A Design for Coastal Resiliency

Upside-Down House 

A Design for Coastal Resiliency

Situated on the densely developed barrier beach of Plum Island, this home has been thoughtfully crafted to align with the rigorous environmental guidelines including the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act and the Newburyport Wetlands Protection Ordinance. The entire structure is built on piers and elevated at least two feet above the FEMA flood elevation, safeguarding against storm damage and flooding while embracing the natural movement of the dunes and promoting the growth of native vegetation. Surfaces around the property consist of pea stone and sand. These materials are highly permeable, which supports groundwater health, stormwater management and local flora and fauna.

True to its name, The Upside-Down House features an “upside down” layout that maximizes the views of the tidal basin it abuts. The main living level, located upstairs, offers an expansive open space that flows seamlessly onto a deck overlooking the water. This level houses a state-of-the-art kitchen, a bar for entertaining, and an additional room that can serve as an office or guest space, ensuring that the beauty of Plum Island is always in sight. The lower level of the home is dedicated to comfort and privacy, housing three bedrooms, including a primary suite with an ensuite bath. Two additional bedrooms, another full bathroom, and a custom closet complete this floor.

On Plum Island, the needs and desires of property owners can be at odds with the natural functions of the dunes and beaches. The ever-changing nature of coastal shorelines, driven by wind, waves, tides, and other environmental factors, places coastal properties in jeopardy due to storm damage, erosion, and flooding. In response, the Upside-Down House has been designed to bolster coastal resilience. It offers an environmentally considerate dwelling, paving the way for a new generation of residents and stewards of Plum Island’s delicate ecosystem.

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