Plum Island Beach House Turned Into A Home

Beach House

The new 1,963-square-foot home is elevated, built on driven steel pilings so water and sand can move freely under and around the home. [Trent Bell Photography]

Mark and Teresa Richey enjoyed a small beach house on Plum Island as a conveniently located part-time ocean-side cottage. After deciding to transition this tiny space into a full-time home, they needed help getting the most out of their amazing view,  maximizing the square footage, and deciding what building materials would work well with the beach-side environment. Expertise was sought from Boston-based engineer John Looney and JML Engineering.

High water levels, zoning ordinances, and weather storms and conditions were all major concerns to be addressed in order to make this house a year round home. The new 1,963-square-foot home is elevated, built on driven steel pilings so water and sand can move freely under and around the home. The home’s exterior has no coatings or finishes, keeping maintenance to a minimum. The deck, made of a dense tropical hardwood similar to ipe, will turn gray over time, as will the Alaskan yellow cedar shingles on the home’s exterior. The other main features, making this home a beauty, are the lookout tower that offers a 360 degree view; an open floor plan with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors facing the ocean; and the home’s deck with a curved silhouette that mimics the natural contours of the sand dunes around it.

Today, Mark says, there is more sand around the home than when they bought it, and the new construction has proved sound, weathering Hurricane Sandy without a hitch. “We’ve been having storms like this forever,” he says. “The one in 1978 was even more powerful than recent ones; we just need to be prepared. . . . The key is to build correctly. Ours is as good as technology allows.”

Full Boston Globe Article.

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