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Westport House
Westport, MA | completed 2006

Heather Weiss, Project Architect
Charles Rose Architects Inc.

The design of this weekend home was an unusual collaboration between owner and architect. Owner Rob Haimes had a strong interest in architecture but little formal training; he approached Charles Rose Architects with a proposal to take him on as both a client and an apprentice. Heather, as project architect from schematic design through construction, worked closely with Rob from the beginning of the design process to explore and refine the siting and massing of the house, and then to develop plans and details.

Sited on a large and predominantly wooded riverfront lot, the house is positioned on a bluff at the edge of a natural clearing, oriented to maximize river views. While the massing establishes a strong connection to the outdoors by forming an "L" shape around the clearing, many of the interior spaces retain a "cozy" feel: small in scale, with built-ins or fireplaces that create a sense of intimacy in the room. Clerestory windows created by sloping, folding roof planes and expanses of glass introduce abundant natural light throughout the two-story residence.

The house is heated and cooled by an energy-efficient geothermal heat pump system which utilizes a standing column well; life-cycle cost analysis showed that the initial cost increase would be offset within 10 years by energy savings.

Exterior of modern house in Westport, MA, with horizontal wood (western red cedar) siding and wood-framed windows.
Modern kitchen with maple cabinets, stone counter, and corner window.
Custom built-in maple bookshelves and seating.



Project info
Size: 4360 SF
Clients: Rob Haimes and Joan Shafran

Credits
Project Architect: Heather Weiss
Project Designer: Rob Haimes
Interior Design (furniture, color consultant): Diane Cramphin
Structural Engineer: Richmond So Engineers
Landscape Architect: Reed Hilderbrand Associates
Contractor: GF Rhode Construction
Photography: Kent Dayton

Publications
Boston Home Magazine, The Apprentice; Fall 2008