity. This difference at the water's edge can help you build a great house that improves its site and your life -- but it's also something of a public trust. Just as building on a neighborhood street has its obligations, building a house on the water requires respect for the public space that surrounds it. A waterside home gives great rewards, but it demands care in return.
I live on the coast of Maine and spend whatever time I can sailing along the water. Because I'm an architect, I find myself looking at the architecture as much as the scenery. From the water, lots of old houses seem to complement the landscape, to complete a picture, but many of the newer homes are strangely orphaned from their surroundings, ill at ease on this glorious coastline.
If you've always dreamed of living at the water's edge, perhaps you are thinking of something different -- of creating a home that does feel like it belongs in its setting, a home that not only enhances your life but also the coastline itself.
Good house design is the result of a complex interaction between site, designer, and client. It's not possible to lay out a recipe from one house that will guarantee success with another, but there are recurring themes that are effective in making a house work well in any waterside setting -- design themes that deal with siting, scale, room layout, and use of materials that apply to any style of house.
A big part of designing buildings by the water is coping with unique construction challenges that come with being on the margin -- sloping sites, high winds, lots of moisture in the air, corrosion from salt, and different impacts from the sun than are experienced on inland sites. Good houses on the coast deal with these issues successfully, and the solutions to these technical problems enhance the quality of the design rather than forcing compromises in it.
When I was in college, my freehand drawing teacher told the class that if we worked very hard, in a year a few of us would learn how to draw (I didn't), but that all of us would definitely learn what a good drawing was and how to recognize it. And we did, because he taught us how to see in new ways. Similarly, it's not necessary to learn how to design a great house on the water -- there are plenty of good architects you can hire. But it is extremely useful to be able to see the possibilities of something good and recognize it when it starts to take shape so you can encourage it in the right direction. My hope is that this book will take you an amiable way along that road.
Whether you are actively creating a home at the water's edge or simply dreaming about it, I hope A House on the Water will provide both inspiration and valuable design advice for a home that respects the coastline, fits into the surroundings, and is built to withstand the unique conditions of the site for generations to come.
Video No Author Robert Knight ISBN 978-1-60085-682-2 Publication Year 2005 Pages 224 Photo color photos Drawings and drawings Video Download No Other Formats No Cover PDF eBook Format eBook (PDF)
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